Handicapping the Breeders' Cup Pick Six

Thinking about playing the Pick Six at Belmont on Breeders' Cup Day? Check in with Rich Podolsky first ...

Updated: October 28, 2005, 5:47 PM ET
By Rich Podolsky | Special to ESPN.com

With a week of rain softening up the Belmont turf, once again this year the turf condition is going to play a big role in the Breeders Cup Pick Six. With three of the six races are on the turf horses like Wonder Again and Whipper will love the softer going, while some, like Azamour will prefer firmer ground.

In the Pick Six there are two races which will feature favorites who figure to be odds on.

They are Lost in the Fog (in the Sprint), undefeated in eight starts, and Leroidesanimaux, a winner of his last eight, in the Mile. They are both vulnerable, we feel, and could present possibilities for huge payoffs if they are off the board.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf --  $1,000,000, 1¼ Miles (Turf)
(Pick 6 Begins)

Ouija Board -- Proved she could handle yielding ground in this race last year and her last prep stamps her as ready. Definitely the one to beat.

Sun Drop -- Made big move in Flower Bowl prep, which she looked like she needed. Moves up in the soft going and has won at this distance in Europe.

Wonder Again -- The sentimental hometown horse who loves Belmont and the soft conditions, but yet to win this year. At a disadvantage in that she likes to come from behind similar to many contenders here.

Karen's Caper -- Never gone this far but looked very sharp just missing at 9 furlongs two weeks ago in Kentucky. Has run competitively with some of Europe's best and has the advantage of being one of the few stalkers in this race.

Film Maker will need a perfect trip and her best effort. Angara looks like she has tailed off but will definitely like the softer conditions. Intercontinental is strictly a miler. California invaders Megahertz and Flip Flop seem a notch below these.

Breeders' Cup Sprint -- $1,000,000, Six Furlongs

Wildcat Heir -- Today's best bet also has the best last Beyer speed figure (117) in the race. The 5-yar-old trained by Ben Perkins Jr. beat the likes of Midas Eyes and Clock Stopper last November before taking eight months off. Perkins brought him back with a terrific prep for this, winning the Teddy Drone at Monmouth with a spectacular stalking move.

Battle Won -- Going turf to dirt, this 5-year-old gelding is a professional sprinter, having faced to some the best around this year, and always seems to be right there at the finish.

Lost in the Fog -- It's one thing going 8-for-8 and dancing all the big dances, but this 3-year-old colt has avoided most of them. He's never seen the likes of these, today, and will be hard pressed battling Attila's Storm early.  Attila's Storm, coming off of a 106 Beyer, has been first or second at the first call in all seven of his lifetime starts. With Pat Valenzuela riding he's sure to be gunning for the lead again from the inside and could certainly hang around for second or third at 40-1.

Elusive Jazz -- Impressed winning the Phoenix Breeders Cup in his last start, scoring a lifetime best Beyer of 110. Taste of Paradise, another 6-furlong professional, will be flying at the end. Gygistar, Lion Tamer and Silver Train, all have a good finishing kick and all are trying to conform their style to this distance. No easy task. Of the three Silver Train looks like the one most likely to hit the board.

Breeders' Cup Mile -- $1,500,000, 1 Mile (Turf)
(Pick 4 Begins)

Leroidesanimaux -- Despite the 11 post he might be able to steal away like Lure did from the outside in this race. If Sand Springs chooses to settle for second, the race could be over, with Whipper or Valixer the probable stalkers collecting second money. Even with an easy lead, still not sure “Leroi” is enough class to beat the Euros here. He's no sure thing.

Majors Cast -- Has been pointing for this race. His last vs. Starcraft was an excellent prep and he looks like he'll appreciate the softer going. Trainer Jeremy Noseda brought Wilko in to surprise last year in the BC Juvenile.

Whipper -- one of Europe's better milers, Whipper finished just behind Majors Cast in his last, and has won 5 out 6 tries on soft courses. Tends to misbehave in the paddock, so take a look if you can.

Valixer -- This is the horse Bobby Frankel is afraif of. He loves a firm course but has won in softer conditions as well. The main problem is he seems to have tailed off in his last pair. Will be in a good spot stalking right behind “Leroi” and Sand Springs on the backstretch.

Gorella has proved she can run with the boys, finishing second to Starcraft in her prep for this, beating most of the above in the process. Has been in the money in 9 of 10 lifetime starts. Singletary, the defending champion, would be a surprise again if he pulled this off. Funfair has been very game in his last two victories and would be no surprise if he was in the mix at the finish.

Breeders' Cup Distaff -- $2,000,000, 1 1/8 Miles

Happy Ticket -- In career best form, she came within a half length of the choice in the Beldame but didn't look like she would ever go past. All the same, it was a terrific effort for her first try at nine furlongs and she should have a perfect stalking spot behind Ashado and Stellar Jayne.

Stellar Jayne -- Another who loves Belmont, winning four of five starts here. Staring from the two post, with Ashado just outside her, she may choose to go right to the front with Ashado a half length to her outside. It should be a good battle.

Ashado -- 12 for 20 lifetime in the winner's circle, the filly looks very tough to beat. She loves Belmont, winning four of six starts here, but will be way overbet for a horse that looked sharper last year.

Healthy Addiction and Island Fashion, two California competitors, seem to be a cut below those already mentioned.

Breeders' Cup Turf -- $2,000,000, 1 ½ Miles (Turf)

English Channel and Gun Salute, both 3-year-olds, are as game as they come and may be every bit as good as anything in this race. They both run well on any going and they both shouldrelish the distance. English Channel raced his eyeballs out in his last start, losing to Shakespeare by a head bob in only his second start off a layoff. Gun Salute has won 4 of his last 5 including a convincing score over English Channel on a yielding course. One other thing---they'll both be great prices.

Bago -- Last year's Arc winner was third in that race earlier this month, missing by just 2½ lengths in a field of 15. He's the class and has raced very well on soft or yielding courses.

Shirocco -- Another classy European, who was fourth in this year's Arc and has an outstanding record on soft ground. Trained by the great Andre Fabre.

Shakespeare -- While he's undefeated, he's only run five times and only twice in graded company, so his class is still somewhat untested. He also has never run on anything but a firm course and may not like the softer going. Therefore, he's sure to be overbet.

Ace -- has been competitive here and in Europe without winning this year, and is sure to move up on the soft course. Azamour, certainly classy enough, has had some physical problems and would rather run on firmer footing.

Breeders' Cup Classic - $4,000,000, 1 1⁄4 Miles

Saint Liam -- Has looked spectacular this summer and is clearly the one to beat. Also has an advantageous stalking running style for this race.

Borrego -- Will come from the clouds again and may get up in time.

Oratorio -- Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who brought Giant's Causeway in to run a huge race in the Classic several years ago, comes here with this one. Oratorio has class and loves this distance. He will be very tough.

Rock Hard Ten -- Seems perfectly set after his Goodwood victory at Santa Anita, but has a reported foot problem. Beyers are competitive enough and has the right running style to hit the board.

Starcraft -- Class all the way, but this son of Soviet Star is only on the dirt because his owner wants to try it.

Super Frolic and Choctaw Nation could complete a superfecta without shocking anyone. Perfect Drift has not won in his last nine attempts against Grade 1 competition.

$2 Pick-Six Ticket: 

  • F&M Turf: Ouija Board, Sun Drop, Wonder Again
  • Sprint: Wildcat Heir (single)
  • Mile: Leroi, Majors Cast, Whipper
  • Distaff: Happy Ticket (single)
  • Turf: English Channel, Gun Salute, Bago
  • Classic: Saint Liam, Borrego

Cost: 3x1x3x1x3x2= 54 x $2= $108

Rich Podolsky

College Football
Since 1989, Chris Fowler has been ESPN's primary college football and men's college basketball studio host. He's anchored College GameDay, the network's award-winning Saturday morning college football preview show, since 1990.