Commentary

Breeders' Cup picks

Updated: October 25, 2008, 1:30 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

Say what you will about fake dirt, one thing it isn't is boring.

Shine up the Photo light, this Cup series looks freaky.

Boring is where somebody breaks on top on the real dirt, opens up by seven, and everybody else follows around single-file. The last time they all lined up in a row on the closest thing to dirt was never; the last time anybody won on the lead by seven on synthetics was probably never.

In numerous of the Breeders' Cup fake dirt races, beginning with the Filly and Mare Sprint Friday afternoon, the synthetic surface will bring together rockets fading and pursuers rushing -- conflicting forces near the finish line.

How influential is the surface where the rubber meets the hoof? It can help turn a claimer into a world champ; see Cost of Freedom.

Generally speaking, what generalities can be drawn about the make-believe surface?

Well, hotly contested paces are probably for the railbirds. Synthetic surfaces tend to favor stalkers or closers, a style that makes for good TV.

Horses are born running a certain way, early, stalking, or later. Styles seldom change. The European style, which is to swoop from the middle, fits here. Real American dirt to The Stuff, first time, sounds like a throw-out.

As for turf itself, grass races, everybody knows that nobody has ever hit a Breeders' Cup tri using actual handicapping means; guessing, sure.

Friday picks

Filly and Mare Sprint
Ventura
Indian Blessing
Dearest Trickski
Magnificence

Juvenile Fillies Turf
C Karma
Laragh
Consequence
Maram

Juvenile Fillies
Stardom Bound
C S Silk
Dream Express
Sky Diva

Filly and Mare Turf
Forever Together
Halfway to Heaven
Wait a While
Mauralakana

Ladies' Classic
Zenyatta
Carriage Trail
Ginger Punch
Cocoa Beach

Saturday picks

Marathon
Sixties Icon
Zappa
Church Service
Big Booster

Turf Sprint
Get Funky
Mr Nightlinger
True to Tradition
Fleeting Spirit

Dirt Mile
Well Armed
Lewis Michael
Serf Cat
Albertus Maximus

Mile Turf
Goldikova
Kip Deville
Whatsthescript
Precious Kitten

Juvenile
Bushranger
Square Eddie
Street Hero
West Side Bernie

Juvenile Turf
Grand Adventure
Bittel Road
Skipadate
Westphalia

Sprint
Cost of Freedom
Fabulous Strike
Street Boss
In Summation

Turf
Eagle Mountain
Soldier of Fortune
Red Rocks
Grand Couturier

Classic
Curlin
Duke of Marmalade
Henrythenavigator
Go Between

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.

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