Now that the Breeders’ Cup behind us, I’ve totaled up my hypothetical winnings across the two days (ROI rounded to the nearest whole percentage).
Breeders’ Cup Friday
Investment: $46 (due to the late scratch of Lady Zuzu, the total is lower than it’d be otherwise)
Breeders’ Cup Saturday
Breeders’ Cup Totals
Overall, I am pretty pleased with my handicapping over the weekend – and unbelievably frustrated that I failed to make any kind of profit off of it in real life. Clearly, the Classic was the one race where I was just completely wrong. Despite the controversial break (which I believe certainly cost Moreno – the horse expected to go with Bayern early – all chance), Bayern really proved himself to me in his Classic victory. I hadn’t had much respect for him until this victory, where he managed to dig in and hold off Toast of New York and California Chrome late. He strikes me as a very similar horse to the recently retired Baffert trainee Game on Dude – if he gets the lead, he’s going to be nearly impossible to run down, but I think it’s pretty apparent that getting an early lead is vital to Bayern. It would be interesting to see what may have transpired had Moreno been able to get a clean trip, but regardless, I didn’t think Bayern had the quality or stamina to win the Classic, and he proved me wrong. It was nice to see California Chrome get back to the form he’d shown in the spring, with a very impressive third-place effort. He proved he really is the real deal, even if he didn’t win.
Horse of the Year award has been seriously muddled by the Classic. I still believe Shared Belief is probably the most talented horse in the country, but I also believe Horse of the Year is about the campaign a horse had through the year, and as much as I don’t want to admit it, Bayern deserves that honor. In my mind, Shared Belief needed to win the Classic in order to warrant Horse of the Year honors, despite his two impressive victories over older horses. California Chrome is also in the discussion, having won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes earlier in the year. With such a top-heavy campaign, though, I’m inclined to look elsewhere. The wild card for Horse of the Year has become Main Sequence, who has yet to be defeated since coming to the United States. His 4-race win streak consists solely of G1 races, including a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. To compare, California Chrome has three G1 wins this year, while Bayern and Shared Belief have only two G1 wins each. Honestly, I don’t have a strong enough opinion to give a selection or personal vote for the title. I believe any of those four horses would be completely deserving of the award, and I’m intrigued to see what the voters end up doing.