Breeders' Cup and Kentucky Derby and Oaks Qualifyi

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, September 18, 2021

It's a big Saturday of consequential races. We cover three Breeders' Cup "Win and you are In" races.

The $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, with the winner earning a birth in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Along with invitations to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Breeders Cup Juvenile, the Pocahontas Stakes and the Iroquois Stakes start the 2022 road to the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

Unfortunately, the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes is not a graded race; so, we don't have our Profile of a Winner feature, but we still have the Projected Pace Setups and commentary from our Pro Subscribers' Section.

Pace Projections:

Pro Subscribers' Commentary:

YIBIR track record on a "good" surface suggests he'll love a firm course. BOLSHOI BALLET could set the pace, perhaps a slow one, from beginning to end. SOLDIER RISING ran the highest, last race speed figure and could have more in round two in the states. TOKYO GOLD should benefit from an extra quarter-mile in this spot.

The Profile of a Pocahontas Stakes Winner

Avoid the post time favorite. Only two of the last 10 Pocahontas winners were the public's first choice. SERENGETI EMPRESS in 2018 and SIGN in 2012. Both went off as $0.90 favorites. Five of the remaining eight favorites failed finish in the money.

First or stalk/close. Three of the past 10 champs went wire to wire, but don't be second or third at the quarter pole as none have won keeping the leader company. Otherwise, fifth and out has won six of the last 10, but none no more than eight after the first call have taken the checkered flag.

50/50 the winner races in the Kentucky Oaks as five of the last 10 winners went on run the Friday before the Derby. SERENGETI EMPRESS and UNTAPABLE went on to win the Kentucky Oaks.

Pace Projections:

Pro Subscribers' Commentary:

ONTHEONESANDTWOS has a win and a second in two at Churchill and has been working well for this race. HIDDEN CONNECTION won her debut by 7 ½ lengths with the top, last race speed figure. JOYRUNNER is undefeated in two and won her last by 8 ¼ lengths, seems to be getting better. GODDESS OF FIRE has a great name and won her debut at two to one odds.

The Profile of an Iroquois Stakes Winner

Don't be afraid to play a price. The average winner in the last 10 years paid roughly $20. The favorite has won just twice in the last decade, DENNIS' MOMENT in 2019 and NOT THIS TIME in 2016. Six of the last 10 post time choices hit the board, including the two winners and none ran worse than fifth.

Post Position matters, no horse has won the Iroquois Stakes from the rail and only SITTING ON GO, last year's champion won from an inside three post, wearing the black 2. Six of the last 10 broke from gate six and out, the remaining three from the 4 (2x) and the 5 stalls.

Speed hurts, no horse has wired the Iroquois field in the last decade and only the TABULATOR was close to the lead at the quarter pole, riding shotgun. Otherwise, nine of the last 10 to run into the winners' circle were fourth and back at the first call.

Don't expect to see the winner in the Kentucky Derby, none of the last 10 Iroquois Champs ran for the roses.

Pace Projections:

Pro Subscribers' Commentary:

STELLAR TAP won his debut by 5 ¼ lengths in a nine horse field. MAJOR GENERAL also won his debut, tying for the top, last race speed figure. ROGER MCQUEEN has won two in a row and could be at/near his best in the third start off the bench. GUNTOWN showed major improvement in his second start, more improvement could be enough to get this title.


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