Breeders Cup | Carla’s Way on the highway

Breeders' Cup

With weather-related abandonments sweeping across the UK and Ireland this weekend, the one meeting we can rely on is the glorious Breeders’ Cup.

Hosted at Santa Anita, with a scenic view in the backdrop, the next two days of American action should entice all fans of racing whether you prefer the jumps or the Flat.

Three juvenile Grade 1 races take place on the Santa Anita turf course this evening and I have three fancies to bring you down below, though one occurs in a Listed contest earlier in the card.


7:40 Santa Anita – Elm Drive @ 5/1 with BetVictor – 1pt EW

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Although this isn’t a Grade 1, the Listed Senator Ken Maddy Stakes at 7:40 over six-and-a-half furlongs has caught my attention as Elm Drive is the one I’m with.

White Moonlight represents Saeed bin Suroor at the head of the market, a horse I backed in defeat at Goodwood last time out, and today’s trip is her first career try at the distance.

Despite her form when beating Heredia at Musselburgh in June, I’m happy to let her win at 11/4 on her first start for 93 days.

Because of this, Elm Drive looks like a worthy second-favourite to take her on with as Philip D’Amato’s four-year-old by Mohaymen has good course and distance form from her decisive victory over Honey Pants in May 2023.

Following that run on the turf, she switched to the dirt for her next three outings, two of which proved to be valiant performances in defeat when third in the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes in July and third in the Grade 1 Clement L Hirsch Stakes in August.

The latter of which occurred over eight-and-a-half furlongs, a trip that looked to be slightly too far as she faded in the final few furlongs; the winner, Adare Manor, bolted up by five-and-a-quarter lengths on her next start to frank the form.

At 5/1, it’s a classic scummy each-way play, but that’s how I’ll play the race.


9:00 Santa Anita – Crimson Advocate @ 4/1 with Boylesports – 1pt Win

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George Weaver came to Royal Ascot this year and walked away with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes in his clutches thanks to Crimson Advocate, and he’ll be hoping to build on that success in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Now sporting the colours of Wathnan Racing, the Nyquist filly hasn’t been seen since that success here in the UK, so one might hold a small amount of worry coming into today off a 135-day break, though surely connections will have her spot on for a race as prestigious and valuable as this.

At first glance, the Juvenile Turf Sprint looks to have plenty of pace as Big Evs, No Nay Mets, Cherry Blossom, and Slider all have the ability to race prominently.

Crimson Advocate also made all on her second start of the season at Gulfstream in May and led the field from the one-furlong pole to the line at Ascot, so she could do something similar from stall one if breaking well.

That being said, if she breaks slower than some of her competitors, there will be a strong pace ahead of her to aim at and with her experience over five furlongs on quick ground around a bend, she could make a late charge to the wire under John Velazquez.

As much as I would love to see Big Evs land the spoils for Mick Appleby and Tom Marquand, Crimson Advocate looks like a strong contender and with 4/1 available, that looks like a good price.


10:20 Santa Anita – Carla’s Way @ 4/1 with William Hill – 2pt Win

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As explained yesterday on X, I’m a big fan of Carla’s Way for Simon & Ed Crisford and hopefully, today can be her time to land a Grade 1 contest.

The Starspangledbanner filly picked up her second victory of the season in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket in late September, a race that has worked out well in the form books as Ylang Ylang and Shuwari filled out the first two places in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile on their next start.

Visually, the manner of her success over seven furlongs at HQ impressed me the most as she sat prominently throughout alongside the early pacesetter Spiritual, clocking furlongs of 11.26, 11.04, and 11.06 between the one-furlong and four-furlong poles.

As Spiritual began to fade back – partly due to her ability and the early pace – James Doyle’s mount continued to press on, leaving Shuwari and Ylang Ylang with work to do.

Inevitably, they didn’t catch Carla’s Way who needed little encouragement to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

As stated in a piece for The Irish Field (shameless plug) and in the tweet above, her pedigree – Starspangledbanner out of Sulaalaat – does worry me for her staying a mile, though a fast-paced American race should be a nice introduction to eight furlongs ahead of next season.

All in all, she looks like the best horse on paper and if she can navigate the task of stall nine, hopefully she will have a Grade 1 success next to her name by the end of today.

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