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Lo Duca: My Card for Breeders’ Cup Friday

Lo Duca: My Card for Breeders’ Cup Friday article feature image

Jamie Rhodes, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Churchill Downs

  • Breeders' Cup Weekend kicks off on Friday from Churchill Downs with five stakes races on NBCSN.
  • The headliner is Race No. 9 which features a battle between the two of the best trainers in the world, Chad Brown and Bob Baffert.

The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic is on Saturday, Nov. 3, but there’s a whole lot of world-class horse racing all weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

The real action begins on Friday afternoon with five stakes races (Races 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9), with coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

I’ve outlined my entire card for Breeders’ Cup Friday below. Good luck!

Race No. 5

This is a new race for 2018 — a 5-and-a-half furlong turf sprint for 2-year-olds.

I like No. 1 Strike Silver (4-1) in this race. He won on the turf at Churchill Downs his first time out. His trainer, Mark E. Casse, took him on the dirt in his second start and he just missed. Strike Silver’s last start was more impressive than his previous two as he came from dead-last to get the win.

Behind Strike Silver I like No. 5 Bulletin (10-1), No. 6 Moonlight Romance (12-1), and No. 8 Sergei Prokofiev (6-1).

Race No. 6

No. 6 Newspaperofrecord (2-1) has been dominant in her starts, both of which were over yielding courses which she might get on Friday. Her trainer, Chad Brown, has won many Breeders’ Cup races and is compared this horse is a great Lady Eli.

This time of year the Europeans come into town knowing they have a stranglehold in these races. The one guy who has stood in their way has been Brown.

No. 1 Concrete Rose (6-1) was very impressive in The Jessamine and has a ton of talent, so I wouldn’t discount her but No. 4 Just Wonderful (6-1) is the main danger to Newspaperofrecord here. No. 3 Lily’s Candle (8-1) is my longshot.

Race No. 7

I’m not giving you much here with No. 10 Bellafina (2-1) on the complete outside. She has absolutely been dominant for trainer Simon Callaghan, leaving no doubt in her last three wins. A lot of people think that the outside draw could hurt her but I don’t see it.

She is an imposing and very big beast so I think the outside post will actually help her and she may end up making her own trip and swallow up this field.

No. 8 Sippican Harbor (12-1) is my longshot and I love her. This horse can run and showed it last time. I’ve watched film over and over again and I think she will love going longer. She is my second choice followed by No. 4 Restless Rider (9-2) and No. 2 Serengeti Empress (7-2).

Race No. 8

The No. 5 Line of Duty (10-1) comes into this race in great form for Charles Appleby. He has excelled since being stretched out to eight and nine furlongs. Line of duty has tactical speed and that is the perfect ingredient to win races here. It seems like the European horses dominate the longer races at Churchill Downs and that applies to No. 14 Anthony Van Dyck (4-1), who draws the dreaded 14-post but you can’t deny his credentials. No. 2 Uncle Benny (15-1) is a good longshot and No. 4 Forty Under (5-1) will be on my card, too.

Race No. 9

This is really shaping up to be a two-horse race between probably the two best trainers in the United States, Brown and Bob Baffert.

Brown will roll with No. 6 Complexity (5-2) while Baffert has the favorite, No. 9 Game Winner (8-5). These are the two best horses in the field but I’m leaning toward Complexity because of the better price. Rounding out my card will be No. 5 Well Defined (20-1) and No. 11 Code Of Honor (5-1).

All odds courtesy of

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