Breeders’ Cup Turf Predictions, Top Picks, Betting Odds (Del Mar)

Breeders’ Cup Turf Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 ROCKEMPEROR 15/1
BET HERE
J Castellano C Brown
2 ASTRONAUT 20/1
BET HERE
V Espinoza J Shirreffs
3 TRIBHUVAN 20/1
BET HERE
J Ortiz C Brown
4 ACCLIMATE 20/1
BET HERE
R Gonzalez P D’Amato
5 WALTON STREET 8/1
BET HERE
J Doyle C Appleby
6 BROOME 20/1
BET HERE
L Dettori A O’Brien
7 SISFAHAN 20/1
BET HERE
C Demuro H Grewe
8 YIBIR 12/1
BET HERE
W Buick C Appleby
9 GUFO 8/1
BET HERE
J Rosario C Clement
10 TEONA 6/1
BET HERE
D Egan R Varian
11 TARNAWA 9/5
BET HERE
C Keane D Weld
12 JAPAN 20/1
BET HERE
R Moore A O’Brien
13 BOLSHOI BALLET 15/1
BET HERE
R Moore A O’Brien
14 CHANNEL MAKER 20/1
BET HERE
L Saez B Mott

Best Bets for the Breeders’ Cup Turf

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$20 Win – Yibir = $20

$5 Exacta box – Yibir, Gufo and Teona = $30

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Yibir (12/1).

Tarnawa will attempt to become the first repeat winner of the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf in more than a decade when she headlines a full field of 14 on Saturday at Del Mar.

Second, in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris last time, the 5-year-old daughter of Shamardal has won 9-of-17 overall while racing against the world’s best turf horses. None of her victories were bigger than when she arrived in the United States last fall and powered home in the stretch to win the 2020 edition at Keeneland. Trained by Dermot Weld, she is just one of a large group of international runners who have a shot to win the Grade 1 grass race

Chief among her rivals in the 12-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf is the progressive filly Teona. Trained by Roger Varian, the lightly raced daughter of Sea the Stars has won her last two overseas in impressive fashion. Most recently, she defeated Snowfall in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille at Longchamp.

Others who should attract strong support on Saturday include the Charlie Appleby trained duo of Walton Street and Yibir.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Predictions

Tarnawa

What a wonderful race mare this defending champion of the Breeders’ Cup Turf is.

A winner of just better than half of her 17-lifetime starts, she continues to run and run well at the highest level.

Although she is only 1-of-3 for the year, and since her win last fall at Keeneland, she has been outstanding once again for veteran trainer Dermot Weld. After a romping win in Ireland to begin the year, she ran about as well as you can without winning when second in both the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Unlucky not to win either of those big Group 1 affairs, she returns to America for another challenge, this time at Del Mar. She is the one to beat, but this year as a heavy favorite, and drawn an outside post in California, I will try to beat her.

Teona

Another female, she is far less experienced than Tarnawa, but seems to have a world of talent. Perhaps not quite ready for prime time, or more likely the soggy turf course, she did nothing in the English Oaks earlier this year, but has since proven to be among the most talented fillies in her crop since then.

A confidence-building romp at Windsor was followed by a decisive victory over her old rival Snowfall in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille last time in Paris.

Clearly, she prefers a firm turf, and clearly, the daughter of the champion Sea the Stars is becoming a serious racehorse. This is a big test for her, but off recent form, she must be respected.

Walton Street

This first of two from trainer Charlie Appleby, this 7-year-old veteran looks to be in career form. Strong early season performances in Dubai prompted a bit of a rest, but he has come back just as good, if not better, the past few months.

A solid third-place finish in Germany was his return, and then a trip to Canada for the Grade 1 Rothmans International was further proof that he is better now at 7 than he has ever been.

He absolutely dominated at Woodbine, but this field is infinitely tougher than that one. He also does his best running as part of the pace, and there is a lot of speed in here. A threat for sure, but I am looking elsewhere.

Gufo

Trained by Christophe Clement, this one has become America’s biggest threat with the scratch of Domestic Spending.

There’s a lot to like here, as the son of Declaration of War has never failed to finish in the top three in 13 career starts.

Running against stakes competition in the last ten, he is a horse who never fails to show up and come running.

While his last, a third in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic was not his best, I believe a premature move hurt his chances. He also has traveled west to Del Mar before, just missing by a neck to Domestic Spending last fall. All in all, he is no superstar, but a very honest horse likely to be part of the exotics once again.

Yibir

This 3-year-old son of Dubawi always showed promise, but he has turned things up of late.

The Godolphin homebred, trained by Charlie Appleby, caught a firm turf course four starts back and rolled to victory in a Group 3 at Newmarket.

Less successful on a wet course in his next start, he found firmer turf again in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur in August and overcame traffic to win going away.

In his first start in America, he showed a remarkable turn of foot to dominate fellow 3-year-olds in the rich Jockey Club Derby. There he overcame a slow pace and went from last to first in a heartbeat. He is getting very good at the right time and is the top pick.

Sisfahan

Anyone who had Torquator Tasso at monstrous odds in the Arc, knows not to discount solid German form, and this horse fits that bill.

A 3-year-old son of Isfahan, he ran two solid races in France last year, before becoming one of the best in Germany this year.

Never out of the money in six career starts, he closed stoutly in July to pull off a mild upset in the Group 1 German Derby. In two efforts since, he was unable to take home a win, but ran quite well against the best older competition in the nation, including a good second behind the soon to be Arc winner.

As a long shot on Saturday, he should be given a long look as a colt who could run big.

Rockemperor

After failing to win in his first 11 stakes attempts in the United States, this Chad Brown trainee finally put it all together last time with an impressive victory in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at odds of 15/1.

We should see similar odds on the son of Holy Roman Emperor on Saturday as he faces a significantly more difficult group.

Personally, I gave up on him against the best long before his last, so I am not ready to jump on his bandwagon one race too late. If he runs back to that performance, perhaps he is a threat, but I am not using him here.

Bolshoi Ballet

One of three in here trained by Aiden O’ Brien, this 3-year-old son of Galileo drew into the field after the Thursday scratch of Domestic Spending.

Still pretty lightly raced, he has mixed in moments of brilliance with disappointing efforts throughout his 9-race career. His three races in America follow suit, as he was very impressive in his win, but less than that in his two losses.

He’s a threat if he brings his best to the firm turf of Del Mar, but I just did not see enough in his last two races against 3-year-olds in New York to have any sort of confidence.

Channel Maker

A winner of nearly $3.3 million in his long career, this English Channel gelding will be taking his fourth swing in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Last year’s third-place effort behind Tarnawa was by far his best, but I’m not sure if we are seeing the same horse in 2021.

He traveled a lot in the early part of the year, and since returning to the U.S. he has been short of his best. With plenty of speed in here, I don’t see him getting his desired trip. I’m happy he got a shot by drawing in, but he will not be on my tickets.

Broome

The second of three trained by Aiden O’Brien, this 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Australia has had a bit of a breakout season in 2021. He won two Group Stakes in Ireland before just missing in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.

He came back two races later to win the Group 1 Prix de Saint-Cloud in Paris. He comes off a fading out of it performance in the Arc, but he has run enough good races this year to consider at a price on Saturday. It’s already been a long season for him, though, so I will be using others.

Japan

This one also comes from the O’Brien barn and has plenty of back class.

When he was a 3-year-old, he was one of the best in Europe, but he has not looked like quite the same horse the past two seasons. Having said that, he was able to break a losing streak this year with a pair of Group 3 wins in England.

Since coming to America two starts back, he ran a good second to Gufo in the Sword Dancer, before disappointing in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. Given his form over 2020 and 2021, it would be a surprise to see him become a major factor in this one.

Acclimate

Trained by Phil D’Amato, this 7-year-old gelding has been a familiar face in turf stakes in California the past three seasons.

He has only won three of those stakes races in 14 attempts, and two of them came at the extended 14 furlongs distance of the San Juan Capistrano.

Still, he has been pretty solid overall and can be expected to show strong early speed. With other speed in the race, I can’t expect much better than when he finished 9th in this race two years ago.

Tribhuvan

Another long shot with speed, this is the second entry from the Chad Brown barn.

He has won two graded stakes races on the East Coast this year, but both came against decidedly weaker fields than he will see in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Against the likes of Domestic Spending and Gufo, he did not offer serious resistance in the late stages of those respective races. Like Acclimate, he should make his presence known early in the race, but I can’t recommend him when the real running begins.

Astronaut

A winner of only 2-of-9 lifetime, this son of Quality Road earned his biggest career victory last time when he rallied over the local turf course to a half-length victory in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap.

While it demonstrates his progression, having broken his maiden only five months earlier, it certainly came against a much lighter field than what he will see on Saturday.

This race looks like too much too soon for the John Shirreffs-trainee.

How to watch the Breeders’ Cup Turf

Breeders’ Cup Turf Race Information
What Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1)
Location Del Mar
Time Saturday, November 6 — 7:40 pm Eastern time
How to Watch NBC Sports
Purse $4,000,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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