Mystic Guide with jockey Luis Saez wins $12 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup over 2000m (10 furlongs) in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Dokoupil)
- Two Breeders Cup Win and You’re In races highlight Saturday’s Racing
- Mystic Guide returns to the US after winning the Dubai World Cup
- Where can we find betting value on July 4 Weekend?
Summer brings top quality horse racing and to a degree trainers and owners are charting their best path to November’s Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
While building a resume to reach the Breeders Cup is great, clinching a spot by winning a BC Win and You’re In race makes life easy. There are two such races on Saturday, the Princess Rooney Invitational at Gulfstream Park, and Suburban Stakes at Belmont Park. Sunday’s John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont is an automatic qualifier as well.
The Rooney appears pretty wide open, while supertstar Mystic Guide leads the Suburban field. On Sunday, veteran Firenze Fire seeks a fifth opportunity in the Breeders Cup. His best result was third last year.
Let’s look at the field for each of the three races, and consider some of the top options.
2021 Princess Rooney Invitational Stakes Odds
Odds as of July 1
This is a pretty tough field of girls going seven furlongs for $350,000. A berth in the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint is on the line. Post time is slated for 5:35 pm EST and the race will be televised by TVG.
Estilo Talentoso has hit the board in all 14 of her races but won just three times. The most impressive of those victories came last time out in a graded stakes event at Belmont Park. She beat Pacific Gale among others.
The win in the slop was a career best, and followed a good third place effort against Gamine at Churchill Downs, and strong second place performance at +5000 against Kimari at Keeneland.
Ce Ce is cutting back to one turn after running fourth in a Grade 2 event at Santa Anita in May. She won her season debut after finishing last year with a fifth place effort in the Breeders Cup Distaff. A two time Grade 1 winner, she is full of class and has five wins in 12 career races.
Laura’s Light has seven wins in 12 starts including three graded stakes in California. She shipped to Texas and won the Ouija Board Distaff Stakes at the end of May.
Princess Rooney Invitational Stakes Best Bet: Estilo Talentoso
While Ce Ce has earned twice as much money in her career, Estilo Talentoso is in better form and twice has won at Gulfstream Park.
2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds Tracker
2021 Suburban Stakes Odds
Mystic Guide pocketed $7.2 million when winning March’s Dubai World Cup. His first race since comes against unbeaten rival Happy Saver in the $400,000 Suburban Stakes. The race will be broadcast by NBC and is slated to begin at 5:44 pm EST. The winner gets a ticket to the Breeders Cup Classic.
Mystic Guide has won three of his last four races, the one loss coming to Happy Saver in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
Since that race Mystic Guide won a grade three race at Oaklawn Park, and shipped to Dubai for a very profitable couple of minutes on the track.
Happy Saver has raced just once since October, beating an overwhelmed field at Belmont.
Suburban Stakes Best Bet: Happy Saver
The other four entrants do not have the resumes of the two favorites. While anything is possible, on paper this is a match race. Horses coming back from the Middle East rarely run their best race immediately upon return. Happy Saver is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is tremendous at spotting his horses. Happy Saver’s A race against Mystic Guide’s A-/B+ seems like an advantage for the lightly raced son of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.
2021 John A. Nerud Stakes Odds
Odds from Bet365
The winner of the Independence Day feature at Belmont will earn a trip to the Breeders Cup Sprint and a nice chunk of the $250,000 purse. Fox Sports One will televise the seven furlong John A. Nerud Stakes with post time at 5:44 pm EST.
Firenze Fire has won 14 races including both tries this year. Each of his victories in 2021 have been at Belmont, and he is seven for 10 all time on Long Island.
In the win last month Firenze Fire beat American Power and Wicked Trick, two of his rivals on Sunday.
For the first time Mind Control will run for Pletcher this weekend. He has not won since March, 2020, but has seven career victories including a pair of grade one triumphs.
Doubly Blessed is stepping up in class, but ran his best career race beating optional claimers at Belmont in late May. Trainer Mike Maker is known for his horses improving, and being able to jump into stakes races and be competitive. This year he has four wins in six starts.
John A. Nerud Stakes Best Bet: Firenze Fire
Mind Control is tempting because Pletcher may be able to get more out of him. That said, Firenze Fire is sharp and loves Belmont Park.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.