Americans betting on oddsmaker's word

Clare lends helping hand with his analysis of European horses

Horse Racing

Breeders' Cup notebook

October 26, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

For American bettors, analyzing the European horses is perhaps the greatest challenge of the Breeders' Cup.

Simon Clare, who sets odds for Coral, one of England's leading bookmakers, volunteered to help. Standing outside the Godolphin barn at Belmont Park, Clare analyzed the Europeans race-by-race, also offering his advice about some of the American entrants:

Juvenile Fillies: Sophisticat is "an interesting outsider" who might hit the board but probably won't win. After running credibly in top races on turf in Great Britain, she might improve on dirt because of her impeccable breeding. A daughter of the leading sire Storm Cat and the champion Serena's Song, Sophisticat cost $3.4 million as a yearling.

Mile: Noverre, Europe's likely champion miler, has "a massive chance." Godolphin loves trying to beat the odds, which they'll do by running Express Tour on turf for the first time. That's probably asking too much.

Sprint: Mozart is Europe's best sprinter since Dayjur (second in the Sprint in 1990). But in this field, the toughest Sprint ever, Mozart will do well to finish fourth or fifth.

Filly and Mare Turf: Banks Hill is Clare's "banker bet," meaning she's his best bet of the day. This could be a European exacta: Banks Hill over Lailani.

Juvenile: Johannesburg is the best European 2-year-old in the Breeders' Cup since Arazi, whose electrifying five-length win in the 1991 Juvenile ranks as a Breeders' Cup highlight. Officer should win, but if you don't want to bet an odds-on favorite, bet Johannesburg.

Turf: Fantastic Light should win.

Classic: Galileo's breeding is ill-suited for dirt. Sakhee may be too fragile with knee problems. "I can see this being another Cat Thief [$41.20 to win in 1999], one of those Classics where the unthinkable happens."

Clare likes these American horses: Exogenous and Spain in the Distaff; You in the Juvenile Fillies; Val Royal in the Mile; Kona Gold, Caller One and Xtra Heat in the Sprint (he bet Xtra Heat at 25-1 in England); With Anticipation in the Turf, and Gander, Guided Tour and Tiznow in the Classic, with a nod toward Tiznow.

Et cetera

Include stretched his legs yesterday at Belmont after arriving Wednesday afternoon by van from Bud Delp's barn at Laurel Park. The Maryland-bred son of Broad Brush is listed at 15-1 in the Classic.

Alert and willing, Include jogged a mile and galloped a mile under Jodi Murphy, his exercise rider.

"He's feeling very fresh," Murphy said. "He's sitting on go." ...

Arriving by van today will be the other Maryland entrants: Xtra Heat in the Sprint from Laurel Park, and Fleet Renee in the Distaff and Slew Valley in the Turf from trainer Michael Dickinson's farm in Cecil County. Fleet Renee drew the outside 13 post, and Dickinson said: "I'd rather be outside, but I didn't really want to be up against the parking lot." ...

Chaste, 30-1 in the Filly and Mare Turf, is owned by Jinny Vance and Laddie Vance, part-time Marylanders who own Taylor's Purchase Farm in Baltimore County. She is 5 but has raced only 13 times because of two extended layoffs for a broken pastern bone in her left hind ankle.

The first, a hairline fracture, occurred when she was 2, and the second, a more severe break that required surgery and the insertion of two screws, happened when she was 3. "She came back," said her trainer, Scotty Schulhofer, "and she's been doing great ever since."

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