Falcon Points

Analysis and plays for Friday's Breeders' Cup races at Keeneland

Photo by Getty Images.

Here is your betting guide for Friday's Breeders' Cup races at Keeneland. I don't recommend playing them all, but we do provide potential plays for each race. We also provide a "confidence level" for each race, with 10 being the most confident and 1 the least. Ideally you save your biggest bankroll plays for the ones 5 and up. You can play these exactas for as little as a $1 increment, but play to your bankroll. (Stay tuned for Saturday's plays coming soon. I like that card MUCH better).

Good luck.


This is an absolute crapshoot, but that is also where you can make some money. With 2-year-olds, inconsistency is a big part of their games. The 14 horse, Golden Pal, will be the favorite, but speed is his game and he will have tons of company battling for the early lead. We will take a flyer with No. 5 Cowan, a closer who has a second at this distance over this surface.

Possible plays: 5-all, all-5 exactas, weighted show/place/win on the 5. I will also play small win/place/show bets on a couple European-based long shots, the 3 and the 6.

Confidence level: 2.


European-based runners tend to dominate most of the turf races, and this should be no exception. There are several Euro runners who could win this, but we will focus on No. 2 New Mandate at 12-1. He has won three in a row, has a nice stretch kick and will be rolling late. We will key him in exactas with the other Euros and two North American horses.

Possible plays: Exactas 2 with 1-5-6-7-9-11-12-13-14 and 1-5-6-7-9-11-12-13-14 with 2.

Confidence level: 4.


Will likely be passing on this one, as it is a short field and will be hard to get past the Bob Baffert favorite Princess Noor, who will probably fail a postface drug test, and the second choice Simply Ravishing. But we will also throw in a couple prices and hope for the best.

Possible plays: Exacta box 1-2-5-7, Trifecta box 1-2-5-7.

Confidence level: 3.


This might be a spot where the North American horses have an advantage; this is not the strongest group of Euros. Plum Ali has been dominant in all three starts and we will try to catch her in an exacta with a long shot.

Possible plays: Exactas 4 with 2-3-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-14 and 2-3-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-14 with 4.

Confidence level: 5.


Our first look at potential 2021 Derby horses (IF there is a 2021) and Jackie's Warrior will be a heavy favorite. But he has never been this far, will need the lead to win and will be pushed early by several others. All of that adds up to using long shot closers, which leads us to the 1, 6 and 9.

Possible plays: Exacta box 1-6-9. Exacta box 1-6-7-9. Exacts 1-6-9 with 1-2-5-6-7-9-13; 1-2-5-6-7-9-13 with 1-6-9.

Confidence level: 4.

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Life after Correa may not be the worst thing. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Carlos Correa is having a damn good year. The Astros shortstop is hitting .285 with 24 homers, 87 RBI, 72 walks, .862 OPS, a 7.2 WAR, and a .981 fielding percentage. In any other year, those would be numbers worthy of being in the mix for AL MVP (if it weren't for that dastardly Shohei Otani). Correa is also in a contract year. He and the Astros were far enough apart that the season started and he's held true to not wanting to negotiate midseason.

The offers of six years for $120 million and five years for $125 million were both rejected by he and his camp. They're seeking something much longer and for more money on the annual average. With the team unwilling to meet those demands, it seems as if the team and the player are headed for a split.

Lots of Astros fans are not happy with the prospect of Correa leaving via free agency. Some think the team isn't doing enough and should pony up to bring him back. Some feel Correa should take what they're offering because it's a fair deal that'll allow the team to sign other players. Then, there's that small band of us that are totally okay with him leaving.

One of the main reasons I'm okay with him leaving is the players the team still has under control that are potential replacements. Aledmys Diaz and Pedro Leon are the first two guys that come to mind. Diaz is a 31-year-old vet who's stepped up when he's called upon. He can slide over to third and allow Alex Bregman to play shortstop. Leon is the team's 23-year-old hot prospect who signed as an outfielder that the team has been trying to turn into a shortstop. If Correa were to leave, he could instantly plug the hole Carlos would leave behind. Either of those options lead to my next point of being okay with Correa leaving which is to...

...allocate that money elsewhere. Whether it's signing a replacement (at short or third), or boosting the pitching staff, I'll be fine as long as it's money well spent. Signing a shortstop or third baseman would determine where Bregman would be playing. If said player takes significantly less than Correa and fills 70-80% of his offensive shoes, it'll be worth it. Others will have to step it up. If they find a deal on a top of the rotation starting pitcher, that would be ideal as well. As I stated a couple of weeks ago, this team has employed a six-man rotation, but doesn't have a true ace. Spending anywhere from $20-30 million a year on a top-notch pitcher to add to the staff would bolster this staff in more ways than one. It'll finally give them the ace they lack, plus it'll bump all the young talent (still under team control) down a peg creating depth and perhaps even creating bullpen depth.

The only way any of this works is if Correa isn't back. Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander's money comes off the books also. Freeing up that much payroll and not re-appropriating those resources to ensure this team stays in contention would be a first degree felony in sports court. I don't think Jim Crane wants that for this team. I for sure don't think James Click wants that as his legacy. Let's sit back and watch how the organization maneuvers this offseason and pray they get it right.

Editor's note: If you want to read the other side of the argument, check out Ken Hoffman's piece from Tuesday.

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