Horse racing: Spot plays for British Champions Day
Picks and plays for British Champions Day on Saturday at Ascot.
Race 2: British Champions Sprint (G1, 8:55 p.m. ET)
The 3-year-old #13 Starman is undefeated in three start sprinting 6 furlongs and has improved by leaps and bounds with every run.
He convincingly conquered older rivals in the Sept. 6 Garrowby S. at York, where he earned a career-best 116 Racing Post Rating, and I’m optimistic Starman can take another step forward at Ascot.
British sprinters tend to take turns beating each other, which makes the accomplished Group 1 winner #4 Dream of Dreams a bit tough to trust a short price. Let’s box Starman and Dream of Dreams in the exacta, then add a win bet on Starman for good measure.
$10 to win on #13 Starman
$3 exacta: 13 with 4
$7 exacta: 4 with 13
Race 3: British Champions Fillies & Mares (G1, 9:30 p.m. ET)
In this competitive, 1 1/2-mile event, I’ll take a small shot with #7 Frankly Darling. A 3-year-old daughter of Frankel, Frankly Darling was no match for budding superstar Love in the Epsom Oaks (G1) and Yorkshire Oaks (G1), but she should find the competition less formidable at Ascot.
The soft ground is a question mark, but if Frankly Darling handles the going, I think she has enough upside to get involved at a nice price.
$10 to win on #7 Frankly Darling
Race 5: Champion Stakes (G1, 10:40 p.m. ET)
#8 Magical thrives running 1 1/4 miles and handled soft ground just fine when she won the 2019 Champion Stakes.
A seven-time Group 1 winner, Magical arrives at Ascot fresh off a gutsy victory in the 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion (G1), in which she defeated an elite field, led by middle-distance star Ghaiyyath and future Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Sottsass.
Assuming she brings her "A" game, Magical shouldn’t have any issue defending her Champion Stakes title.
For the trifecta, we’ll emphasize #1 Addeybb, who was beaten less than a length by Magical in this race last year. The capable 6-year-old has won three of his four starts in 2020 and relishes soft ground, which suggests he’ll fire a big shot.
$5 trifecta: 8 with 1 with 5,9,11 ($15)
$5 trifecta: 8 with 5,9,11 with 1 ($15)