Breeders’ Cup features intriguing edition of BC Classic
By NY Hot List Staff
The big day is finally at hand.
It’s time for racing’s blockbuster weekend as the Breeders’ Cup unfolds at Santa Anita in California on Friday and Saturday.
In most years, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is the race that has a major impact on horse of the Year honors. Yet on Saturday, the two horses with the best chances of winning Horse of the Year honors are Bricks and Mortar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Midnight Bisou in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Yet there is a silver lining as all of that parity in the Breeders’ Cup Classic makes it a highly intriguing betting race.
McKinzie, trained by Bob Baffert, is the 3-1 favorite and he’ll probably dip no lower than 5-2 because of a number of question marks hovering over him.
The biggest one involves his ability to handle the mile and a quarter distance. He’s 0-for-2 at the distance, finishing 12th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Yet he also lost by a nose in the Santa Anita Handicap, which was a pretty solid effort.
Considering he was first or second in his last seven races, he definitely belongs in the exotics.
The 4-1 co-second choices, Code of Honor and Vino Rosso, finished a nose apart in September in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Vino Rosso reached the wire first but was controversially disqualified for bumping Code of Honor and was dropped to second behind his 3-year-old rival.
For Code of Honor, trained by Shug McGaughey, the stewards’ decision gave him back-to-back wins in the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup, both at the BC Classic distance of a mile and a quarter.
With that kind of a resume at 10 furlongs, it certainly paints the 3-year-old as a main threat at the World Championships.
Vino Rosso suffered a tough loss at a mile and a quarter in the Jockey Club Gold Cup but in the spring he aced a test at Santa Anita. The son of Curlin was shipped cross-country by trainer Todd Pletcher and captured the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, which was also contested at the mile and a quarter distance.
The most intriguing entrant is the mare Elate (6-1), who is trained by Bill Mott. By steering clear of Midnight Bisou in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at a mile and an eighth, Elate will race for $6 million in the Classic at a mile and a quarter distance that should suit her rather well.
Mott also trains Yoshida (8-1), who is a grade 1 winner on turf and dirt. He was fourth in last year’s BC Classic and won the 2018 Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.
In his last start, he finished third in the Woodward, thwarting his bid to post back-to-back wins in the mile and an eighth stakes at Saratoga.
Preakness winner War of Will is another proven Grade 1 stakes winner in the field of 11, and in a tip of the hat to how evenly matched their horses are, he’s listed at 20-1 in the morning line.
The rest of the field includes Math Wizard (30-1), Seeking the Soul (20-1), Owendale (15-1), Higher Power (6-1) and Mongolian Groom (12-1), who beat McKinzie in the Awesome Again at Santa Anita in both horses’ last start.
Best of all, there are 13 other Breeders’ Cup to choose from if the Classic doesn’t tickle your fancy.
Good luck at the betting windows!