Just as the Wimbledon final is to tennis or the Superbowl is to football, the Breeders’ Cup is arguably the pinnacle of thoroughbred horse racing and its elite race, the $6million Classic on November 3, will bring down the curtain on the 35th championships in style.
Run at 1 1/4 miles on the dirt this time at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, the Breeders’ Cup Classic brings together the ages with its limited 14 starters comprising this year’s crop of three-year-old’s who’d been eligible to contest the Triple Crown with the best of the older generation.
Here’s a breakdown of this year’s big-hitters and their current projected odds:
California’s John Sadler’s trains this five-year-old and he’s been around the block having contested various Grade One races in his career, notably hitting a peak now after winning the Pacific Classic by a cool 12½ lengths this summer.
His sire was a close second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile back in ’09 before returning the following year to run fourth in the Classic back at Kentucky so it’s in the blood that this guy goes well.
Catholic Boy 5/1
Not all three-year-old’s go down the Triple Crown route and that has been the case with Catholic Boy who was more of a slow burner.
He did win the prestigious Travers Stakes easily, but that race was said to be a little tactical and it’s uncertain whether on the big day he truly has what it’ll take to beat the best.
Arizona’s Bob Baffert knows exactly what it takes to win this but is coming into the race without his Triple Crown hero Justify who is retired because of injury.
Mcknizie could prove to be an able replacement though after taking a good step forward in his fledgling career by winning the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby in a style that said he has much more to offer up yet.
Thunder Snow 7/1
UAE based Sheikh Mohammed owns winners all over the world and despite having horses in training in the States he relies on a 4yo who destroyed his chance from the beginning in last year’s Kentucky Derby, trained in England.
Having devoured his field to win the Dubai World Cup easily back in March the son of Australian sire Helmet, who among second-season sires is only beaten to stakes wins by the mighty Frankel, made a decent prep when second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont.
West Coast 7/2
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride? 4yo West Coast, trained by hall-of-famer https://readhorseracing.com/2018/07/11/triple-crown-winner-justify-suffers-nasty-ankle-injury/, was third in last year’s Classic at Del Mar, second in the Pegasus World Cup, second in the Dubai World Cup and most recently second to favorite Accelerate at Santa Anita.
If consistency is something that is going to win out here, the son of a rather unremarkable racehorse but good sire Flatter could be the one to side with.
Whatever happens on the day in Louisville, the horse that wins the last leg of the Grand Slam of thoroughbred racing will take its place in history alongside some of the greats.