Saturday’s excellent Breeders’ Cup card doesn’t have a race which is anything less than enthralling amongst the nine on offer. The best of the bunch however is very much saved until last with the contest most synonymous with this prestigious meeting: The Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 7th November 2020
- Winner: Authentic
- SP: 9/2
- Trainer: Bob Baffert
- Jockey: John R Velazquez
The trip is 1m2f for the Grade 1 headline act of the Breeders’ Cup meeting which offers a whopping £4,195,489 in total prize money. That’s a very cool $6m and this is the most lucrative race of the meeting. Taking place on the dirt track at Keeneland, the going is currently described as fast.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Fast||1m2f||Group 1||£4,195,489||10 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Breeders' Cup Classic Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Legendary US handler Bob Baffert has handles plenty of speedballs over the years and he tops the all-time trainer’s table in this race, courtesy of his three consecutive victories between 2014 and 2016 (with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate). Baffert has sent out the runner-up twice since the latest of those wins and will have high hopes of going one better this time around, as he sends Authentic, Improbable and Maximum Security to post.
Of the jockeys on show, Javier Castellano (Global Campaign), Irad Ortiz, Jnr. (Improbable) and Joel Rosario (Tom’s D’Etat) have all came out on top in this prestigious contest in the past. Irad Ortiz Jr will likely have the freshest memories of his victory having come home in front in the 2019 edition aboard Vino Rosso.
The only outright shock in this race in recent times was the 20/1 success of Drosselmeyer in 2011. However, this still hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for supporters of the market leader of late. The past 10 years have featured just the one winning jolly, American Pharoah at a measly 4/6, resulting in a level stakes loss of -£8.33 for favourite backers.
In terms of more specific trends, you should be looking for a horse that finished in the top three last time out. All of the last 20 winners of this one managed that, with 19 of those 20 also having previously won over nine furlongs or more. In terms of preparing for this contest, 17 of 20 were last seen at Belmont, Santa Anita or Saratoga. Given that has accounted for only 53% of the field over the past two decades, that 85% strike rate is quite a decent trend to think about.
|Improbable||11/4||Bob Baffert||Irad Ortiz Jr|
|Authentic||6/1||Bob Baffert||John R Velazquez|
|Tom's D'Etat||6/1||Albert M Stall Jr||Joel Rosario|
Improbable – 11/4
Bob Baffert really does look to boast a very strong hand in this year’s edition, with his three runners taking up thee of the first four places in the market. Heading that trio, and looking set to start as outright favourite this year, is the four year old, Improbable.
This son of City Zip looked destined for the big time following a perfect juvenile campaign which culminated in a five-length romp in a Grade 1 at Los Alamitos. However, it’s fair to say things then didn’t go quite as well as may have been hoped for last year, with the colt winning only one of seven starts – particularly as that lone success came down at Listed level.
Fast forward to the current campaign and Baffert appears to have found the key to the strapping chestnut. Courtesy of impressive successes in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Whitney Stakes and Awesome Again Stakes, he now heads into this seeking a Grade 1 four timer and looks a major threat to all.
That latest success in the Awesome Again was particularly easy on the eye, as he cruised from last to first to win by an eased down 4½l from his highly rated stablemate Maximum Security. With it also coming at Santa Anita over 9f you can tick off more good trends boxes and so the market may well have things right this year.
Authentic – 6/1
When looking at Baffert’s three previous winners of this race – Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate – one thing they all had in common, is that they were all three years old at the time of their victory. The fact that Baffert has never won the race with anything other than a three year old, makes his Kentucky Derby winner, Authentic, well worth a second look in this.
Unraced at two, he began his career with back to back successes at Santa Anita before coming up just short when second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He did shape as though he wasn’t quite at peak fitness that day though and duly landed his two subsequent starts, culminating in that Kentucky Derby success when seemingly bursting the bubble of Tiz The Law, who also goes here.
Only second last time out in the Preakness, that was still a fine run to only go down by a neck to a filly in Swiss Skydiver who got first run up the rail and wasn’t for passing on the day. With close to 10 lengths back to the third, the form looks solid, and if able to get to the lead turning for home, he may well prove tough to pass.
Tom’s D’Etat – 6/1
Also well worth a place on the shortlist, in what looks like being a wide open renewal, is the Albert M Stall Jr. seven year old, Tom’s D’Etat. Two years older than anything else in this year’s field – and indeed than any horse to have ever won this race in the past, his advancing years are a concern, but purely on the form book he would look to boast excellent claims.
Now a winner of eight of his 13 career starts, this horse has certainly had his issues over the years, but those problems do mean he is very lightly raced for one his age and, having proven himself to be a top notch performer last season, has looked as well as ever so far in the current campaign.
The run that really makes this one of interest here is his comeback effort in the Oaklawn Mile back in April when absolutely cruising up on the outside to score cosily from the flat to the boards leader – particularly as that leader was non-other than the favourite for this, Improbable. The Bob Baffert runner did gain his revenge over Tom’s ‘Etat last time out in the Whitney Stakes, but that 2½l defeat doesn’t really tell the whole story, as Tom’s D’Etat lost more than that amount of ground when badly stumbling at the start and looked to hit the line full of running. Likely to be doing all of his best work late, he shouldn’t be too far away at the line. At considerably longer odds than the favourite he is sure to have plenty of backers.
Breeders' Cup Classic Winners
|2020||Authentic||9/2||Bob Baffert||John R Velazquez|
|2019||Vino Rosso||4/1||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz Jnr|
|2018||Accelerate||9/2||John Sadler||Joel Rosario|
|2017||Gun Runner||11/4||Steven Asmussen||Florent Geroux|
|2016||Arrogate||7/4||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith|
|2015||American Pharoah||4/6||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinioza|
|2014||Bayern||7/1||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia|
|2013||Mucho Macho Man||4/1||Kathy Ritvo||Gary Stevens|
|2012||Fort Larned||9/1||Ian R Wilkes||Brian Hernandez Jnr|
|2011||Drosselmeyer||20/1||William Mott||Mike E Smith|
About the Breeders’ Cup Classic
Starring as the main attraction of the elite Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the one and only Breeders’ Cup Classic. Widely considered to be the most prestigious race held in North America, the Grade 1 contest is one that’s long attracted horses and trainers from across the globe. It once stood as the richest horse race on the planet too but these days its huge $6m jackpot is only good enough for a place in the top five. We knew we were in the wrong line of business!
Like with all other races taking place during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, it has no fixed home with a different racecourse hosting the event each year. It always takes place on a left-handed course though over a distance of one-and-a-quarter miles. Qualification for the race is straightforward with any hopeful horses simply needing to win one of the many Breeders’ Cup Challenge races that take place all over the globe. Initially there were 24 of the ‘Win and You’re In’ events but seven years later this total had reached a massive 71.
PHARAOH SECURES HISTORIC GRAND SLAM
America’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is awarded to any three-year-old horse talented enough to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. A trio of horses completed the feat in the 1970s but there was a long wait for the next, the drought broken only by the superb American Pharaoh in 2015. Not content with just three huge victories, the Bob Baffert-trained horse then struck gold in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, now the fourth leg of the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing. Never before had a horse triumphed in all races and it will take a true legend to pull it off again. We expect to be in for a lengthy wait.
BAFFERT ON TOP
If there’s one man you can count on having a Breeders’ Cup Classic presence then it’s Bob Baffert. The Arizona-born trainer has had at least one runner in the mix for this race every year since 2008, although it took him a few years before he enjoyed a first taste of success.
Despite some strong contenders in early renewals, it wasn’t until 2014 when one of North American racing’s biggest names celebrated victory. Having ended the wait, Baffert strung together another two victories for an unprecedented hat-trick. This short burst of success is enough to make him the leading all-time trainer for this event and you can be sure he’s not done just yet.
WATCH THOSE SPEED FIGURES
One of the main differences between British and American racing is the focus on times and statistics. The sheer variation among British racecourses and underfoot conditions means that previous performances are often hard to compare, or at least there is generally little interest in such comparisons.
Across the Atlantic though, things are more standardised and this allows racing fans to be a little more scientific in their approach, also a reflection of American sports’ love of number-crunching, data and stats. One thing you’ll no doubt see when doing your Breeders’ Cup Classic research are speed figures. Some prefer to use the Equibase Speed Figure while others opt for the Beyer. The latter is definitely something to watch out for as 21 of the last 24 winners of this race all posted a Beyer Speed Figure rating of 100+ last time out.
TIZNOW STRIKES TWICE
Some truly great names have gone on to win this race but Tiznow is the only horse who’s managed to do so twice. This achievement saw his name added into the racing Hall of Fame in 2009 and rightly so given just how hard a task it is to pull off.
Initially he wasn’t set to take part in the 2000 edition of the race but two fine victories leading up to the big occasion saw him supplemented for a fee of $360,000. A most worthwhile investment it turned out to be as Tiznow gamely held off Giant’s Causeway in a finish that that won NTRA’s Moment of the Year. It’s an award he claimed again a year later as a gutsy display from the fourth favourite saw him edge out Arc winner Sakhee by a nose.