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Aaron previews the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic from Santa Anita Park, then gives his top picks & long shots. The Bob Baffert-trained Arabian Knight is favored in what looks to be the most competitive running of this race in several years.
Can the 3-year-old speedster repeat his last-out success in the Pacific Classic (G1)? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
top-class international field of 13 contenders was entered Oct. 30 for the 40th running of the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to be run Nov. 4 as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships return to Santa Anita Park for a record 11th time.
The 1 1/4-mile Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic is topped by morning-line favorite Arabian Knight (3-1), campaigned by Zedan Racing Stables Inc. and trainer Bob Baffert, with Blue Rose Farm’s Arcangelo (7-2) the second choice on the morning line. Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings Co. Ltd.’s Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Ushba Tesoro (JPN) (4-1) opposes in his United States debut in the richest of 14 Championship races worth more than $31 million in purses and awards to be run over two days Nov. 3-4.
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be televised live by NBC, Peacock, USA Network, and FanDuel TV. Five Championship races will be run on “Future Stars Friday,” all for 2-year-olds, while the Saturday card features nine Championship races anchored by the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.
A total of 175 horses were entered including five defending Champions: Caravel, Cody’s Wish, Elite Power, Goodnight Olive, and Twilight Gleaming. There are 48 international contenders from five countries who traveled to the United States to prove their mettle in the global showcase.
Arabian Knight, a 3-year-old winner of three of four career starts and most recently victorious over older horses in the FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic (G1), will be ridden by Flavien Prat from post 12.
“It’s a long run to the turn. I would have liked to have been in the middle; you always like to be in the middle in Breeders’ Cup races. Whatever. We’re there,” said Baffert, adding he was surprised about the favorite’s role. “It’s a good field. We got it. You know, I don’t worry about anything that is not in my control. I have won races out of horrible post positions I didn’t like and I have lost from some good ones. At least I didn’t get the rail!”
Trained by Jena Antonucci, Arcangelo has won his past four starts that includes victories in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Travers (G1). Javier Castellano has the mount from post 1.
Co-third choice on the morning line at 4-1 is Ushba Tesoro, runaway winner of the Dubai World Cup in March at the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. Freshened for six months after that victory by trainer Noboru Takagi, Ushba Tesoro easily won his comeback race Sept. 27 in Japan under Yuga Kawada, who has the mount Saturday from post position 8.
Also at 4-1 on the morning line is C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC’s White Abarrio. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., White Abarrio enters off a 6 1/4-length victory in the Whitney Stakes (G1) under Irad Ortiz Jr., who retains the mount Saturday from post 3.
Completing the field are Bright Future (post 11, 10-1), Clapton (post 7, 20-1), Derma Sotogake (JPN) (post 5, 20-1), Dreamlike (post 10, 30-1), Missed the Cut (post 4, 30-1), Proxy (post 13, 12-1), Saudi Crown (post 6, 12-1), Senor Buscador (post 9, 30-1), and Zandon (post 2, 12-1).
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