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ARCADIA, CA – Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s McKinzie has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 3-year-olds and up for Saturday’s $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to be run at 1 ¼ miles on the main track, the climax of the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championship races to be run Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
The Classic is the richest of 14 Championship races, worth more than $30 million in purses and awards, to be run over the two days at Santa Anita and will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The Classic will be broadcast live at 8:44 p.m. ET on NBC.
Five Championship races will be run on Future Stars Friday with all Breeders’ Cup tests that day being for 2-year-olds. Highlighting the afternoon will be the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), races that will determine early favoritism for the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively.
The 168 horses entered include nine also-eligibles. Included in the entries are two winners from last year’s Championships at Churchill Downs: Sistercharlie (IRE) in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and Stormy Liberal, the back-to-back winner of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
Trained by three-time Classic winner Bob Baffert, McKinzie has compiled a 6-2-4-0 record in 2019 with the victories coming in the Alysheba (G2) at Churchill Downs and the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga.
Second in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita in his most recent start, McKinzie will be ridden by Joel Rosario and break from post position eight.
“I was happy with it,” Baffert said. “You never want to be down inside. This is the last thing that you don’t have any control of. It looks like all the horses drew pretty well in there. All the good horses are next to each other. At the end of the day the cream rises to the top. That’s what the Breeders’ Cup is all about. It’s great racing. You have to be really good and really good that day.”
Co-second choices on the morning line at 4-1 are W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor and Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Vino Rosso.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Code of Honor brings a three-race win streak into the Classic including Grade 1 scores in the Travers against 3-year-olds and the Jockey Club Gold Cup via disqualification of Vino Rosso in his first race against older rivals.
John Velazquez has the mount and will break from post position 11.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Vino Rosso won the Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita in May at the Classic distance. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount and will break from post position 10.
Adding a splash of intrigue into this year’s Classic is the presence of Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s 5-year-old mare Elate.
Coming on the 10th anniversary of Zenyatta becoming the first mare to win the Classic, the Bill Mott-trained Elate will be challenging the boys for the first time in her career, racing at a distance at which she never has lost in three tries. Listed at 6-1 on the morning line, Elate will break from post position six and be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
“I think it’s OK,” said Mott. “I think it’s fine. I don’t see any problems with them. I don’t think the post position is any excuse for us. I mean, the fewer horses you have, the fewer chances of getting hung up wide. But we’re inside enough. You can’t win these races going around everybody. I guess with Yoshida, he comes from a good ways back so he can always get hung up a little wide.”
Entries for the 2019 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (from the rail out) with odds: Math Wizard (30-1), Seeking the Soul (20-1), Owendale (15-1), War of Will (20-1), Yoshida (8-1), Elate (6-1), Higher Power (6-1), McKinzie (3-1), Mongolian Groom (12-1), Vino Rosso (4-1), and Code of Honor (4-1).
For more Breeders’ Cup news, analysis, and picks, check out our 14 Trends to the Breeders’ Cup guide FREE, or be the first to receive our exclusive Breeders’ Cup wagering guide here.
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