The field is set for the Breeders’ Cup Longines Classic, the feature race of the weekend. A total of 11 horses will run in this year’s contest, which holds a purse of $6,000,000. Without a clear standout for the first time in a few years, this race could provide a great betting opportunity. Set for race 12 at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, the Classic will be run at the American 1 1/4-mile championship distance.
The full field from the rail out includes:
#1 Math Wizard – After several stake attempts this season, the former maiden claimer finally got the job done in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) last time out at Parx. A true rags-to-riches story, this colt will look to keep the dream alive here.
#2 Seeking the Soul – This horse qualified for the Classic by winning the Stephen Foster Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs this summer. Since then, he finished off the board in both the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar and the local Awesome Again Stakes (G1). This will be his second Breeders’ Cup appearance after running second in last year’s Dirt Mile.
#3 Owendale – This Brad Cox trainee has picked up a trio stakes wins on the 3-year-old circuit and also finished third in the Preakness Stakes (G1). He won the Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown before finishing fifth in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, then shipped to Remington Park last time out to take home the Oklahoma Derby (G3).
#4 War of Will – The Preakness Stakes (G1) winner will look to get back on track after losing his last three efforts. Following extremely poor showings in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), he ran better last time out in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), finishing third. He might be slowly getting back on track.
#5 Yoshida – He is still searching for his first win this season. Last year, he finished fourth in the Classic, only missing by 1 3/4 lengths. We’ve seen improved performances from him lately, though; he finished second in the Whitney Stakes (G1) and third in the Woodward Stakes (G1). After the Woodward, Bill Mott opted to train Yoshida up to this spot, much like he did last year.
#6 Elate – The field’s lone mare adds spice to this year’s event as she takes on the boys following a solid campaign in the older female division. For her connections, the decision to take a shot against the boys looks like a simple one: the 5-year-old seems to be a true 1 1/4-mile runner, with her three starts at the distance – all wins – seemingly the best of her career.
#7 Higher Power – He picked up an impressive win at Del Mar this summer, winning the Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) by 5 1/2 lengths. These same connections won last season’s Classic with Accelerate, so it’s great to see them back with another contender here. Higher Power has won two of five starts this season.
#8 McKinzie – While there is not a standout in this year’s field, Bob Baffert’s McKinzie has been the leader in the Breeders’ Cup Classic media poll all season long. This season, he has two wins in six starts, including the Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga two starts back. However, he is winless at Santa Anita this season, finishing second in three graded stakes races over the course of the year.
#9 Mongolian Groom – The well-traveled horse has competed on both coasts this year and picked up the biggest win of his career last time out, taking home the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park. The 4-year-old Hightail gelding went straight to the front and held off a charge from McKinzie down the lane, winning by 2 1/4 lengths at odds of 25/1.
#10 Vino Rosso – The Todd Pletcher trainee is undefeated this year at Santa Anita Park, having shipped here in May to win the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes (G1) at odds of 4/1. Vino Rosso has won two of five starts this season, but many believe that his win total should be higher. Last time out, he crossed the wire first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, but he was disqualified and placed second due to interference in the stretch.
#11 Code of Honor – The Shug McGaughey trainee has emerged as the top 3-year-old in the country heading into the Breeders’ Cup, thanks in large part to a sensational 3-length triumph in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga this summer. He also won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in the spring before finishing second (via Maximum Security’s disqualification) in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Last time out, he was moved up to first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) after Vino Rosso interfered with him in the stretch.
The feature race of the Breeders’ Cup may be short on standouts this year, but it is still a must-see event. The contest is as competitive as ever; each horse truly has a shot. This is going to be a great betting opportunity and will likely yield a close finish that will be highly entertaining to watch. Sit back and enjoy the show!