Breeders' Cup

An Early Preview of the Breeders' Cup® Classic

Darragh Farrelly

By Darragh Farrelly

June 2, 2016

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Every sport has a year-end event to crown its champions. Over the next days and weeks, the nation will be glued to the NBA finals. For the sport of kings, three-year-old+ Thoroughbreds meeting at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships® is the defining moment of the worldwide race season, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic the $5 million dollar blue riband event on November 5, the Super Bowl of Horse Racing.

Run over a distance of 1 ¼ miles on dirt, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is often referred to as the unofficial fourth leg of the Triple Crown™ (after the Kentucky Derby®, Preakness and Belmont Stakes). The term gained huge traction following the mercurial American Pharoah’s feat of claiming all four races in the calendar year of 2015, becoming
 the first horse ever to do so.

The King of Kings

American_Pharoah_Triple_Crown.jpg-large.jpegHall of fame trainer Bob Baffert holds an impressive recent record and will be looking to make it three wins in a row in this year’s renewal (American Pharoah 2015, Bayern 2014); however, he faces some fierce competition. Upon early indication by bookmakers, 2014 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year California Chrome will go off as this year’s race favorite. Following an extended lay-off for the now five-year-old, the highest-earning thoroughbred in North American history (after victory in this year’s Dubai World Cup), he’ll return to action on July 23 at Del Mar and then conclude his glittering career at the Southern California venue. Who could begrudge a horse of such pedigree a fitting swansong?

The Protagonists

This season’s Triple Crown™ series protagonists Exaggerator and Nyquist will also enter the race with high hopes at the Santa Anita venue on November 5. The latter, who was beaten for the first time in his career when he finished third, 3½ lengths back, to Exaggerator in the Preakness, will have this race as his long-term goal as connections evaluate his summer options.

The highly popular Exaggerator, who will be aiming for back-to-back Triple Crown™ series wins at the Belmont Stakes on June 11, will bring the curtain down on a superb three-year-old season. Brother trainer and jockey combo Keith and Kent Desormeaux have done a truly spectacular job with the son of Curlin, and at an initial pricing of 10/1 for the Classic, he represents great value.

The Outsiders

Frosted, a regular in the 2015 Triple Crown series and last year’s second in this race, and Effinex are both priced at 16/1 respectively. 

Undefeated champion filly Songbird, quoted at 18/1 by William Hill, sits high on the board but is unlikely to try the 1 ¼ mile Classic as a 3-year-old.

This year’s line-up will see 14 horses go to post. Seven spots to the Classic will be automatically awarded by way of "Win and You're In" qualification. The first is up for grabs June 18 in Churchill Downs' Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap. 

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Breeders-Cup-Experiences-Santa-Anita-Hospitality-Purple-Venue-Original.jpgDon’t miss your chance to witness The Breeders’ Cup World Championships® from November 4 – 5. Feel the thrill of victory when the grand spectacle of the ultimate showcasing of Thoroughbred racing hits the highest level of international competition.

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