The $6 million Classic is deservedly the marquee betting event of the two-day Breeders’ Cup program, but the 2019 running doesn’t look like one of the strongest renewals. But that’s OK, as the lack of star power should translate to a wide-open betting race that offers the chance of rich rewards.
The morning-line favorite in the 2019 Breeder’s Cup Classic, which will be run on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, is expected to be McKenzie, a Bob Baffert-trained 4-year-old Street Sense colt who proved himself to be a top horse by winning the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes this year at Saratoga.
I expect McKenzie will open in the wagering around 5-2 or 3-1, a clear indication that he doesn’t tower over the field.
There are questions surrounding McKinzie, the main ones being that he has won only twice in six starts this year, will have a new rider for the race (with Joel Rosario replacing Hall of Famer Mike Smith) and is 0-for-2 at the 1 ¼ mile distance of the Classic.
The fact that he will likely be favored (check betting odds at BetAmerica) is more a testament to Baffert’s success in the Breeders’ Cup – he is the winningest trainer in the series with more than $28 million in earnings and already has won the Classic three times – than the horse’s accomplishments. That that the race is being contested in the white-haired Hall of Fame trainer’s backyard also helps.
But given the questions surrounding the favorite this looks to me like a spot to look at the other 10 horses in the field in hopes of finding one who can turn the tables on the chalk.
Here are a few other entrants that I think have a good shot to bring home the winner’s share of the purse
Betting on Breeders’ Cup Classic Favorites
Code of Honor
The likely 3-year-old champion in the U.S. off his victories in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Gr 1) at Belmont and the Travers Stakes (Gr 1) at Saratoga, the son of Noble Mission will be facing older horses for the second time in what will be his 10th start. He finished a nose behind Classic contender Vino Rosso in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but was placed first via disqualification. Trainer Shug McGaughey is a Hall of Famer, one of three with horses in the race, and already has won nine Breeders’ Cup races, though he has no Classic victories.
This 5-year-old mare will be making her first start against males in the Classic, but she has several factors going for her: She is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, is 3-for-3 in 1 1/4 -mile races and already has banked more than $2.3 million in earnings in her 18-race career – third most in the field. Mott also generally charts a conservative path with his runners, which lends credence to this bold move.
A 4-year-old colt by Medaglia d’Oro, Higher Power finished third in his most recent start, the Awesome Again Stakes (Gr 1) in September, checking in more than five lengths behind McKinzie. But he stumbled at the start of that 1 1/8-mile race, which took him out of his usual game of racing near the lead and likely compromised his chances. His prior start was a victory in the 1 ¼-mile Pacific Classic (Gr 1) at Del Mar, so you know he can handle the demanding distance.
Another 4-year-old colt, Vino Rosso enters the race in sharp condition, having finished in front in his last two starts against top competition at this distance (though he was disqualified from the win for interference in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Gr 1) at Belmont). Another big plus is that one of those races – the Gold Cup (Gr 1) was run at Santa Anita in May, so you know he can handle the track. Trainer Todd Pletcher has never won a Classic among his 10 Breeders’ Cup victories, but he’s a sure thing to make the Hall of Fame soon and this could be his year for a breakthrough.
War of Will
Likely to be overlooked off so-so efforts in his last three races, the 3-year-old son of War Front and Preakness Stakes (Gr 1) winner should not be dismissed out of hand. The first of the trio was the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes (Gr 1), which proved to be too much, too soon after his big race in the Preakness. Then trainer Mark Casse cut him back to 1 1/8 miles in the Pennsylvania Derby (Gr 1) and the Jim Dandy Stakes (Gr 2) at Saratoga, a distance that might be a bit short for him. The stretchout to 1 ¼ miles and a return to the stalking style he showed in winning the Preakness may be just what the doctor ordered.
The long-fused Japanese-bred 5-year-old is another runner who figures to be largely overlooked in the betting despite the fact that he is a multiple Grade 1 winner on both dirt and turf. A stablemate of Elate, Yoshida is winless in five starts this year and is 0-for-2 at the 1 ¼-mile distance. But one of those starts was the Dubai World Cup (Group 1) run in March in Dubai, a trip that often takes the starch out of a horse. He has shown improvement in his last two starts and has been working sharply toward his Classic start for Mott at Saratoga.
Breeders’ Cup Classic 2019 Betting Odds and Legal Spotrsbooks
When it comes to betting the race, let the odds be your guide, preferring horses from this list that are being overlooked by the bettors. You also might want to mix and match them in varying combinations – without completely forgetting about McKinzie – in exotic bets like exactas and trifectas in hopes of cashing a ticket you’ll remember the rest of your life. Check these online horse racing sportsbooks accepting bets on Breeders’ Cup Classic 2019 and offering no deposit and deposit bonuses.
Future Stars Friday, November 1st
- Race 5 – 4:12pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
- Race 6 – 4:52pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
- Race 7 – 5:32pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
- Race 8 – 6:12pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Juveniles Fillies Turf
- Race 9 – 7:03pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Breeders’ Cup World Championships, November 2nd
- Race 4 – 2:55pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
- Race 5 – 3:33pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
- Race 6- 4:10pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
- Race 7 – 4:54pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
- Race 8 – 5:36pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Sprint
- Race 9 – 6:20pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Mile
- Race 10 – 7pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Distaff
- Race 11 – 7:40pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Turf
- Race 12- 8:44pm EST – Breeders’ Cup Classic