Breeders Cup Classic Trends
And so to the fifteenth, and final, Breeders Cup event, the $5,000,000 Breeders Cup Classic. Run over a mile and a quarter on the main dirt track, this is the all age championship event in North American racing, and it’s a race which has been almost exclusively claimed by a North American horse, despite a fair few bullets being fired from Europe.
That said, the two times when a Euro stole the prize were both in Santa Anita, and one of them was on proper dirt: Arcangues winning for Andre Fabre in 1993. Since then, only John Gosden’s Raven’s Pass has prevailed, beating another Euro, Henrythenavigator, on Pro-Ride fro a memorable day for European racing.
Although the Classic generation has won the Classic itself nine times (31%), four-year-olds have the upper hand with thirteen victories (45%). The remaining seven wins (24%) were recorded by five-year-olds. No horse older than five has been able to win the Classic.
The favourite, Game On Dude, is a six year old! Of course, that doesn’t mean he can’t win, but he wasn’t good enough last year (beaten fifteen lengths in seventh as the 5/4 favourite), and it’s hard to play him this year at the price either.
We’re looking for a horse to have had between three and eight runs this season, as all of the last thirteen winners had prior to BC Classic success.
All except that shock Euro, Arcangues, had finished 1-2-3 last time out, which would be a blow to Planteur if he didn’t have a very similar profile to Arcangues! At what will be close to a triple figure price, he might be worth a throwaway 50p e/w.
Stamina is an important consideration in the Classic. It’s a very fast run race usually and, like the Kentucky Derby, there are few in the field that can live with that combination of pace and distance. To illustrate this, the first two last year were six-and-a-half lengths ahead of the third.
Proven stamina, or an indication in the breeding of the same, is important.
Thirteen of the last sixteen BC Classic winners had won a Grade 1 that season. Not all contenders will pass this test, and it makes sense that such a competitive Grade 1 should generally be won by a horse that has shown it is up to Grade 1 competition. Don’t make excuses for lower level form.
Key Prep Races for Breeders Cup Classic
The main rehearsals for the Classic are The Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Woodward Stakes, and the Awesome Again Stakes (formerly the Goodwood Handicap). Ron The Greek was a decisive, but shock, winner of the JC Gold Cup as a 21/1 shot. Palace Malice was a seven length second, albeit inconvenienced by a wide draw; and Flat Out, the 5/2 favourite, was third.
The Woodward went the way of Alpha by a head from Flat Out, with Ron The Greek seven lengths back. And the Awesome Again was emphatically won by Mucho Macho Man, holding an almost five length advantage over second placed Paynter.