Horse-by-horse analysis for Breeders’ Cup Classic: Only 3 can win

Michael “The Wizard” Kipness has been a professional horse racing handicapper since 1986. He has been making selections and wagers for the Breeders’ Cup every year since.

The Wizard analyzes Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, designating each horse as a contender or pretender.

Full card selections and wagering strategies for the Breeders’ Cup, both Friday and Saturday, are available at His new YouTube racing show, “Get Tied On,” also can be found on the site.

Post position, horse, jockey, morning-line odds:

2. Zandon, Dettori, 12-1

Solid win in the Grade 2 Woodward last time out. His consistent form makes him a player to land a piece in the Classic, even though a victory would be a bit of a stretch. Has never beaten the cream of the crop, especially at this distance. Inside post only helps. Pretender.

3. White Abarrio, Irad Ortiz Jr., 4-1

Eye-opening and very impressive win in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga. Showed good tactical speed stalking before busting the race wide open. Benefits from the three-month layoff into the Classic, making only his third start for Rick Dutrow Jr. off a trainer change. Has shown he runs well fresh. Gets first run on a likely speed duel but will have to run harder in the middle stages of this race than in the Whitney. The question is what he will have left in the tank stretching out to 1¼ miles. Draws a perfect post for his running style. Dutrow won the 2005 Classic with Saint Liam. Contender.

4. Missed the Cut, Saez, 30-1

Exits a career-best race at Santa Anita, scoring easily against three rivals at 1½ miles. Steps way up in class today and is clearly overmatched. Pretender.

5. Derma Sotogake, 20-1, Lemaire

Disappointing in his lone U.S. start in the Kentucky Derby. Has not been seen since then. Tall task for a 3-year-old whose quality is still to be determined. Pretender.

6. Saudi Crown, Geroux, 12-1

Talented speedster who would be a perfect 5-for-5 into the Classic if not beaten by a nose in both defeats. I question his stamina stretching out to 1¼ miles for the first time and facing pace pressure from Arabian Knight. Must also face off with some gritty older rivals. Will stick around for a while but will likely falter late. Breaking inside of Arabian Knight puts Saudi on the front end, but not without pressure from Arabian Knight. Pretender.

7. Clapton, Gaffalione, 20-1

Winless in three starts at 1¼ miles and has proven to be a cut below the best at this level. Pretender.

8. Ushba Tesoro, Kawada, 4-1

Top-class Japanese invader looks to win his seventh straight race. Rallied from last place to win the Dubai World Cup impressively at the Classic distance. Returned Sept. 27 off a four-month layoff with an authoritative win, setting him up nicely for a peak performance Saturday. Gets lively fractions to close into. Has settled in well at Santa Anita, looking the picture of health. Contender.

9. Senor Buscador, Franco, 30-1

A cut below the best of his generation and clearly prefers shorter than 1¼ miles. Pretender.

10. Dreamlike, Ortiz, 30-1

Has yet to attempt this distance, and his best races have been over wet tracks. Has only a maiden win to his credit. Pretender.

11. Bright Future, Velazquez, 10-1

Exits a career-best nose victory in a Grade 1 stake at this distance Sept. 2. Runs best when up close to the early leaders. Will have to be hard-used making a middle move into fast fractions, which will likely take its toll on him late. Pretender.

12. Arabian Knight, Prat, 3-1

Game front-running win in the Pacific Classic at 1¼ miles. Set quick fractions to prevail by a neck. Had plenty of gas left in the tank, galloping out strong after the finish. With Saudi Crown breaking inside of him, Prat will likely have to stalk up close and attack on the far turn. His success will be determined on how hard he will have to work to put away the pacesetter and then hold off the attackers in deep stretch. Enters the Classic in peak form for trainer Bob Baffert, who is looking to win his fifth Breeders’ Cup Classic. Contender.

13. Proxy, Rosario, 12-1

Very consistent and gritty 5-year-old. Winless in three starts at this distance and has never beaten the best of his generation. Capable of hitting the board but is not likely to win the Classic breaking from a tough outside post. Pretender.

Original News Source Link – LVRJ

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