The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) closes out this year’s two-day championship event, being held at Keeneland for just the second time in its 37-year history.
This year’s Classic drew a stellar field that includes the winners of two of the three Triple Crown races along with the elite of the handicap division as they square off going 1 ¼ miles in a race that likely will determine Horse of the Year honors at the Eclipse Awards.
The Triple Crown was turned upside down this year and produced three different winners. The Belmont Stakes (G1) was run first, won by Tiz the Law. The Kentucky Derby was then won by Authentic, with the filly Swiss Skydiver taking the Preakness Stakes (G1).
Swiss Skydiver will be entered in both the Classic and the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and trainer Ken McPeek indicted she would be pointed toward the Distaff unless there were some last-minute defections from the Classic.
TIz the Law and Improbable are the early co-favorites in early Breeders’ Cup Classic wagering at BUSR. Maximum Security is next at 9-2 followed by Authentic at 11-2.
Improbable is one of three in the field that will be sent out by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who swept the Classic in three straight years from 2014 through 2016 with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate.
A winner of three straight, Improbable was the beaten favorite in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but comes into this year’s Classic in the best form of his career, winning the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita in his last start.
Maximum Security was beaten by 4 ½ lengths by his stablemate in the Awesome Again, snapping a six-race winning streak.
Baffert’s third contender is Authentic, the Derby winner who was beaten a neck by the filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness.
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Betting Trends for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic
- The betting favorite has won this race in three of the last five years, the lone exceptions being Gun Runner ($6.80) in 2017 who was the second choice and last year. Vino Rosso’s payoff last year of $11.20 was the highest since Bayern returned $14.20 in 2014. The highest priced winner over the past 17 years is Drosselmeyer at $31.60 in 2011.
- Trainer Bob Baffert won the Classic three years in a row from 2014-2017, each with three-year-olds. The sophomores have won 12 times, four-year-olds have won the Classic 15 times while five-year-olds have accounted for nine Classic wins. Vino Rosso won last year at the age of four. No horse six or older has won the Classic.
- The key preps for the Classic continue to be the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park which has produced eight winners (including in 2019) and the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita with seven. New York has been key, as 7 of the last 10 Classic winners had the final prep in the Big Apple. IN addition to four coming out of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, two prepped in the Travers (G1) and one in the Woodward (G1).
- Pleasantly Perfect (2003) was the last Classic winner to win without having a previous Grade 1 victory…Only three other Classic winners had not won a Grade 1—Concern, Alphabet Soup and Volponi.
- 13 Classic winners have tried to repeat with only Tiznow getting the job done.
- Since 2007 the time between the final prep and the Classic has ranged between 27-35 days in 8 of the last 13 years. Over that time Bayern had the longest time between his final prep and Classic win at 70 days in 2016.
- We have seen nine Classic winners take the field gate to wire. Included in that total was American Pharoah over the Keeneland surface in 2015. Four of the last eight winners were wire jobs.
- Arcangues was the biggest price of all of the Classic winners at $269.20, but the exacta with Cat Thief (20-1) and Budroyale (26-1) in 1999 actually paid more, returning $1,209.60.
- The smallest exacta of all time in the Classic was in 2016 when Arrogate topped a payoff of just $10.00.
- Zenyatta is the lone female to beat the boys, winning the 2009 Classic over a synthetic surface.
- Post positions two and five have fared best, each producing five Classic winners. Outside posts have fared well with 11 winners coming from the 10 post and outward including two that broke from the 14 post.
- Trainer Bob Baffert is 3 for 23 in the Classic. John Sadler is 1 for 4 while Bill Mott is 2 for 17. Dallas Stewart and Barclay Tagg are both 0 for 2 and Al Stall is 1 for 1 (Blame).