The post positions are set and the morning line has been released for this Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at San Anita Park as part of the most exciting and lucrative two days of major graded stakes horse racing of the year.
Santa Anita Park is the place to be this Friday and Saturday with a grand total of 13 races on the slate for this year's Breeders' Cup. The Classic is the highlight of Saturday's race card in one of the most exciting betting events of the year. I have broken down the entire 10-horse field in this year's Classic to come up with my winning combination for a trifecta pick.
2016 Breeders' Cup Classic - Santa Anita Park
The Breeders' Cup Classic is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year old thoroughbreds and up with a total prize purse of $6 million. It will be contested on the dirt track at Santa Anita over a distance of 1 ¼ miles.
The horse at the top of just about everyone's list for this year's Classic is 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome. While he came up short in his bid to win the Triple Crown that year with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, this five-year old California-bred horse has remained perfect this season with six victories in six events. His latest win came in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1 at a distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, the No. 1 ranked horse by Horse Racing Nation also won this year's Grade 1 Dubai World Cup and the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at a distance of 1 ¼ miles. He has been opened as a 1/1 morning line favorite for Saturday's BC Classic breaking from the No. 4 post.
Coming up with a second choice in this race has been a much tougher task, but I am going with Frosted at 5/1 betting odds on the morning line. This four-year old Kentucky-bred colt will go off from the No. 2 post and he will be looking to extend his streak of three-straight finishes in the money after placing third in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga his last time out on Sept. 3. Prior to that, he won the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at that same track in early August as a distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Under the careful guidance of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin with jockey Joel Rosario getting the ride, Frosted comes into this race ranked No. 6 by HRN with a rating of 8.84. He faded to seventh place in last year's Classic, but going back to his second-place finish in the 2015 Belmont Stakes, he has finished in the money in eight of 10 events.
I decided to stretch the odds a bit to round out my trifecta pick for this year's Breeders' Cup Classic with trainer Bob Baffert's Hopportunity as my third choice at 15/1 odds on the morning line. I was highly impressed with his recent victory in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Oct. 8 over a distance of 1 ¼ miles. This followed a pair of West Coast fourth-place runs in this year's Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar earlier this summer.
The five-year old Kentucky-bred horse will break from the No. 9 post with jockey John Velazquez getting the ride. His current ranking by HRN stands at No. 45 with an overall rating of 8.16.