There is the Sprint Championship at Santa Anita, but the big one is the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Both of these races are “Win And You're In” events for the Breeders' Cup.
Santa Anita – Santa Anita Sprint Championship
The Sprint Championship has a purse of $300,000 and the winner will go on to the Breeders' Cup Sprint, so you could say this six-furlong race is a big deal. The field hasn't been finalized yet, but there are four horses listed as probable for the event, led by Distinctiv Passion, the five-year-old that won the Grade-3 Los Angeles Handicap in May and finished third in this race in 2013. Indexical was fifth in this race last year and he could be back for another run, while Wild Dude and Masochistic finished 1-2 at the Grade-1 Bing Crosby in July. Distinctiv Passion finished fifth at the Bing Crosby, so this looks like it's going to be a very tight field once it fills out; it wouldn't be a surprise if these were the top four horses to finish.
Pick: Distinctiv Passion at Bet365
Belmont Park – Jockey Club Gold Cup
The Jockey Club Gold Cup features a staggering purse of $1,000,000 and is the centerpiece of the fall program at Belmont Park. But more importantly, the winner of this race goes on to the Breeders' Cup Classic, so this is going to draw a stacked field for those three years and older. The prospective field so far is led by Tonalist, which won this race last year as a three-year-old and although he finished fifth at the Classic, he has a win, two second-place results and a third in four starts in 2015. Constitution is being steered towards this race even though he has run twice in 2015, posting a win in February, but then he wasn't in action until a fifth at the Grade-2 Bernard Baruch Handicap in September. Catch A Flight has finished in the money in all of his starts this year, including six in graded-stakes races, and he is coming off a second at the Grade-1 Pacific Classic. Wicked Strong is back after a disappointing 11th in this race last year and while he hasn't won in six starts since then, he has finished in the money three times (all in graded-stakes races) and he is usually around the front. But Tonalist looks to be the sports pick after he ran a great workout time last weekend and with another win, he would join some great horses with multiple victories in this race. Kelso holds the crown with five wins in a row from 1960 to 1964, while more recently, Flat Out and Curlin won twice here. Curlin, of course, won the 2007 Preakness and the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic, while Flat Out made his name at Belmont Park in this race.
Pick: Tonalist at Pinnacle