The 39th Breeders’ Cup is less than three weeks away with 14 races over two days, highlighted by one of the best horses in history and perhaps the next Kentucky Derby winner. The typically full Breeders’ Cup fields provide players plenty of value in the horse racing odds, but that makes handicapping a greater challenge.
The five championship races on Nov. 4 are for 2-year-olds with the other nine set for Nov. 5, culminating with the Classic. Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.,offers a bucolic setting as it serves as Breeders’ Cup host for the third time.
Flightline Soars Into Kentucky With 5-For-5 Record
It’s anyone’s guess whether the Classic will be Flightline’s final race. The 4-year-old colt, trained by John Sadler, is 5-for-5 lifetime – by a combined 62¾ lengths – after an eye-popping performance in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in September.
Flightline won by 19¼ lengths with a 126 Beyer — second-highest in the 31 years that the speed figures have been produced. He is a mind-boggling 2-1 in the BetUS Horse Racing Futures, but will likely be closer to 1-2 at post time. Flightline worked six furlongs in 1:11.80 and galloped out a mile in 1:38.60 at Santa Anita on Saturday, much to the delight of Sadler.
“Look at that rhythm,” Sadler told Daily Racing Form. “This is nice.” Sadler said Flightline will work again at Santa Anita on Saturday before heading to Kentucky on Oct. 23. His final work will be conducted at Keeneland.
West vs East Juvenile Rivalry Alive With Cave Rock and Forte
Hall of Fame trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher have combined to win six Breeders’ Cup Juveniles. A seventh could be on the way with Baffert’s Cave Rock and Pletcher’s Forte leading the class of 2-year-olds after winning their last races on Oct. 8. Cave Rock, 3-for-3 lifetime, earned a 104 Beyer in a 5¼-length victory in the American Pharoah at Santa Anita. The latter is 3-for-4 after winning the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland by a neck, making a decisive move on the turn and outlasting a game Loggins. Cave Rock won the Beyer battle 104-92. He will be favored when betting online to give Baffert his fifth Juvenile title.
Anything Can Happen – at The Windows and on the Track
Longshots aren’t afraid to show their faces in the Breeders’ Cup, whether it be in the winner’s circle or on the board. Only a short memory is needed to recall Marche Lorraine winning the 2021 Distaff at 49-1. The racebook will be filled with astute bettors wary of favorites and willing to take a shot at a price. Those opportunities are sure to pop up in a couple weeks.
Keeneland’s 1 1/16-mile configuration offers unique situations for the Dirt Mile, the Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies. The 2-year-old races start and end at the sixteenth pole. The Dirt Mile also ends at the sixteenth pole, but starts in the shadow of the first turn. Post position will be paramount in the mile race with those stuck outside almost certain to go wide on the first turn.