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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


One hundred eighty-eight horses, pre-entered on Monday, were announced today in the 36th Breeders’ Cup’s 14 races, 26 cross-entered in two races, designated by first or second preference. Entries will be finalized at next Monday’s post draw.

Fourteen runners will compete in 11 of the 14 races; only a maximum of 12 will be allowed to compete in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Turf Sprint, and Dirt Mile.

Eleven horses, one female, a pair of 3-year-olds and eight older handicap runners were pre-entered in the centerpiece Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The horses that figure to gain the most parimutuel support are, alphabetically, Code of Honor, the mare Elate, McKinzie, and Vino Rosso. Without a standout favorite, the 36th renewal of the mile and a quarter Classic is one of the most open editions ever.

McKinzie has topped the industry’s Top 10 Classic Poll virtually all season and likely will be slight favorite for Bob Baffert. He has not finished out of the exacta in seven starts in Arcadia, winning thrice.

It is highly unlikely than any horse would go lower than 3-1 at post time.

Three-year-old Code of Honor won his last two starts at the Classic distance, elevated to first following his nose defeat to Vino Rosso in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Elate’s next loss at the Classic distance will be her first, as she’s 3-for-3 lifetime. It is her ability at the trip that convinced her connections to end her career at her optimal distance.

Vino Rosso stared Vino Rosso down in the JCGC stretch duel but was demoted for bumping his rival in the stretch, a controversial disqualification in a year noted for them.

The Jockey Club would have been his second win at the Classic trip this year, having won the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita this spring.

Those considered to have the most upset potential are Higher Power, 3rd in the G1 Awesome Again after stumbling at the start. Previously, he won the mile and a quarter Pacific Classic.

Mongolian Groom’s connections put up $200,000 to supplement into this race after winning the Awesome Again. In his prior, he was third to Higher Power in the Pacific Classic.

Among the entrants, three defending Breeders’ Cup titlists will attempt a return to the winners’ circle: Stormy Liberal will try to win the Turf Sprint for the third consecutive year, Eclipse champion Sistercharlie looks to repeat in the Filly and Mare Turf and Line of Duty will try to win The Mile a year after winning the Juvenile Turf.

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9 Responses

  1. Not sure how to read Owendale in terms of what chance he has in the Classic, but I’m starting to at least get a bit intrigued. His big fig felt a bit suspect to me in the Ohio Derby, but I think he ran a little better than it first appears in the Travers. And Math Wizard was the only horse close to him in that Ohio Derby, and then he went out and knocked off Mr. Money, Improbable and War of Will in the Pennsylvania Derby. War of Will was probably burned out at that time and all, but Cox is playing this hand like the Ohio Derby was that legit, and the Travers was an underrated performance, moved up a touch with the winner “beating” older in the premier race of the Belmont fall meet. There is a lot of handicapping coming up and all before I put a dollar in the pot, but Cox is telling a story of a man holding pocket Kings, and I’m starting to believe.

  2. DD, agree that Owendale’s Travers was better than it looked and this horse has been knocking on doors all year long. Still can’t shake the feeling he’s more Grade 2 than Grade 1. However, I’ve been wrong before, and recently, all too often. And I need to save all my coupons for next weekend…

  3. You may very well be right about that. I want to reserve getting too much behind anyone until I can dig into the PPs and all. I’m just super pumped up for the 2 days. Got my seat already reserved in the Aqueduct Longshots teletheater, and it’s one of the rare Fridays that I actually take off from work.

    Speaking of the BC, wasn’t Life At Ten the filly who tied up during the BC back when she was running? I was thinking of that when watching the 1.2 Million dollar yearling purchase Orsay in the paddock and the post parade on Sunday. She was extremely skittish – even for a 2yo – and was giving off the unmistakable body language of a filly who did not want to be there. And she’d already been scratched in her previous attempt at a debut when she threw Irad before the race. She looks like a million bucks, and I wonder if they believed that breeding Life At Ten to Amercian Pharoah would result in Pharoah’s incredibly docile nature having some influence in calming down some of the high strung nature that a Life At Ten would be expected to bring out. With the breeding, there is little doubt that she will have $$ demand one day as a broodmare, but Chad Brown and company have to be wondering at this point if they are ever going to get anything out of Orsay on the track; and with how valuable she probably is anyway, how hard do they really want Chad to push anyhow?

  4. JP, Methinks the Euros will dominate in The Championships. Bricks and Mortar a “mortar” lock. Love this horse!

  5. Mal, would it be OK if I reserve judgment on anything until post positions are drawn?

    We all know who the best favorites are, but we also know the best horse doesn’t always win. And the stakes for bettors cannot be higher, it’s the best two betting days in the country every year–any race can make your year if you’re right and the crowd isn’t…

    1. You’re right plus Euros in race are unknown quantity. May not even be the best of their best (says friend in Player’s Club at Big A). I asked him if Bricks would be the post-time chalk and he said no. Either he’s very smart or outta his cotton pickin’ mind. Loved watching replay of Arlington race for B & M where he just guns it in stretch to romp. I know, 3-2 odds but what’re you gonna do?

  6. I think your cell mate is correct in that Europe often doesn’t not bring their best. The final nail in that coffin might have been the advent of Champions Day in GB two weeks prior to the B Cup–although it’s not preventing the aggressive Aidan O’Brien from aiming Magical at the Turf vs. males. Seems like she can beat anyone except Enable.

    My best guess is that Bricks And Mortar will go favorite. The price will depend on how much bettors fancy the filly and others. The two weeks didn’t stop Enable last year and neither did her trip.

    Magical is absolutely top class. The equal of B & M? Personally, I have no idea. That’s why they run the races, and the draw is still three days away.

  7. Yes, during our break in the prison yard he said the same thing about there being high purse races across the pond so why travel. He went on to say that some of these Euros like it over here, the footing, etc. Then, in a rare day away from the track (yesterday) he asked what Max paid in feature at Big A. I told him $3.20 and he said that was a good price for this horse. My final question to him was why Maximum Security wasn’t involved in The Championships at Santa Anita. He said, “not tight enough.” He said he didn’t participate because he is saving his “bullets” for Breeder’s Cup races. Must agree w/you about value to be had this weekend at “The Great Race Place.” I asked if he was going to play all fourteen races and he said, “no.” This is why he sometimes wins and I didn’t, ha, ha.

  8. These days you have to be selective for all the reasons we talk about, for all the suspicion we have, for all the super-trainers, figures and trips that dominate the payouts. So if your man is playing the long game, he has the right idea.

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