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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

LEADING CONTENDERS OF BREEDERS’ CUP 2022

Prepping for the Classic

By HRI Foreign Staff — The Breeders’ Cup horse racing is nearly here. It will take place at the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 4 and 5.  It was agreed to bring the Breeders’ Cup back to Lexington two years later, with limited entry, after it was closed to fans in 2020.

If you took a break from the action during the pandemic, you might have missed the strongest and fastest Thoroughbreds that are about to compete in the Breeders’ Cup 2022. If that’s the case, you won’t want to miss out so we’ll look at the Breeders Cup top contenders and the predictions for each.

Flightline

On April 24, 2021, Flightline made his racing debut in a Maiden event at Santa Anita Park. The race was six furlongs long, and it was open to horses aged three and above.

For the record, American Thoroughbred racehorse Flightline won both the Grade I Malibu Stakes in 2021 and the Metropolitan Handicap in 2022. It is widely anticipated that this horse, trained by John W. Sadler, would win the Breeders’ Cup in 2022. Since earning his license in 1978, Flightline’s trainer has racked up over 2,400 wins.

Country Grammer

Tonalist colt Country Grammer, owned by Paul Pompa Jr. and trained by Chad Brown, made two starts as a juvenile in 2019 and won the 1 1/8-mile race at Aqueduct on November 11. Country Grammer was trained with War Like Goddess, who is also set to reign superior  among the Breeders Cup Turf Contenders.

In his latest run, Country Grammer finished in second place at the San Diego Handicap. He is trained by none other than the legendary Bob Baffert.  One of the best riders in the history of horse racing, John R. Velazquez, is paired with the horse. He was twice named the year’s outstanding jockey, earning him the Eclipse Award.

Epicenter

At Churchill Downs on September 18, 2021, Epicenter had his first race. He went out fast but faded to sixth, losing by 7 and a half lengths.

Steve M. Asmussen, his trainer, comes from a long line of racing enthusiasts. After establishing himself in the field, he quickly rose to prominence and is now widely regarded as one of the country’s premier trainers.

Epicenter is a horse to remember this year because of the expertise of Asmussen and Rosario. The jockey riding the Epicenter is Joel Rosario. His skills are top-notch, and he quickly became one of the best riders in California and in his home country, Dominican Republic.

Life is Good

On his first race for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Life Is Good blazed to a 9 1/2-length victory at Del Mar on November 22, 2020.

Recently, Life Is Good, ridden by Flavian Prat, won the John A. Nerud Stakes. With Prat, it’s guaranteed that he won’t lose any energy he’d typically bring to a race against his contenders. Trainer Todd A. Pletcher has years of horse experience and is in charge of Life Is Good. Indeed, his skill is evident in the thousands of horses he guided to victory.

Olympiad

In his second career race on September 5, 2020, at Saratoga, Olympiad broke his maiden and won for the first time. Running the seven furlongs in 1:22.78 under Junior Alvarado’s guide, he rated off the pace and pulled away to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

Olympiad has been victorious in several races since then. Bill Mott, who has upskilled over 5,000 winners, trains this Olympiad. The fans’ hopes rest on Junior Alvarado, the jockey of Olympiad, who has a victory percentage of over 14% so far this season.

Hot Rod Charlie

This American Thoroughbred racehorse started his career with a pair of sprints on dirt and grass, with the latter being a third-place finish as the betting favorite. In his third race, he continued to run on turf but was unplaced when stretching out to a mile.

Earlier this year, on June 18, Hot Rod Charlie was ridden by Mike Smith and finished second at the Salvador Mile Stakes. With Doug F. O’Neill being Hot Rod Charlie’s trainer, the fans are optimistic about this pair’s chances. O’Neill has a long list of victories in both the handicap and Breeders’ Cup categories.

Cyberknife

On September 25, 2021, at Churchill Downs, Cyberknife was favored by 6-5 odds in his first race, a six-furlong maiden special weight event. He was disqualified despite being the first to cross the finish line because he had bumped into an opponent down the stretch.

In 2022 alone, Cyberknife had six races and four victories. This is not unexpected because his sire, Gun Runner, was named Horse of the Year in 2017. Awesome Flower, his dam, won five stakes races. He was trained by Brad H. Cox, a multiple Eclipse Award winner. His jockey is Florent Geroux. Geroux has racked up over 1,700 wins in American horseracing.

Royal Ship

In 2020, Royal Ship was sent from his original home in Brazil to the stables of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella in the United States. Royal Ship ran in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap on August 23 for the first time and placed third, marking his North American debut.

Just recently, he triumphed against similarly capable competitors to take first place in the San Diego Handicap. Royal Ship, ridden by Mike Smith, conquered the final stretch in a dramatic finish.

Conclusion

The top contenders mentioned above are horses who have continuously shown their speed and vigor in their previous starts, impressing spectators and bettors of horse racing. As the Breeders’ Cup coming up fast, it’s good that you know the greatest horses on the lineup so you can bet on the best.

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