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The 36th Breeders’ Cup is almost upon us with the picturesque Santa Anita Park in California hosting the championships for a record tenth time.
Another fourteen cup races are scheduled across November 1 & 2 and with Breeders’ Cup betting right at the forefront of most people’s minds, we take an early look here at the main contenders for some of the top races at the meet.
Breeders’ Cup Contenders
Thousands of horses are looking to qualify and not all can, but even more prevalent for breeders, owners, trainers and for those of you looking to place Breeders’ Cup bets is knowing what conditions each runner can handle.
With up to just 14 starters allowed in the gate, connections are choosy about who they send to run for their share of the $30 million bounty and you too should be fussy when it comes to picking out your cup bets.
As the official wagering partner of the Breeders’ Cup we know here at TVG that betting is important and that the Breeders’ Cup betting odds will change regularly, but right now these are the main contenders for the top races at Santa Anita in 2019:
Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders
As always, this $6 million race will be the focal point of bets for a lot of players. The Classic is run over 1¼ miles, is for all ages and will go a long way to crowning 2019’s Horse of the Year.
Code Of Honor (trainer: Claude McGaughey III owner: WS Farish)
Sophomores don’t have the best record in this race, but as the Travers Stakes winner this one definitely comes into the Classic as a top contender, especially since he was also second in the Derby. He is improving at just the right time and the style of his Saratoga win suggests he will see this out right to the wire.
Game Winner (trainer: Bob Baffert owner: Gary & Mary West)
Another three-year-old, but one who comes into the championships as the reigning TVG Juvenile champion. It’s important to note that the only horses of this age to have won the Classic in recent years have been trained by Bob Baffert, as this son of Candy Ride is, and so a solid prep going into the big one would mean him being at the top of many handicapper’s cup bet plans.
Higher Power (trainer: John Sadler owner: Hronis Racing)
After some retirements and the defection now of Thunder Snow due to health problems, top older horses are a little thin on the ground this year, meaning Higher Power comes right into calculations for Breeders’ Cup bets.
Not really considered beforehand, this four-year-old colt ran away with the TVG Pacific Classic at nearby Del Mar to put himself right into contention and he is now two for four since joining John Sadler with the promise of more improvement to come.
Maximum Security (trainer: Jason Servis owner: Gary & Mary West)
After missing the Travers Stakes and the Pennsylvania Derby plans are fluid just now for the West’s other contender, but on previous form he’d have to be the number one pick of the sophomores.
As a winner of the Florida Derby, the Kentucky Derby (later disqualified) and recently the TVG Haskell Invitational his form is bombproof and if anything, his recent troubles and lack of racing miles may mean he comes into this event as a fresh horse which could be an advantage – something to keep in mind when placing a bet.
McKinzie (trainer: Bob Baffert owner: Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman)
Although he was only fourth in the Classic, McKinzie’s sire Street Sense won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby so it really is in the blood with this one.
This horse is the no.1 out of all the contenders right now after his impressive win in the Whitney Stakes, with the only word of caution regarding betting him being that the one time in 12 runs that he’s finished outside of the first two was in last year’s Classic.
<H3> Breeders’ Cup Turf
Going over 1½ miles on turf means once again the overseas horses could dominate, though right now the race is wide open with a couple of top European races still to be run and the prospect of wondermare Enable returning looking increasingly unlikely.
Bricks And Mortar (trainer: Chad Brown owner: Klaravich Stables & William H. Lawrence)
Winner of both the Manhattan Stakes and the Arlington Million on turf, this son of Classic runner-up Giants Causeway has been a winning machine and if he can step up to the mark over this distance he’d be there or thereabouts, though he does have another option on the card.
Ghaiyyath (trainer: Charlie Appleby owner: Godolphin)
Charlie Appleby has tasted Breeders’ Cup success before of course and this horse is just reaching his peak now after winning in Germany. He’ll go to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe first, looking to become only the second horse to win there before taking this race, just one year after Enable achieved the feat.
Japan (trainer: Aidan O’Brien owner: Coolmore)
A top three-year-old whose resume includes a third in the Derby at Epsom as well as wins at Royal Ascot, the Grand Prix de Paris and a top renewal of the Juddmonte International at York. He is another who could be targeted at the Arc, but will be tough enough to tackle both races.
Magical (trainer: Aidan O’Brien owner: Coolmore)
Another from the powerful O’Brien yard and another by the world’s top sire Galileo; Magical almost made a career of chasing Enable home but is a fine filly in her own right and recently won the Irish Champion Stakes, her third Grade 1 success.
Sottsass (trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget owner: White Birch Farm)
Now France’s leading hope for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the French Derby winner is lightly raced and is certainly classy but he is likely to face a hard race at ParisLongchamp in October and so may not be in peak condition if arriving in California.
Once again the European runners could do well here as the race is run on turf, cup betting overseas becoming particularly competitive when this race is run. TVG Mile currently has 5 contenders.
Bricks And Mortar (trainer: Chad Brown owner: Klaravich Stables & William H. Lawrence)
A potential runner in the Turf, he is perhaps between distances with 1¼ miles his ideal, though he isn’t as good on the dirt meaning the Classic is probably out. It’ll be interesting to see where Chad Brown aims him.
Circus Maximus (trainer: Aidan O’Brien owner: Coolmore & Flaxman Stables)
Another Coolmore runner and another by Galileo. He wouldn’t be the barn’s leading light, but he has won two Grade 1 races this season including at Royal Ascot although he may find this particular mile a little on the sharp side.
Got Stormy (trainer: Mark Casse owner: Gary Barber & Southern Equine Partners)
Second in the Woodbine Mile, a good prep for this, Got Stormy has some more improving to do but her profile is indeed that of a filly getting better with age.
King Of Comedy (trainer: John Gosden owner: Lady Bamford)
Kingman has proven to be a revelation at stud and this offspring could yet be something special. Unlucky behind Circus Maximus at Ascot in June, he stepped up well at York when beaten only two lengths behind Japan over 1¼ miles in the Juddmonte so with a mile not seeming to be a problem and further improvement looking likely, he’d be a leading contender for sure.
Line Of Duty (trainer: Charlie Appleby owner: Godolphin)
Up to now it seems last year’s Juvenile Turf winner could be Godolphin’s main candidate for this race, but it’s also possible that Space Blues could be the one to step up.
Line Of Duty was beaten only a length by Circus Maximus in France last time out and really seems to come to himself at this time of year.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint
A six-furlong dash on the dirt, blink and you miss this one as the speed merchants take centre-stage with currently 3 contenders.
Imperial Hint (trainer: Luis Carvajal Jr owner: Raymond Mamone)
Although he was a disappointing favorite last year, he ran as well as could have been expected the year before in this race and this year the 6-year-old comes into the event in the form of his life. A wide-margin winner of the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap once again; assuming he has a good prep and doesn’t get a wide gate he must be considered a very likely winner.
Roy H (trainer: Peter Miller owner: Rockingham Ranch & David A. Bernsen)
A year older than his old rival at 7 and the winner of this race for the past two years, Roy H is once again favored by many looking to bet Breeders’ races and he is likely to take in a prep at Santa Anita once again, giving him somewhat of a home field advantage.
Shancelot (trainer: Jorge Navarro owner: Ivan Rodriguez, Albert Crawford & Michelle Crawford)
A lightly-raced up-and-comer, the Shanghai Bobby colt will need to bounce back from a humbling defeat in the H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga but he’s a welcome addition to the top table of sprinting.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
Now that this race is run at the minimum 5 furlongs it brings Europe’s quickest horse into the reckoning, but there will be plenty of competition from the home contingent too with the following contenders.
Battaash (trainer: Charlie Hills owner: Hamdan Al Maktoum)
29 years after Dayjur jumped shadows and threw away the Sprint, Sheikh Hamdan may now get a chance to finally make amends. Battaash has put in some simply lightning performances in Europe and would take a lot of beating over this distance, though his participation is far from guaranteed as he will go to Paris first for Arc weekend.
World Of Trouble (trainer: Jason Servis owner: Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables & Bethlehem Stables)
This young sprinter is the model of consistency, winning four in a row including two Grade 1’s. He was favored for the race last year and only lost out by a neck at the wire, so if the turf were to be firmer this time, we can expect a better performance.
Often the stepping stone to great things, this race will most likely produce the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby next May here are the top contenders.
Basin (trainer: Steve Asmussen owner: Jackpot Farm)
Already a Grade 1 winner having taken the Hopeful Stakes in good style at Saratoga, Basin is bound to improve further but has to prove this extra distance is to his liking.
Dennis’ Moment (trainer: Dale Romans owner: Albaugh Family Stable)
He’s two for two now and as a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, it seems this sort of test will suit him well.
Eight Rings (trainer: Bob Baffert owner: SF Racing & Madaket Stables)
Baffert knows exactly how to win these races, although this horse will be a little undercooked compared to the likes of Game Winner given that he unseated his rider on his second track start. He was sent off a heavy favorite for that race though, the Del Mar Futurity, and should improve for this distance being by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker.
Green Light Go (trainer: James Jerkens owner: Stronach Stables)
His sire Danzig was second in the Derby and tends to get top juveniles, so it’s no surprise that this colt won well on debut before following it up with a taking success in the Saratoga Special Stakes. He should get better for this step up in distance if breeding is anything to go by and that should put him at the top of the list for TVG Juvenile bets for a lot of people.
Keep it TVG for Your 2019 Breeders’ Cup Contenders and Bets
You can bet all fourteen championship races at Santa Anita right here at TVG, the Breeders’ Cup’s official wagering partner.
Check back with us regularly for all the latest contenders information and cup betting odds as well as to receive Breeders’ Cup betting advice from our top team of experts.