Welcome to Stabile’s Breeders’ Cup Preview, an in depth look into each and every Breeders’ Cup race to be held Friday, November 6 and Saturday November 7 at Keeneland in Lexington Kentucky.
VegasInsider.com handicapper Anthony “the Big A” Stabile will take a look at the contenders in each event, talk about how the race should set-up and provide some strategies on how to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to betting on the race.
Breeders' Cup Classic Morning-Line Odds
BC Classic Odds - Contenders
Field Subject to Change
You knew this race was aptly named after the stretch run of the inaugural running when eventual winner Wild Again played bumper cars along with Slew o’ Gold and Gate Dancer. Ferdinand won the battle of the Kentucky Derby winners over Alysheba in 1987 before Alysheba claimed his own classic victory the following year.
In the final chapter of their brief, yet intense rivalry, Sunday Silence held off the desperate surge of Easy Goer to win in 1989. Jerry Bailey won three in a row, starting in 1993 with Arcangues, the longest priced winner in Breeders’ Cup history and ending with the great Cigar in 1995 who capped a perfect 10-for-10 season with a fantastic score. Awesome Again split rivals in deep stretch to win a wild one in 1998 over Silver Charm and Swain.
Tiznow gutted out two of the greatest wins over a pair of tough Europeans, Giant’s Causeway and Sakhee, in 2000 and 2001 respectively, making his trainer Jay Robbins and the great Charlie Whittingham the only two-time winners of the race.
Breeders' Cup Classic Fast Facts
Volponi blew up the tote board, then the Pick 6 scandal, in 2002 with his win at 43-1. Ghostzapper set the stakes record with a gate-to-wire, tour de force victory in 2004. Curlin capped his Horse of the Year campaign in 2007 with a win before finishing fourth the following year on the synthetic surface at Santa Anita.
The great Zenyatta kept the undefeated dream alive with a remarkable last-to-first run in 2009 before falling a head short of Blame in the 2010 renewal and finishing her career with 19 wins from 20 starts. In 2014, Bayern made a left turn coming out of the gate before going gate-to-wire, holding off Toast of New York and California Chrome in another whale of a photo.
In 2015, American Pharoah capped off a historic, legendary season by winning the Triple Crown in the spring and Classic in the fall with a brilliant, gate-to-wire score. Arrogate gave his trainer Bob Baffert a record three in a row when he ran past California Chrome in the final strides.
It’s the Classic indeed!!!!
2020 Breeders' Cup Classic Betting Resources
How to Handicap the Breeders' Cup Classic
8-Improbable is the 5-2 morning line favorite and leads a three-pronged attack for trainer Bob Baffert who is looking to add to his record three wins in this event.
Improbable, the favorite in the G1 Kentucky Derby in 2019, was considered a bit of an underachiever until this year after wrapping up his sophomore campaign with a dull fifth place finish in the B.C. Dirt Mile.
This year, after just missing in the Oaklawn Mile from an impossible outside post, Improbable has rattled off three straight wins in the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita at this distance, G1 Whitney at Saratoga and G1 Awesome Again most recently back at the Great Race Place.
Few horses have been surrounded by more controversy in their careers than 10-Maximum Security. The only horse to ever be disqualified from the win in the G1 Kentucky Derby on the day, it’s only gotten crazier from there.
Now trained by Baffert, a move necessitated by former trainer Jason Service being indicted for allegedly using performance enhancing drugs, Maximum Security gutted out a victory in the inaugural Saudi Cup to start the year but his connections still haven’t been paid as an investigation is ongoing.
In his three starts for Baffert, Maximum Security won the G2 San Diego by a nose after a terrible ride, the G1 Pacific Classic against four, overmatched rivals in gate-to-wire fashion that got caught between horses throughout the Awesome Again where he settled for second as the 1-2 favorite.
2-Tiz the Law has won all of his starts not contested at Churchill Downs. Unfortunately for him and has connections, including trainer Barclay Tagg, that’s where they run the Kentucky Derby.
Prior to his second-place finish on the first Saturday of September when he was last seen, Tiz the Law on three consecutive G1 races, the Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes, run as the first leg of the Triple Crown at a shortened nine furlongs and Travers at Saratoga going this distance. He should benefit from an assumed solid early pace.
4-Tom’s d’Etat had his four-race win streak, one that started in the G2 Fayette over a sloppy track in his only start at Keeneland a year ago, end as soon as the gates opened for the Whitney when he stumbled at the start and spotted his rivals a handful of lengths. Trained by Al Stall, Jr., who won this 10 years ago when Blame handed Zenyatta the only loss of her career, this guy won the G2 Stephen Foster in record time by over four lengths two back and will be making his first start in over three months.
The third Baffert trainee is 9-Authentic. He’s won five of his seven starts, including the Derby over Tiz the Law and finished second in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and G1 Preakness behind super-filly Swiss Skydiver in his other two starts. He’s never been more than a half-length off the early lead and figures to be a pace player, if not the speed, in here.
3-By My Standards has finished off the board just once in a dozen starts, the 2019 Derby run over a sloppy track. Trained by Bret Calhoun, he’s won four of six starts this year, including the G2 New Orleans at Fair Grounds, G2 Oaklawn Handicap and G2 Alysheba at Churchill two months prior to this. Before the Alysheba, he was a distant second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Foster and two lengths behind Improbable in the Whitney.
7-Global Campaign has won six of nine starts over his near two-year career for trainer Stan Hough and nailed down his biggest score when last seen on closing weekend at Saratoga when he took the G1 Woodward at this distance on the front end.
1-Tacitus started the season with a fifth-place finish in the Saudi Cup then was a disappointing fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap before toying with five rivals in the G2 Suburban at Belmont going this distance on Independence Day. He followed that win with a pair of second place finishes as the 3-5 favorite in both the Woodward and G1 Jockey Club Goldcup most recently for trainer Bill Mott.
6-Higher Power is winless in six starts since taking the 2019 Pacific Classic, his lone G1 tally. Third in this last year, the John Sadler trainee finished a long way behind Improbable when second in the Gold Cup and behind Maximum Security when third in the San Diego and fourth in this year’s Pacific Classic.
5-Title Ready is seeking his first stakes win of any kind in his fourth start since Dallas Stewart took over his training. He’s hit the board in all four starts over the course, including a couple of allowance wins, one in July and could use a fast pace for his closing kick.
Breeders' Cup Classic Predictions
If I’m Right…
Improbable will go off favorite, is the most dressed up horse in all of the 14 BC events and is a great horse to bet against.
Oh, 1-Tacitus. One of these days you’re going to win a big one. Maybe it’s this. He’s 20-1 on the morning line.
Listen to "The Big A"
Anthony “the Big A” Stabile can be heard regularly on the Horse Racing Radio Network from 3-6:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday and 3-7:00 p.m. ET Thursday and Friday. Tune in on Sirius 219, XM 201 or streaming live at horseracingradio.net. He also is a contributor on NYRA-TV as the co-host of Talking Horses and a backup racetrack announcer. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigAStabile