For horseplayers, the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships means world-class horses, big wide-open fields, great betting races, and loads of potential big wins and wagering value throughout the two most anticipated race cards of the year.
The 2019 Breeders’ Cup returns to Santa Anita for the 10th time for its 36th running, and will again be run over two days on Friday and Saturday, November 1-2 encompassing 14 races with nine featured races on Saturday plus the five juvenile races on Friday worth a combined total of $28 million in purses. The Breeders’ Cup culminates on Saturday with the running of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, with a local post time of 5:44 pm (8:44 Eastern Time).
As you would expect from horse racing’s championship days, Horse of the Year contenders will be in action on Breeders’ Cup weekend, led by the Chad Brown-trained Bricks and Mortar, who is expected to be favored in Saturday’s the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The big question with Bricks and Mortar will be his ability to stretch out to 1 ½ miles at this level. Good thing for him that this year’s Turf did not draw a particularly strong field by most accounts, and that should definitely help his chances.
Bricks and Mortar can more or less lock up the Horse of the Year Eclipse with a victory, but if he goes down to defeat there are a couple other horses entered on the card who could launch successful candidacies with impressive Breeders’ Cup victories, led by Midnight Bisou, who has racked up a perfect seven-for-seven record in 2019 and will be heavily favored to round-out an unbeaten season in the Distaff.
Not so Classic?
For the most part, the 2019 Breeders’ Cup card has come-up very strong, perhaps with a few exceptions. One could argue that this year’s is certainly not the strongest Breeders’ Cup Classic field ever assembled. The morning line favorite is Bob Baffert’s McKinzie, but he has lost more than he’s won lately.
Cases also could be made for several others, including 3-year-old Travers winner and DQ winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Code of Honor, as well as the horse that was taken down in the Gold Cup, Vino Rosso. Even the mare Elate will have a shot, based on her three-for-three career record at the 1 ¼-mile distance for trainer Bill Mott. Other contenders in the Classic, at least with outside shots, include Higher Power, and a slew of 3-year-olds such as Pennsylvania Derby upsetter Math Wizard and Preakness winner War of Will.
A win by Code of Honor, who counts a win in the Fountain of Youth and a second in the Kentucky Derby along with his Jockey Club Gold Cup and Travers victories, certainly would be enough to earn him the 3-year-old Eclipse Award and put him in the discussion for Horse of the Year, as well.
What’s wide open?
The 14 Breeders’ Cup races will mostly be wide-open affairs, especially the Mile, which has drawn a full field of 14 international stars. Some events, on the other hand, will be headlined by big favorites. Lower-priced favorites on the card will include the aforementioned Bricks and Mortar (9-5 in the turf) and Midnight Bisou (6-5 in the Distaff), and Sistercharlie (8-5 in the Filly & Mare Turf), speedy Covfefe (2-1 in the Filly & Mare Sprint), and Omaha Beach (8-5 to win the Dirt Mile).
In addition to the Classic, some of the other wide-open races of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup look like the Turf Sprint, as well as most of Friday’s Juvenile races, particularly the Juvenile Fillies, the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint has come up especially strong this year and is set to feature a showdown between the likes of Mitole, Imperial Hint, Shancelot, and Catalina Cruiser. The race took a bit of a hit unfortunately with the scratch of Landeskog, but could still turn out to be the race of the weekend.
One major change you will notice this year at Santa Anita will be in the turf sprint races, which will be run at five furlongs, as opposed to the on the downhill turf course at 6 ½ furlongs.
In addition to a great two days of racing and wagering, the Breeders’ Cup, as always, will be great fun for horseplayers and handicappers. The Breeders’ Cup is always a truly great time to be a racing fan. I hope you enjoy the 2019 Breeders’ Cup. I hope that your favorite horses all win, and that your picks are all winning ones. Best of luck!
(Breeders’ Cup photo by Horsephotos.com)