California Chrome LLC’s California Chrome and Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate are the top two morning line favorites in a field of 10 3-year-olds and up set for Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), the climax of the 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championship races to be run Friday and Saturday (Nov. 4-5) at Santa Anita.
The 1 ¼-mile Classic is the richest of 13 Championship races worth $28.5 million in purses and awards to be run over the two days at Santa Anita and will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The Classic will be broadcast live at 8:35 p.m. ET on NBC (8-9 p.m. ET).
The 169 horses entered includes six also-eligibles. Among the entries are eight winners from the 2015 event at Keeneland. Going for repeat wins in the same race are Tepin (Mile), Found (Ire) (Turf), Wavell Avenue (Filly & Mare Sprint) and Mongolian Saturday (Turf Sprint). The others are Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird (Distaff), Sprint winner Runhappy (Las Vegas Dirt Mile), Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Catch a Glimpse (Filly & Mare Turf) and Juvenile Turf winner Hit a Bomb (Mile).
Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome is undefeated in six starts this year and has pushed his career bankroll to more than $13.4 million. Third in the Classic at Santa Anita in 2014, California Chrome is the even-money morning line favorite and will break from post position four under Victor Espinoza.
“I’d rather be outside, but ‘4′ will be good,” said Espinoza. “As long as California Chrome is ready, I should be able to move out of there quick.”
Second on the morning line at 5-2 is the Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate.
A winner of his past four starts, Arrogate exploded onto the national racing scene with a 13 ½-length victory in the Travers (G1) in his most recent start August 27. Mike Smith will be aboard the lone 3-year-old in the race and break from post position 10.
Baffert, who won last year’s Classic with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and the 2014 Classic with Bayern, will have a second starter in the race in Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s Hoppertunity. Winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his most recent starter and earner of more than $3.5 million, Hoppertunity will break from post position nine and be ridden by John Velazquez. Hoppertunity is 15-1 on the morning line.
“I never like any draw until after I win,” said Baffert. “But it’s all right. A lot will depend on the break (for Arrogate especially). But it’s a long run to the turn and it’ll get sorted out. At least we’re not in the No. 1 where if they don’t break someone will shut them off. I didn’t want to be in the No.1 hole with all those horses on top of you. But it’s all up to Mike Smith and John Velazquez.”
Here is the full field (with morning-line odds) for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic:
- Effinex – 15-1
- Frosted – 5-1
- Keen Ice – 20-1
- California Chrome – 1-1
- Win The Space – 30-1
- Melatonin – 12-1
- War Story – 30-1
- Shaman Ghost – 20-1
- Hoppertunity – 15-1
- Arrogate – 5-2
Four Championship races will be run Friday, highlighted by the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles and featuring champions Beholder, Songbird and Stellar Wind in a field of eight.
The three marquee names in Friday’s Distaff have a combined record of 47-35-8-1 for earnings of more than $9.7 million. The trio is a combined 25-22-3-0 at Santa Anita.
Favored at 6-5 is Fox Hill Farms’ undefeated Songbird, winner of 11 straight including last year’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as one of her seven Grade 1 triumphs, will be facing older fillies and mares for the first time in her career.
The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee will break from post position one and be ridden by Mike Smith, who leads all jockeys with 22 Breeders’ Cup victories.
“She just jumps away from the gate so quickly, that drawing the rail really should have no effect on her.,” said Smith. “I think she’s the natural speed in the race to start with. It’s pretty straight forward.”
Spendthrift Farm‘s Beholder, a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner with triumphs at Santa Anita in the 2012 Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Distaff, has been second in her past three starts. She was runner-up to Classic favorite California Chrome in the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar and twice to Stellar Wind in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar and in the Zenyatta (G1) at Santa Anita five weeks ago.
Beholder, the co-second choice at 5-2 is trained by Richard Mandella and will be ridden by Gary Stevens and break from post position eight.
“With Beholder, it’s nice to get off the rail,” said trainer Richard Mandella, “but I am a bigger believer in good luck and a good post; so we are hoping for good luck.”
Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind, second in the Distaff last year at Keeneland to Stopchargingmaria, is trained by John Sadler. Listed at 5-2 on the morning line, Stellar Wind will be ridden by Victor Espinoza and break from post position five.
“Stellar Wind, she’s doing great and the post position is great,” Espinoza said. “I really like my chances. (Is it a disadvantage for undefeated Songbird in Post Position No. 1?) Yes and no. I like it because I want to win, but sometimes it doesn’t matter the post position if the horse is so good on the day of the race.”
Here is the full field (with morning-line odds) for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff:
- Songbird – 6-5
- Land Over Sea – 30-1
- Curalina – 12-1
- Corona Del Inca – 30-1
- Stellar Wind – 5-2
- Forever Unbridled – 12-1
- I’m A Chatterbox – 12-1
- Beholder – 5-2
**Beholder’s morning line odds were incorrectly announced by Laffit Pincay as 5-1, should have been 5-2.**
Virginia residents can bet all the “Cup” races through TVG.com, XPressBet.com and TwinSpires.com. Central Virginia fans can also bet at the new Off Track Betting Center in Richmond at Breakers Sports Grille at 9127 W. Broad St. in the TJ Maxx Shopping Center.