The marquee race on Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup is the $6 million dollar Breeders’ Cup Classic on NBC. This year’s race features McKinzie for trainer Bob Baffert who will start from post No. 8. The Breeders’ Cup Classic will have a field of 11 horses and there are a number of challengers who could give McKinzie a real test. Let’s look at the field and Breeders’ Cup picks.
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- McKinzie +345
- Code of Honor +425
- Vino Rosso +605
- Elate +728
- Yoshida +828
- Higher Power +1020
- Owendale +1626
- Mongolian Groom +1626
- War of Will +2271
- Seeking the Soul +2577
- Math Wizard +3088
Breeders’ Cup Favorite
The post time favorite on Saturday is likely to be McKinzie for trainer Bob Baffert. The horse will have a new jockey, as Joel Rosario replaces Mike Smith. “He's a little tricky horse to ride,” Baffert said to the media, “I know how he's got to be ridden, and we'll see what happens. I'll be sitting down with Joel. But he's ridden against him. He's beaten him (on Gift Box). These guys, they're so good. They see the videos.”
Baffert said that he just wants a good trip for McKinzie. “… I just want the horse to show up. If he shows up and gets outrun, he gets outrun. But you know what? I want the horse to get beat (running) his style. There's a lot on the line. There are championships on the line. Horse of the Year on the line. That's the beauty of the Breeders' Cup. They give out a lot of championships this weekend. I just hope some of mine are the list.”
Baffert said to the media that McKinzie is one of the best horses he has ever trained, but that the horse has to prove it. "I think he's one of the top 10 horses I've trained, but he's going to have to prove it—no excuses. We'll see what he's made of."
McKinzie has won twice this year and finished second in four other starts. Baffert will be looking to win the Classic for the fourth time, as he won it from 2014-2016.
Code of Honor and Vino Rosso are the co-second choices on the morning line at odds of 4-1, while Elate is the co-third choice at 6-1 along with Higher Power. Elate will be taking on the males for the first time. Yoshida is listed at odds of 8-1 on the morning line and he will get Mike Smith in the irons.
Code of Honor has won three straight for trainer Shug McGaughey, but it will be a different set of circumstances for Code of Honor who is coming from the East Coast. "I've been impressed with the way he's come out of his races, especially the Travers, and then the Gold Cup," McGaughey said to the media, "A lot of times, going from East to West on the dirt hasn't worked out, but this horse seems to adapt pretty well, so we'll have to see. It is a little bit of a different ballgame."
Vino Rosso won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May and he is worth a look as is Higher Power for trainer John Sadler who won this race last year with Accelerate.
There are five horses that will likely go off at odds of higher than 15-1 and none of them are appealing. This year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic simply doesn’t look like one that will go to a longshot, but if I had to choose one it would be Seeking the Soul.
I think this race is McKinzie’s to lose and he should get the win. I don’t like Code of Honor and I don’t like Elevate, so if I was going to play an exacta box it would be McKinzie and Vino Rosso.