Breeders Cup Classic Horse Racing Longshot Picks
Breeders Cup Classic – Odds To Win
While the menu of summer and fall prep races will yield more clues about the BC Classic, there’s little questioning Arrogate’s talent or the four year-old’s impeccable resume. Arrogate has won 7 of his first 8 starts, with the only blemis a close defeat in his career debut.
Since then, the Bob Baffert trainee has gone on to record the fastest Travers Stakes in the event’s illustrious history, a 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic victory and a pair of wins in the world’s richest dirt races – the inaugural Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup.
The grey freak is explosively fast, versatile and flat-out good. Barring a major upset in one of his scheduled starts before the BC Classic – the San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic – Arrogate will surely be the shortest-priced favorite in the event’s history. But this is the sport where Upset beat Man o’ War and Angle Light beat Secretariat, so shopping for a price may not be so absurd.
|Irishi War Cry||25/1|
|Send It In||33/1|
Despite his status as the solid second choice in the early Breeders Cup Classic futures, Gun Runner is surely the forgotten horse. A special talent in his own right, there’s probably less separating Gun Runner and Arrogate than the odds indicate.
Gun Runner appeared to have the Dubai World Cup won after Arrogate’s extremely poor start, only to be overhauled by the Big A in the final furlong, further cementing the champ’s legacy. Gun Runner, came back to win the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs with breathtaking ease and appears to be the only horse in training capable of stopping the A-train’s considerable momentum. Trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Winchell Thoroughbreds have expressed a quiet confidence in their charge and seem intent to spoil Arrogate’s Breeders’ Cup repeat.
As with most BC Classic fields, the rest of the group is well-credentialed and merits plenty of respect. It will be interesting to see how Always Dreaming comes back for his late-summer/early-fall campaign after winning the Kentucky Derby impressively and fading badly in the Preakness Stakes.
The Todd Pletcher-trained colt has massive potential and is lightly-raced enough to improve significantly before the BC Classic a’ la Arrogate 2016. Of the other three year-old contenders, Preakness victor Cloud Computing and runner-up Classic Empire are worth following as the late-summer classics like the Haskell and Travers unfold.
Shaman Ghost always shows up with a credible race and has won his share of big ones in a hard-knocking and successful career. Despite running second to Keen Ice in the Suburban, Shaman Ghost is the better animal and might be a huge price on race day. Keen Ice once slayed American Pharoah, but he only wins once in a blue moon and seems to need the perfect set-up and/or a racetrack he adores to show up with an effort to be taken seriously. 50/1 might be worth a shot as a future wager on Keen Ice, but we’d prefer to see something even more generous.
Breeders’ Cup Classic 2017 Betting
Upsets – even substantial upsets – have happened in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but usually in years where the favorites appeared to be vulnerable. Of the very short-priced favorites in recent years, Bernardini was beaten at even-money in 2006 by the elder and more battled-tested Invasor and California Chrome was upended at 4/5 in 2016 by none other than Arrogate. Should Arrogate win the San Diego Handicap July 22 and Pacific Classic, he will be the heaviest favorite in BC Classic history, which of course, could set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the race’s history.
Predicting an upset with any kind of logic requires the horse player to envision a scenario where the favorite is compromised or otherwise inconvenienced. One such scenario could unfold if both Gun Runner and Arrogate are forwardly-placed in the early stages of the race and force one another into fractions too tiring for the 10 furlong race.
While neither horse has been overly headstrong or needs the lead, both have won major races in gate-to-wire fashion. On occasion, even good riders get too aggressive, make mistakes, and miscalculate the talents of other horses in the field. Shaman Ghost, Keen Ice, Tapwrit, Cloud Computing, Classic Empire and Always Dreaming have all proven capable of winning at the highest level, but their best races are all well below the best of the top two contenders.
Given that anyone not named Arrogate would be considered an upset in the 2017 field, Gun Runner is our pick to make it happen, particularly if the pace is slower and the four year-old son of Candy Ride can make a soft lead with Arrogate left several lengths to make up. While picking a bombs-away upsetter may be an unlikely proposition in 2017, the prices should be right for those willing to take a swing against Arrogate.
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