Breeders’ Cup Classic
Breeders’ Cup Classic Picks 2016
On paper, the $6 million dollar Breeders’ Cup Classic comes down to an intriguing matchup between the battle-tested chamnpion California Chrome (1/1) and the upstart three year-old Arrrogate (5/2). Essentially, if either runner produces a repeat of their last race, the rest of the field is likely running for a minor award. California Chrome is the proven commodity with a Hall of Fame resume that includes wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Dubai World Cup. The Art Sherman trainee has amassed over $13 million in career earnings and has gotten better with age. As a five year-old, California Chrome is a perfect 6 for 6 and has continued his dominance over the Santa Anita dirt where he won the Grade 1 Awesome Again with ease in his last start. Chrome is also at his best covering the mile and one quarter distance of the Classic with 5 wins in 7 career tries. His last three Beyer Speed Figures of 111, 113 and 112 are easily better than anything the field has posted with the exception of Arrogate who recorded a freakish 122 last out winning the Grade 1 Travers Stakes against three year-olds. If the speedy Arrogate can reproduce that front-running effort, even California Chrome will have to come up with a career best effort.
- 1st: (#4) California Chrome
- 2nd: (#10) Arrogate
- 3rd: (#9) Hoppertunity
- 4th: (#8) Shaman Ghost
A closer look at the contenders
Arrogate will be making just his sixth career start and his now won four consecutive races. Trainer Bob Baffert is one of the game’s best and has won the last two Breeders’ Cup Classics with Bayern in 2014 and American Pharoah in 2015. Arrogate, son of Unbridled’s Song did someting rare and special setting a track record at Saratoga for a mile and a quarter, but hasn’t raced since August 27 and will have to prove he’s capable of another top performance. The three yeear-old may not have to be quite as good as he was in the Travers, but will have to be close in order to knock off California Chrome. If Arrogate is able to clear Melatonin 12/1 and the other speed horses from post ten, California Chrome could be forced to work harder early on from his customary stalking position. A scenario can be envisioned with those two sprinting clear of the field around the final turn with the champ engaging the three year-old and the later runners beginning to move.
Look to closers for longshots
With the anticipation of a hot early pace, stretch runners may make excellent additions to trifecta and superfeca wagers. Arrogate’s stablemate Hoppertunity (15/1) won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in his last start and should be coming late with his best effort. Shaman Ghost (20/1) also has some late punch and was victorious in the Grade 1 Woodward September 3. Frosted (5/1) may be the forgotten horse in this race, but the big gray has left some question as to whether he’s at his best going two turns and a mile and a quarter.
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