Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, a $6 million race, is the main event for the upcoming World Championships at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, on November 5-6. It ranks among the most important races on the global racing calendar since its foundation in 1984.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know who has the most chances of winning the race?
It is the anchor to the World Championships, where the world’s best horses compete. In the last 20 years, the Classic has featured some dominating performances by favorites, and five winners made at least $20 for a $2 win bet.
So, it’s something that every wager looks forward to in hope of winning big, as the payout can sometimes be staggering. Some tips or trends are proven by statistics to consider before picking your choice.
Importance of consistency
- Taking a look at the list of contenders for the 2021 Classic, the one thing you do not want to see is a series of ups and downs. Based on the last 20 years of this race, there is one thing to learn; the winner is usually a proven elite racehorse, fast and consistent.
- In the last 20 races, 12 won their final prep races, including Vino Rosso, who crossed the finish line first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup but was disqualified and placed second. Out of these, ten were Grade 1 wins (11 including Vino Rosso).
- Moreover, 18 out of the last 20 Classic winners finished in the top three in their final preparation.
- Eighteen of the previous 20 Classic winners had won their Grade 1 races, while the other two – 43.50-1 winner Volponi (2002) and 14.20-1 winner Pleasantly Perfect (2003) – won Grade 2 races.
- The last 20 Breeders’ Cup winners, who started from the June of the Classic victory until the final prep, have won 36 times out of 62, making it a 58% win percentage. Also, 59 out of 62 finished in the top three with combined starts, making it a 95% win percentage.
Odds at the Breeder’s Cup
The Classic has been won by favorites only five times in the last 20 editions, indicating that impeccable credentials are crucial leading into this race. There is still a possibility of an upset, but the previous nine winners have all come at single-digit odds with $11.20 on a $2 bet for the highest-priced winner in the last six years (Vino Rosso in 2019).
Twelve of the last 20 Breeders’ Cup Classic winners have won with odds of 5.2-1 or less, while 15 of the previous 20 have won with odds of 7-1 or less. Sixty percent of the time, a $2 win bet paid $12.40 or less for the winner from 2001 to 2020; on the other hand, 75% of the time, the winner got $16 or less.
In recent history, longshot seekers have had little luck as the last eight winners hit at odds of 6.10-1 or less, and seven of the eight went to one of the top three picks.
Keep a close eye on breeder’s cup live odds as there can be rapid changes.
Top contenders to win the cup
- Knicks Go is probably the favorite, having gone unbeaten in around two turns races this year, creating a winning streak of three races into the Classic while proving his capability by winning the Grade 1 race.
- Even if Knicks Go does not start as the favorite, Essential Quality would undoubtedly be the choice of the betting public. With eight career wins, he was a champion of two out of nine career starts. Only one defeat occurred in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished fourth, but after that, he won the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, Jim Dandy Stakes, and Runhappy Travers Stakes. His Equibase Speed Figures in his last five races have been 109-109-109-107-109, but there is one concern: is he fast enough? Based on Equibase Speed Figures, he would have to improve, which is possible for a 3-year-old in its fall season.
- Similarly, Hot Rod Charlie has been consistently good this year. Three out of six times he’s crossed the finish line at 1st with one 2nd and two 3rds. Even though he was disqualified from the TVG.com Haskell Stakes for interference, Hot Rod Charlie’s effort was outstanding in that race. In his final preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he won the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby by 1 1/4 length, resulting in an eye-catching Equibase Speed Figure of 120. He is in great form and is as fast as he needs to be to win. He is versatile enough to run well on or off the pace and appears to be a serious contender to win.
- This year’s Derby winner, Medina Spirit, has demonstrated excellent performance against the elite competition, winning four out of eight starts and never finishing below third. He has won 2-for-2 since June and will be entering the race as a dominant. He had a five-length win against older males in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, where he tied his career-best Equibase Speed Figure.
- Next in the line is Art Collector. His maturity was seen as a 3-year-old this summer and fall, as he won the Alydar Stakes, Grade 1 Woodward Stakes, and Grade 2 Charles Town Classic in his last three races, all by 1 1/2 lengths. His last three races have shown Equibase Speed Figures of 110-115-120, which is fast enough to win.
- Lastly, Max Player would be a $20 winner if you are looking for a potential upset candidate. In his last two starts, he won the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes and Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, both at 1 1/4 miles. With 113 Equibase Speed Figures for these two wins, he is competitive, and he should be around 10-1 to 12-1 odds, which is a good value.
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