- The Breeders Cup will be run November 2nd-to-3rd at Churchill Downs
- Can heavy favorite Accelerate continue a dominant 2018?
- Is there more value in betting on Accelerate, or looking elsewhere for a price?
With four wins in five races this year, Accelerate will leave California for just the second time in his career to race against the best in the world at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Louisville, Kentucky on November 3rd.
Though the Breeders Cup traditionally attracts among the best fields of the year, with Triple Crown winner Justify retired the race may have lost some luster for novice fans. That said, it is a compelling group of likely entrants, with some interesting prices to consider. Let’s look at the likely contenders with their odds.
Breeders’ Cup Classic Betting Odds
Does Accelerate Deserve To Be The Favorite?
After smashing Del Mar’s Pacific Classic field by more than 12 lengths in August, the competition for Accelerate picks up at venerable Churchill Downs.
Though he was a huge favorite when winning the Pacific Classic, that was not the case in May’s Santa Anita Handicap. Accelerate was forced four wide on the final turn after getting shuffled back at the start, and at a shade under 2/1 as the second choice he won easily.
Recent history suggests favorites have a good chance at the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gun Runner, Arrogate, and American Pharoah have won the last three runnings at low prices. However, the last time the Classic was run at Churchill Downs 15/1 Drosselmeyer triumphed in 2011. The year before, beneath the Twin Spires, heavily favored Zenyatta was beaten by a head by 5/1 Blame.
The only time Accelerate left California he lost by a neck to City of Light at Oaklawn Park’s Oaklawn Handicap in April.
While Accelerate is a deserving favorite, his lack of experience outside of California, and against stronger competition is concerning. A price of 3/1 is reasonable, but not overly enticing to wager on more than six weeks before the race. That and the fact that Accelerate’s trainer John Sadler is O/41 in Breeders’ Cup Races suggests there is more intrigue with other options.
Which Horse Offers the Best Value?
It is impossible not to be incredibly impressed by Catalina Cruiser’s dominating form and three for three mark. However, he is also trained by Sadler, and likely will not run against stablemate Accelerate.
New York bred gelding Diversify is having an incredible year with back-to-back wins in the Suburban Stakes at Belmont Park and Whitney Stakes at Saratoga. While Richard Violette is a capable conditioner, he is not viewed as among the sports best.
While trainer Chad Brown dominated the classy Saratoga meet, Good Magic, winner of the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and runner up to Justify at the Kentucky Derby, ran poorly in The Travers. If healthy, he should give a good effort though he has never raced against older horses.
The credentials of Bob Baffert, who has trained the only two Triple Crown winners of he modern era, is unquestioned. He is preparing West Coast, Collected, and McKinzie. West Coast is as classy as they get, but has not raced since March. Collected finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year, but has not been good in two starts in 2018. McKinzie was an early Kentucky Derby favorite this year, but got hurt.
Two horses who have had their most success in Dubai, Thunder Snow who has had a successful international career but bombed in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, and Mendelssohn, who was last in this years Derby but ran well in August’s Travers Stakes, could be wildcards.
Catholic Boy beat Mendelssohn in the Travers, but this could be his first race against older horses. He ran twice on turf before switching to dirt at Saratoga.
How to bet Breeders’ Cup Classic Futures
In the end, big races are usually won by top connections. Good Magic and West Coast both offer value, class, and race for barns who have been there and done that.