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Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders – 2019

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Purse: $6,000,000
Grade: 1
Distance: 1 1/4 Miles
Age: 3+
Current Contenders: McKinzie, Thunder Snow, Catholic Boy, Vino Rosso, Seeking the Soul, Gift Box, Omaha Beach, Gunnevera, Maximum Security, Catalina Cruiser

PP Horse Trainer Odds/Bet
1 McKinzie Baffert BET
Swapped top two positions on tote board through last five outings with Smith. In the ’18 Classic, he faced older for first time and was stomped. This time the shoe is on the other hoof and a new rider will be in the irons. Horse for the course will be the pacesetter and the one to beat.
2 Code of Honor McGaughey BET
Not a big fan of this guy after the JCGC where our top pick with DQ’d that day. But holding a grudge doesn’t play very well when gambling. Won the ’19 FOY and a strong record of success on NYRA circuit. Will face a few more older runners than LTO but this Classic isn’t strong on talent.
3 Elate Mott BET
’17 Distaff favorite as a 3YO, she was no match for top three. Skipped ’18 Cup racing only twice that year. She’s returned older, wiser, stronger at 5 for the ’19 Cup and will probably opt for the Distaff over the Classic. Last two as runner up and has never faced open company. Would be a mistake to send her out in the Classic.
4 Math Wizard Saffie BET
After a boxcar winning performance in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby LTO to notch his third lifetime victory, he’ll be asked to kick it up a notch. Was a $16K claimer before going the graded route. Remarkable turnaround but this will be a very tall order.
5 Yoshida Mott BET
Deep closer has done his best work when Rosario was up. Won’t have that variable for this one as Rosario will ride McKinzie. Was fourth at CD in the ’18 Classic and is 0 for 2 at the distance.
6 Mongolian Groom Baffert BET
Like Math Wizard, this guy’s story is similar. Took his second Santa Anita victory lap LTO at long odds in the G1 Awesome Again going wire to wire with relative newcomer connections, Ganbat and Cedillo. And embarrassing McKinzie and Baffert. Don’t expect an easy lead this time around the SA oval and he’s 0 for 3 at the distance.
7 Omaha Beach Mandella BET
This is where Smith will land after getting the boot from Baffert. Derby fever set in early in ’19 after winning a 7F by 9 and taking the Rebel over ’18 BC Juvenile victor, Game Winner. Forced out of the Derby as the favorite due to breathing problems. Seeks his fifth in a row after returning from surgery with a win here on October 5. Could it be that Baffert switched riders to save face because Smith was going to land here anyway. Working good to take them all the way home.
8 Higher Power Sadler BET
Sadler, who has one win to date in Cup races winning the ’18 Classic with Accelerator, took over training of this guy in may and has managed to grind out a G1 in the Pacific Classic two back. However, glaring stat is 0 for 2 at Santa Anita on dirt.
9 Vino Rosso Pletcher BET
Still feeling hungover from the DQ in the Gold Cup LTO. But we’ll sleep it off before the Classic and be ready to fire at ’em again. Change of equipment was the kicker and expect same front-running strategy. Only this time there’s more speed. Still like his chances to avenge at a nice price.
10 Owendale Cox BET
Winner of the Oklahoma Derby in his last start, G3 has been his highest achievement, thrice winning at that level. But failing to rise above the likes of others in here including War of Will who has not been able to build on his early accomplishment in the Preakness. If performance patterns are in play, he’s due for a less than winning one in his next start — having won every other time in his last seven dating back to January ’19 at Fair Grounds.
11 Seeking the Soul Stewart BET
At 6, he’s the senior statesman from Kentucky and has the highest earnings at $3 million plus. Multiple graded stakes winner at Churchill but hasn’t won away from the Blue Grass state throughout much of his career. Soundly beaten in his last start here by the Mongolian Groom so don’t expect much this time around.
12 War of Will Casse BET
Starting to feel sorry for this guy as he’s gone east and now west to face what has become obviously better talent than his Preakness counterparts. Can’t see him turning the tables in here.
*NOTE: Free Past Performances for the Race of the Day provided at | BRIS Trainer PPs publicly available from