2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic
So you want to watch the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday but you have no idea who’s running. Not to worry! Here’s a thumbnail of the field in order of post position with morning line odds.
Be sure to check out our 2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Cheat Sheet and come back Friday and Saturday for our Breeders’ Cup picks!
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1. Prayer for Relief (30-1) – This 6-year-old has put in some game efforts in 33 starts, and his third in the Grade 1 Woodward last out was one of them. You have to go back to 2011 to find a string of winning performances but with his running style and a little racing luck, he could hit the board again.
2. Cigar Street (12-1) – The only knock on this year’s wise-guy horse is that he’s been hampered with a variety of issues that kept him from making more than three starts in a row. His record of five wins and one second in six starts underscores that trainer Bill Mott is one of the most patient trainers around. He’s got the right running style for the field and track and at the very least should be your exotics.
3. Imperative (30-1) – The upset winner of the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic has yet to follow up that performance with anything that indicates that it wasn’t a fluke. While there are other more likely beneficiaries of a pace meltdown, he does get the services of flashy international jock Frankie Dettori.
4. Moreno (20-1) – The Grade 1 Whitney winner and likely pacesetter has yet to win at Santa Anita, finishing 2nd three times in six starts. Last out at Belmont, he caused a traffic fracas in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup that resulted in a DQ to 9th place and injury to jockey Rajiv Maragh, who was on the horse Moreno interfered with. Given his post and how the track generally plays it’s not inconceivable that he could hold for a piece of the action.
5. V.E. Day (20-1) – Like several others in the field, the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup traffic melee had an impact on his performance, although it’s hard to say if he would have won without it. The real story is that the upset winner of the Grade 1 Travers is at a disadvantage as a come-from-the-clouds closer on a track that tends to favor frontrunning speed horses.
6. Shared Belief (9-5) – Fourth – The undefeated morning line favorite will try to become the first favored 3-year-old to win the Classic since A.P. Indy in 1992. With Moreno and Bayern in the field he should get a decent pace to stalk. He proved his mettle last out as he was floated wide the entire race and still came on strong to win the Grade 1 Awesome Again. If he brings his “A” game and stays out of traffic trouble, he’s got a great shot to stay undefeated.
7. Bayern (6-1) – Winner – An uncontested lead has been this 3-year-old’s usual path to victory, as was the case in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and Grade 1 Haskell. With the presence of the speedy Moreno to his inside, he’s unlikely to have things his own way. On the plus side, Santa Anita does tend to favor front runners, so if Moreno breaks poorly, he could get his preferred set-up. He’s also made a favorable impression in the mornings.
8. Zivo (15-1) – The Grade 2 Suburban winner encountered some unfortunate traffic trouble last out in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup but still managed to finish second, less than 2 lengths behind the winner, Tonalist. While he’s likely to be a decent price, his running style is not necessarily conducive to produce an upset at Santa Anita. That said he’s worth consideration for your exotics.
9. Toast of New York (12-1) – Place (2nd) – Too bad for him that he’s five years too late to take advantage of his preferred surface, synthetics. The Group 2 UAE Derby winner ran a respectable 2nd to favorite Shared Belief last out in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. He’s a wildcard given that this is first start on dirt, but if he takes to it he could certainly hit the board.
10. Footbridge (30-1) – While he has yet to win a stakes race, this well-bred, well-connected entrant has run out of the money (worse than third) only once in eight races at Santa Anita. He should be able to sit close enough to the pace to make a run, but even with the advantage of a ground saving trip in the Awesome Again he was no match for Shared Belief.
11. Tonalist (5-1) – The Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner could get a great pace set-up, but to make the most of it at Santa Anita, he’ll need to sit a little closer than normal, which seems unlikely given his post and lack of tactical speed. On the bright side, he does seem to be coming into the race in good order.
12. Candy Boy (20-1) – His only real clunker thus far has been the Kentucky Derby where he encountered terrible traffic trouble and finished 13th. He’s worth consideration for exotics given that he’s never been out of the money (worse than third) at Santa Anita and that his worktab suggests that he’s coming into the race in great form. He might even have an upset shot with a little bit of racing luck.
13. California Chrome (5-1) – Show (3rd) – The Derby and Preakness winner is back on his home turf with plenty of speed to stalk. He’s been making a favorable impression in the morning and by all accounts seems ready to give it one last shot to prove that his best is not behind him. His post position isn’t actually horrible considering that he has tactical speed and prefers to run on the outside. He’s definitely got a shot.
14. Majestic Harbor (20-1) – The upset winner of the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita romped by 6+ lengths, albeit against softer competition. Last out he was no factor in the Grade 1 Awesome Again, finishing a non-threatening 4th behind Shared Belief. He comes into the race with a solid set of works but the post isn’t going to do him any favors.