2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Replay
Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup
So you want to watch the 2015 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.
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Update 10/31: Smooth Roller & Beholder scratched
1. Tonalist (4-1) – Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner comes into the Classic the same way he did last year—with an eye-catching win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. It’s worth remembering that the majority of his top-notch efforts have come at Belmont. He could get a great set-up if stays mid-pack, especially considering the likelihood of a moderate pace, but he’ll have to channel his Belmont efforts if he wants a better outcome than last year’s off the board finish.
2. Keen Ice (8-1) – FORTH – He stormed down the stretch last out to beat American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Travers, thanks in no small part to Frosted, who pushed Pharoah for the majority of the race. This son of 2007 Classic winner Curlin is on the improve by all accounts and has made a great impression training in the mornings. He doesn’t have the same monster kick as some of the other closers but could get up for a piece of the action.
3. Frosted (12-1) – Last out in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby he notched his first win since the Grade 1 Wood in the spring. After an unsuccessful and unplanned change in tactics of taking the race to American Pharoah in the Travers resulted in a 3nd place finish, the softer company and return to his regular stalking running style did the trick. While this spot is a big jump in class, he did display a nice turn of foot last out and could be a nice edition to your exotic tickets.
4. American Pharoah (4-5) – WINNER – The Triple Crown winner looks likely to get the pace set-up that makes him the most dangerous: an uncontested lead. Last out he was softened up early by Frosted in the Grade 1 Travers, clearing the way for Keen Ice to pick up the pieces, but something like that is unlikely here (especially with Frosted reunited with his regular rider!). Can he put the cherry on top of a spectacular career? As always, he’s got a really great shot.
5. Gleneagles (IRE) (20-1) – This year’s international mystery horse has never raced beyond a mile or on dirt. He’s also best known, at least on this side of the pond, for his incessant scratches due to unsuitably soft turf. While there’s not too much to go on with regard to his chances here, he has won three out of four of his starts this year, all Group 1. Also notable, his dam is a full sister to Giant’s Causeway, who finished 2nd by a neck in the 2000 Classic in his first race on dirt.
6. Effinex (20-1) – PLACE (2nd) – The Grade 2 Suburban winner had decent form through the spring and summer, albeit in much easier spots. He did get the best of Tonalist in the Suburban, but only by a whisker and aided by an inside trip. On the positive side, two of his three wins this year have come at today’s distance, but he doesn’t seem likely to pull an upset in this spot.
Smooth Roller (12-1) – SCRATCHED – The lightly raced Grade 1 Awesome Again winner is a bit of a wildcard, having only made his career debut four months ago as a 4-year-old. He stalked a tepid pace last out and cruised by last year’s Classic winner Bayern in the stretch for the win. He seems more likely to be part of the pace scenario now that Beholder has scratched out of the race. This is a huge step up in class, he does have a lot of upside and could be useful in your exotics.
8. Hard Aces (30-1) – The Grade 1 Santa Anita Gold Cup winner has not done anything to inspire confidence in next his two outings, finishing a combined 25+ lengths behind the winners of the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and Grade 1 Awesome Again. Trainer John Sadler notes that these losses came after California’s new whipping rule went into effect, and that no such rule exists in Kentucky. Even with more prompting, he’s unlikely to get the kind of pace scenario that would help him produce the effort he would need here.
9. Honor Code (5-1) – SHOW (3rd) – Despite running what some consider a clunker last out in the Grade 2 Kelso, the Grade 1 Whitney winner comes into the race with a lot of upside. While Keeneland’s short stretch can be unkind to closers, he doesn’t need a fast pace to close. He’s been training well at Belmont and is likely to be flying under the radar. He could be the one to pull the upset given his explosive turn of foot, at the very least you should have him on your exotic tickets.
Beholder (3-1) – SCRATCHED – The winner of the 2012 Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Distaff seems to be getting better with age. She comes into the race on a five win streak that includes her third consecutive win in the Grade 1 Zenyatta and a historic win in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic against males. She also appears to be the most likely to give Triple Crown winner American Pharoah a run for his money. Given her current form and trainer Richard Mandella’s past Breeders’ Cup performances, she’s got a decent shot.