With a strong late kick, SECOND OF JULY won the Futurity
Handicap at Belmont Park and secured the final "win and you're in" Breeders'
Cup Challenge Series ticket. The early-November Friday and Saturday at
Keeneland seemed farther away than Mars during the early days of COVID, but now
the Breeders' Cup is just three-weeks from this Friday.
The Breeders' Cup Classic punctuates the two-day horse
racing festival, showcasing the world's top thoroughbreds. While it's not set
yet, the projected field is stacked! We are looking at names like:
TIZ THE LAW
And possibly the Preakness Stakes winner SWISS SKYDIVER;
although, the word from her owner is that she's more likely to run in the
Breeders' Cup Distaff. According to sportsbook BUSR.ag, IMPROBABLE is the early
favorite to take the Classic Crown at 7/2 odds.
IMPROBABLE is coming off an impressive victory over MAXIMUM
SECURITY in the Grade I, Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. No question about
it, trainer Bob Baffert has unlocked IMPROBABLE's talent as the four-year-old
is running his best and on a three-race win streak.
Belmont Stakes winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up TIZ THE
LAW is second on the tote board at 9/2. He looked a little tired at the end of
the Derby, lacing the late legs needed to run past AUTHENTIC on Churchill
Down's stretch. It was his lowest Equibase speed rating of 2020. He's back on
the training track after being in the barn since the KD and could benefit from
Preakness Queen, SWISS SKYDIVER currently sits tied as third
choice at 5-1 with AUTHENTIC. Trainer Ken MCPeek says he prefers to run his
filly at 1 ¼ miles (BC Classic distance) than 1 1/8 miles (BC Distaff distance)
but hasn't made a final decision yet. Much like the Preakness, we expect SWISS
SKYDIVER's odds to go higher if she runs in the Classic as the field is a more
difficult group of boys than she faced in her Preakness victory.
On the other hand, we would not be surprised to see
AUTHENTIC take in some money and be one of the favorites on Classic race day. He's
won four of six races with a pair of seconds. SWISS SKYDIVER had to tie for her
best Equibase speed number to neck out a win against AUTHENTIC.
MAXIMUM SECURITY is another horse that might have needed a
layoff after running three graded stakes races in two-months and a day. Only in
his first three starts against lesser competition did he run as many in as
short of a window. However, even in defeat, his Equibase speed figure puts him
near the top of the pack. He's beat most of the expected Classic field and will
be a factor if he runs his average race.
The best value of the horses listed at 10-1 or lower could
prove to be TOM'S D'ETAT at 8-1. He won four in a row, including an EZ win
against IMPROBABLE at Oaklawn in April. The two matched up again in the Grade
I, Whitney Stakes at Saratoga, but the even-monied TOM'S D'ETAT stumbled badly
at the start and never had a chance. He's been off since the Whitney (August 1,
2020) and the Classic is a tough spot to return to the track; however, he has
run well following pervious extended breaks.
If the World Rankings are any indication, horseplayers and
their money will likely be focused on IMPROBABLE and AUTHENTIC come Classic day
at the Breeders' Cup.
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