The Profile of a Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Monday, October 26, 2020

We at Horse Racing Radar analyzed the last 10 Breeders' Cup Classics to see what the champs had in common. Building the profile of a Breeders' Cup Classic winner helps us identify which horses in this year's Classic might have the best chance to visit the winners' circle.

Here is what we found.

Fade the post-time favorite, as only two of the last 10 crossed the finish line first. Another three favorites finished second, and the remaining five ran out of the money. The average winner paid $12.30, a little more than 5-1 odds.

Hitting triple digits on the Equibase speed gun is a must.

A perfect 10 for 10 ran a number in excess of 100 in the start prior to the Breeders' Cup Classic with nine of 10 clearing 100. Only AMERICAN PHAROAH failed to top a buck ten, registering a 108. Nine of 10 produced figures of at least 100 in each of the three races leading into the Breeders' Cup headliner. 2014 winner BAYERN managed to hit the benchmark number in two of three.

Good form is important as five of the past 10 to wear the Classic Crown won their previous start, four more finished second and FORT LARNED collected show money. Only BAYERN and 2012 victor FORT LARNED missed the board in any of their three races prior to the classic, a 10th and 7th, respectively.

Trainer Bob Baffert's BAYERN seems to be the exception to a lot of rules as he was the only horse of the last 10 not to compete in a Grade I Stakes effort in the race before the Classic. He won the Grade II, Pennsylvania Derby at PARX.

Running style has slightly favored off-the-pace horses with six of the last 10 to take the Classic checkered flag racing fourth or back at the first call. The other four went wire-to-wire. Because the Breeders' Cup is run at different tracks from year to year, it is probably wise to review the host track's speed (and post biases) to determine which style might work best this year.

Lexington, Kentucky's Keeneland Racetrack is the home for this year's Breeders' Cup on November 6th and 7th.  The Breeders Cup Classic is 1 ¼ miles on dirt. Keeneland didn't run enough at the distance and surface to identify any trends, so we looked at all races at more than 1 mile.

At Keeneland, early speed and stalking were the preferred running types for races of more than a mile on October 24, 2020. Ten of the 39 to visit the winners' circle were on the lead at the first call and 23 of 39 were in the front three (first: 10, second: 3, third: 10). Another six winners were fourth, and seven were fifth at the half. In total, 92% of the winners ran in the first five at more than a mile on dirt.

Two out of three eventual victors were within the first three at the second call.  Thirty-six of the 39 to hit the wire first at more than a mile on dirt were in the front four after six-furlongs.

If form from the recent Keeneland meet holds, then the 2020 Breeders' Cup Classic Champ is likely to be forwardly placed all the way around the track.

Post positions wins and percentage rates for the 39 races at more than 1 mile on Keeneland dirt:

Hopefully, the Profile of a Breeders' Cup Classic Winner will help you find this year's champ!


Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.