2019 Breeders Cup Classic Contenders

  1. Breeders Cup Contenders Past Performances
  2. 2017 Breeders Cup Classic Contenders
  3. 2017 Breeders Cup Contenders

Date Race Name Gr. Course Track Distance Purse;: Longines Breeders' Cup Classic: 1: Dirt: Keeneland: 1 1/4 Miles: $6,000,000:: Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. Red le Zele and Cafe Pharoah Lead Sunday's February Stakes in Japan for First Automatic Berth into 2021 Longines Breeders' Cup Classic TokyoHorseRacing Co. Ltd.’s Red le Zele (JPN) and Koichi Nishikawa’s Cafe Pharoah (JPN) lead the 16-horse field for Sunday’s 38th running of the 1-mile, $1.84 million February Stakes (G1) on dirt at Tokyo. Vino Rosso, left, and Elate, right, are two leading contenders for the 2019 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.

The 2019 Breeders’ Cup will cap off a dramatic and historic year of horse racing with its marquee race on Saturday, November 2 from Santa Anita Park. Post time is set for 8:44 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the richest races on the globe, drawing top horses from across the world. Open to any horse over the age of 3, the 1 1/4-mile dirt race was where American Pharoah became the first horse ever to win the “Grand Slam” of horse racing with his 2015 Triple Crown and Classic wins.

Bob Baffert’s McKinzie opens as the favorite despite switching away from longtime jockey Mike Smith and taking second to fellow Classic competitor Mongolian Groom in the Awesome Again Stakes.

On the 10th anniversary of Zenyatta becoming the first female to win the Classic, Bill Mott’s mare Elate will attempt to follow in her footsteps. Elate is the first female to enter the Classic since Beholder (2015; scratch) and the first female to run in it since Havre de Grace (2011; 4th).

Below are the post positions for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic, including opening odds as of October 28.

1. Math Wizard (30-1)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Watch Math Wizard win the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby

2. Seeking the Soul (20-1)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
Watch Seeking the Soul win the 2019 Stephen Foster

3. Owendale (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Breeders Cup Contenders Past Performances

4. War of Will (20-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Watch War of Will win the 2019 Preakness Stakes

5. Yoshida *JPN (8-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Mike Smith

6. Elate (6-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Watch Elate win the 2019 Fleur de Lis Handicap

7. Higher Power (6-1)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Flavien Prat

Cat overseer coin master. 8. McKinzie (3-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Watch McKinzie win the 2019 Whitney Stakes

9. Mongolian Groom (12-1)
Trainer: Enebish Ganbat
Jockey: Abel Cedillo
Watch Mongolian Groom win the 2019 Awesome Again Stakes

10. Vino Rosso (4-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

11. Code of Honor (4-1)
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Jockey: John Velazquez

NBC Sports handicappers’ picks and predictions:
Eddie Olczyk: Vino Rosso
Matt Bernier: Elate

Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 2 from 3:30-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 8, NBC from 8-9).

This year’s edition of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the signature event of championship weekend, is shaping up as one of the most wide-open in recent memory. This is a result of what’s been a largely muddled season in the older male and 3-year-old dirt divisions.

It also means plenty will be on the line with regards to year-end Eclipse Awards in what should also be a good betting race on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Super Screener
tip: According to Horse Racing Nation’s handicapping system, you'll want to avoid a horse that produced a lifetime top in his final prep. Instead, look for a contender with something left in the tank for a 1 1/4-mile test. Click here for more secrets to winning on the Breeders’ Cup.

Below is a look at the projected field and odds that reflect the type of price we expect to see once the morning line is set.
Catholic Boy, 25-1 [More Than Ready -- Jonathan Thomas -- 13: 7-2-0 -- $2,134,000]: He ran 13th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs as a 3-year-old. This season he has made just three starts, with his lone win coming in the Dixie Stakes (G2) at Pimlico back in May and over the turf. Most recently, he was fourth when trying the grass in the Knickerbocker Stakes (G2) on Monday at Belmont Park. Last year's Travers Stakes (G1) winner hasn't had the type of follow-up campaign many expected. He figures to be a big price if entered here.Code of Honor, 5-1 [Noble Mission -- Shug McGaughey -- 9: 5-2-1 -- $2,298,320]: This colt will have a lot on the line come Nov. 2. A win would all but seal championship 3-year-old honors and also put him in the mix for Horse of the Year. He has had a consistent and strong campaign with four graded stakes wins at three tracks, which includes the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) versus older thanks to the disqualification of Vino Rosso. Twice now he has answered the 1 1/4-mile distance question with a win, too.Elate, 8-1 [Medaglia d’Oro -- Bill Mott -- 18: 7-7-2 -- $2,328,725]: It’s a rarity to see a filly or mare run in the Classic, but that would be the case here. This top-class mare is pointing to the Classic, but she also figures to be cross-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles. A final decision will be made after the pre-entry deadline. Mott is considering taking on males in the Classic solely because of its longer distance. She would be just the second female horse to ever win the Classic, joining Zenyatta in 2009 at Santa Anita, but enters off consecutive defeats.Higher Power, 8-1 [Medaglia d’Oro -- John Sadler -- 14: 5-1-5 -- $836,648]: This 4-year-old served notice this summer when he dominated in a front-running victory by 5 ½ lengths in the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar. When following-up that effort in the Awesome Again (G2) at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, he stumbled badly at the start to eliminate any real chance at winning. He did manage to regroup and run a solid race to finish third behind Classic contenders Mongolian Groom and McKinzie. This is a colt with potential upside that’s likely to take action at the betting windows. Math Wizard, 25-1 [Algorithms -- Saffie Joseph -- 13: 3-2-3 -- $860,623]: This one-time claiming horse was not on the Classic radar until he won the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) on Sept. 21 at Parx in a 31-1 shocker. The effort was enough to prompt the connections to take a shot in the big-money Classic. While this has been a much-improved colt the second half of the season, championship Saturday will be a whole other level of competition. Anything more than a minor award would be a surprise.McKinzie, 7-2 [Street Sense -- Bob Baffert -- 13: 7-5-0 -- $2,298,560]: This has been arguably the best dirt horse in the country this season with graded stakes wins on both coasts, which includes the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga over Yoshida and Vino Rosso. However, the 4-year-old is coming off a disappointing effort in the Awesome Again when beaten 2 ½ lengths by Mongolian Groom. Baffert reacted in part by replacing Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who had been aboard for all previous 13 starts, with Joel Rosario. A win would put him in line to be champion older male in a race with sprinter Mitole.Mongolian Groom, 10-1 [Hightail -- Enebish Ganbat -- 16: 3-2-3 -- $579,141]: This gelding earned himself a free berth into the Classic when pulling off a 25-1 upset while racing on the lead in the Awesome Again. The effort produced a big speed rating and he did beat potential Classic race favorite McKinzie in the process. However, note the effort did come on a track that was heavily favoring horses racing on the lead. While the Awesome Again is his only stakes win, this one could make an impact at a square price.Omaha Beach, 6-1 [War Front -- Richard Mandella -- 8: 4-3-1 -- $1,301,800]: It would be a bold move if this 3-year-old, who is also being considered for the Sprint and Dirt Mile, shows up in the starting gate for the Classic. He would be entering the 1 1/4-mile race off just a single start since April -- a thrilling head victory in the six-furlong Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) on Oct. 5. It’s questionable whether a lone sprint effort would be enough of a foundation to compete going 10 furlongs against the best dirt horses in the world. With that said, he may also be the most talented horse in training today in North America. So anything seems possible, though Mandella is said to be leaning toward the Sprint.Owendale, 20-1 [Into Mischief -- Brad Cox -- 12: 5-1-2 -- $958,725]: This 3-year-old has a trio of Grade 3 wins on the year (Lexington Stakes, Ohio Derby, Oklahoma Derby), but could only muster minor shares when trying the best of his generation in the Preakness (G1) and Travers (G1). The Classic will be his first try against older horses. Figures to be one of the bigger prices on the board, but he's an improving type who arguably ran against biases to be close in his top-level starts.Seeking the Soul, 15-1 [Perfect Soul -- Dallas Stewart -- 29: 7-6-7 -- $3,354,153]: His only win in six starts this year came in the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 18. In his last two starts, the 6-year-old horse was well beaten in the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar and the Awesome Again (G2) at Santa Anita. He has the looks of an outsider against this field but, then again, seems to cycle back to that top form once in a while. Stewart left him out west after the Awesome Again to train locally.War of Will, 12-1 [War Front -- Mark Casse -- 13: 4-1-2 -- $1,615,569]: Sprung a mild upset when winning the Preakness Stakes (G1) as the 6-1 third-choice in the wagering in the second leg of the Triple Crown. He has failed to replicate that effort in three subsequent starts having finished off the board in the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy (G3), and then most recently third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1). This will be his first start against older horses. Vino Rosso, 9-2 [Curlin -- Todd Pletcher -- 14 5-1-3 -- $1,503,215]: This 4-year-old was disqualified from the win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup after multiple bumping incidents with Code of Honor in the stretch. It was a controversial decision and by no means diminishes what was a winning effort from this colt. He seems to be a true mile-and-quarter-type as in addition to the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, he also won at this same classic distance in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in May.Yoshida, 6-1 [Heart’s Cry -- Bill Mott -- 17: 5-4-1 -- $2,445,770]: This 5-year-old horse was fourth in last year’s Classic at Churchill Downs. After failing to make an impact in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and Dubai World Cup (G1) early this season, he returned from a freshening in the summer to make three starts with limited success. He was off the board in the Stephen Foster, then in two starts in August at Saratoga was second behind McKinzie in the Whitney (G1) and third in the Woodward (G1). The potential positive: He's fresh having skipped the last round of Breeders’ Cup preps, and the 1 ¼-mile distance seems to suit him.

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