In early September, Wynn Las Vegas listed odds for 49 potential Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders. Now, the number of horses that could reach the race on October 31 at Keeneland Race Course has narrowed.
As of now, this looks like the group who will face Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in his final race, the $5 million Classic.
Keep in mind that there are some automatic qualifiers still in training which include Hard Aces, American Pharoah, Honor Code, Beholder, Smooth Roller and Tonalist.
American Pharoah — Zayat Stable’s Kentucky Derby winning colt seems to be training up to the Classic in California. Bob Baffert said he would ship from Santa Anita Park the last week of October. American Pharoah needs to rebound from his first defeat of the year in the Travers Stakes.
Beholder — By way of wins in the Pacific Classic and Zenyatta, the mare’s connections have their choice of the Classic or Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The former is, for now, their preference as Beholder has won six straight. “She’s back galloping, doing great,” trainer Richard Mandella.
Frosted — After a third-place effort in the Travers, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said his gray colt could point next to the Jockey Gold Cup as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup. Instead, he was entered for the Sept. 19 Pennsylvania Derby and won with jockey Joel Rosario back aboard.
Honor Code — Trainer Shug McGaughey cut the Whitney Stakes winner back to a mile in the Grade II Kelso, and a soft pace yielded a third-place result. “I thought he kicked home strong,” McGaughey said.
Keen Ice — Trained by Dale Romans and owned by Donegal Racing, the Travers winner is a go for the Classic, connections said after his upset of American Pharoah. As with the Triple Crown winner, Keen Ice won’t prep for it.
Smooth Roller — A 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding trained by Victor Garcia, he emerged as a Classic contender by taking the Awesome Again in just his fourth start overall and first attempt at a graded stakes.
Tonalist — The 2014 Belmont Stakes winner earned a signature win as a 4-year-old Oct. 3 by taking Belmont’s Jockey Gold Cup Invitational, the final Classic “Win and You’re In” test.
Gleneagles — The Irish-bred turf star, as with American Pharoah, has a Coolmore connection. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem as he targets an overseas trip to the Classic for trainer Aidan O’Brien..
Hard Aces — Not much has been said about the surprise Gold Cup winner’s future since he finished sixth as a follow-up in the Pacific Classic and Awesome Again.
Lea — Second in Churchill Downs’ Stephen Foster Handicap and sixth in the Whitney, the 6-year-old trained by Bill Mott went a much different direction in contesting the Sept. 13 Woodbine Mile.
Bayern, Dortmund, Liam’s Map, Noble Bird, Texas Red, Wicked Strong
Hoppertunity, Red Vine, Coach Inge, Imperative and Effinex were listed as unknowns who haven’t been confirmed by connections to go in the Classic.
Tags: American Pharoah, Bayern, Beholder, Bob Baffert, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Churchill Downs, Coach Inge, Dortmund, Effinex, Frosted, Gleneagles, Hard Aces, Honor Code, Hoppertunity, Imperative, Jockey Gold Cup, Keen Ice, Keeneland Race Course, Lea, Liam's Map, Noble Bird, Red Vine, Smooth Roller, Texas Red, Tonalist, Travers Stakes, Triple Crown, Wicked Strong, Wynn Las Vegas