Even in horse racing’s most chaotic year, the Breeders’ Cup remains the season-ending spectacle.
The annual two-day Breeders’ Cup goes off this weekend, with juvenile races Friday and marquee events Saturday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
The climax is shaping up to be a true classic, with this year’s Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law and this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. Then there is Maximum Security, who finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified. They all will compete in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1).
And yet none of those horses has been tabbed the 5-2 morning line favorite. That honor goes to Improbable, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Baffert also trains Authentic and Maximum Security. The three stablemates will break from the three outside posts in the 10-horse field.
“I think Authentic is doing the best he’s ever done coming into this race,” Baffert told TVG on Wednesday. “I’m really excited about him. I think Improbable is doing the best he’s ever done. People forget about Max — he looks good. I think he’s going to like this track.”
Tom’s d’Etat, trained by Albert Stall Jr., is 6-1 with jockey Joel Rosario. The colt beat Improbable at the Oaklawn Mile Stakes in April.
Manny Franco will ride 3-1 Tiz the Law, trained by Barclay Tagg. John Velazquez will be aboard 6-1 Authentic and Luis Saez is the jockey for Maximum Security in the 1 1/4-mile race.
Full race card for Breeders’ Cup
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the rescheduling of many top races, including the Triple Crown events, the Breeders’ Cup will include nine races Saturday as originally scheduled.
Preakness Stakes-winning filly Swiss Skydiver will compete in the $2 million Distaff (Grade 1) at 1 1/8 miles. Trained by Ken McPeek and ridden by Robby Albarado, Swiss Skydiver was made the second choice at 2-1.
The top choice for the Distaff is 8-5 Monomoy Girl, trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux. Monomoy Girl won this race in 2018, when she earned the Eclipse Award as a champion 3-year-old filly. She returned after an 18-month layoff in July to capture the Ruffian Stakes (Grade 2) at Belmont Park.
Saturday’s Grade 1 races also will include the $4 million Turf at 1 1/2-miles, $2 million Sprint at 6 furlongs, the $2 million Mile (turf), the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/16 miles, the $1 million Dirt Mile, the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint at 7 furlongs and the $1 million Turf Sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs.
Five juvenile races Friday will showcase 2-year-olds. The top finishers will rise to the top of the list for next year’s Triple Crown trail.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)