While the World Championships crown year ending champions at multiple distances and over multiple surfaces there is no doubt that the marquee event is the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
The Classic is part of the “Win and you’re in” concept now prevalent and tied to key races throughout the season. There are four such horses in this race in Fort Larned, Game On Dude, Mucho Macho Man and Ron the Greek.
The Classic is a race for three year olds and up which is run at 1 1/4 miles over the dirt with an incredible $5 million purse. There are 13 pre-entries for the Classic with Graydar also possible for the Dirt Mile. The scheduled post time for the Classic is 8:35 ET and 5:35 PT. Let’s take a gander at this year’s contenders. All odds are current as of October 26th 2013.
|Declaration of War||8-1||Invader from across the pond won two Grade 1's but can he handle the dirt?|
|Flat Out||12-1||7 yr old finished third in last years Classic over SA. Owns NY but this is CA.|
|Fort Larned||7-1||The defending champion will not get to control the pace this year. Can he avoid a meltdown?|
|Game On Dude||8-5||On a five race winning streak all in graded stakes. Last loss? A poor seventh here last year.|
|Graydar||15-1||Late bloomer is undefeated in 2013. Beat Flat Out but does that say more about him or Flat Out?|
|Last Gunfighter||20-1||Win contender against G2 or G3 competition but this a step up. Will take career best effort.|
|Moreno||25-1||2 for 14 lifetime but broke his maiden recently. Since won the Dwyer (G2)and finished second at the Travers (G1) to Will Take Charge.|
|Mucho Macho Man||4-1||Winner of the Awesome Again Stakes and lover of SA. Runner up here last year.|
|Palace Malice||12-1||Belmont Stakes winner belongs here but is there success on the other side of the Rockies?|
|Paynter||16-1||A feel good story but at the end of the day it is hard to imagine any chance of a victory. Outclassed?|
|Planteur||35-1||The other invader who will be hoping to strike gold. Winless in G1 competition for over two years. Third in Dubai twice but still hard to imagine.|
|Ron the Greek||10-1||Enters off impressive Jockey Gold Cup victory and a solid contender. Will need best to top this field.|
|Will Take Charge||6-1||Improved as he grew into himself culminating in a Travers (G1) victory. First time against elders should not detract.|
Prediction and Betting Strategy
In case you have not read any other articles I have written I am not one to go with the chalk. I am all about finding value whenever there is a chance. A perfect example of that was the Preakness earlier this year when I backed Oxbow. Some races might mean value is 14-1 while other it might be 6-1. This year’s Classic is more wide open than the betting odds imply. Unlike last year Fort Larned will not be able to control the pace at this year’s Breeder’s Cup Classic but will that stop him?
There is plenty of early speed in this race and horses like Paynter and the presumable post time favorite, Game On Dude, are a couple of examples. So does that mean that someone can hang on from the front of the pack or will a closer like invader Declaration of War or Ron the Greek be picking them off down the stretch? It is hard to say but the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.
At the end of the day I cannot forget the dud that Game On Dude fired here last year. He has won five in a row but when you fall off into oblivion off of solid but not hot fractions that does scare me. Do I think he will finish last? Of course not but I cannot see him above third. At his price I cannot back him to win.If you are looking for his style there is Fort Larned who can win from off the front.
Remember this is supposed to be fun so if the money is tight just sit back and watch some great horse racing and pay your electric bill but here is how I would play the Classic if I was wagering a $25 and $50 bankroll. Take it as some friendly advice and enjoy yourself.
$1 Exacta Box: Fort Larned, Declaration of War and Palace Malice Total Cost $6
$1 Trifecta: Fort Larned and Declaration of War with Fort Larned, Declaration of War, Palace Malice and Moreno Total Cost $12
$3 WP on Fort Larned Total Cost $6
Overall stake: $24
Save the last dollar as a memento.
$1 Exacta Box: Fort Larned, Declaration of War, Moreno and Palace Malice Total Cost $12
$1 Trifecta: Fort Larned and Declaration of War with Fort Larned, Declaration of War, Palace Malice, Mucho Macho Man and Moreno Total Cost $24
$.10 Superfecta: Fort Larned, Declaration of War and Palace Malice with Fort Larned, Declaration of War, Palace Malice, Moreno and Mucho Macho Man Total Cost: $5.40
$.10 Superfecta: Six quick picks Total cost $.60
$4 WP on Fort Larned Total Cost $8
Total Stake: $50
You can check out my thoughts on the Dirt Mile at Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile: Odds, Contenders and Value Picks
Good luck folks and check back later in the week when I break down more races from the Breeder’s Cup World Championships.