Your best bet for expert analysis and betting news

2022 Breeders’ Cup Selections and Analysis

2022 Breeders' Cup
The Breeders' Cup Selections and Analysis from The Players of PlayUp Racebook. (Photo:Matt Wooley/Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM).

The 2022 Breeders’ Cup is here, two fantastic days of racing and wagering at Keeneland on Nov. 4-5. PlayUp Racebook is providing selections and analysis for the two day championship event.

If you wager $250 or more on both Breeders’ Cup Friday and Saturday you will earn a $50 FREE wager! And make sure you make your selections in our $250,000 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Contest.

We have put together a fantastic group of handicappers to assist horseplayers with their wagering:

Players BC

Michael Dempsey

Playup Racebook’s Horse Racing Product Manager, Michael has written about horse racing and wagering for Bleacher Report, Oddshark, Vegas Insider, Equibase, TrackMaster, Turf ‘n’ Sport, Yardbarker, and NBC Sports.

Matthew Desantis

Matthew is a lifelong horse racing enthusiast and handicapper who grew up learning the sport at Penn National. Matthew has written about horse racing for several online publications and is a main contributor to the Trust the Prophets YouTube channel. He believes in playing surface changes and you can find him obsessing over a $20K maiden claimers most weekday mornings.

Chuck Simon

A former trainer who won over 350 races in his career, you can now hear his thoughts on horse racing on the popular Going in Circles Podcast.

Barry Spears

A former professional basketball player, Barry now spends his time playing the ponies and has been featured on TVG, The Daily Racing Form, and is a co-host on the Going in Circles Podcast.

Colin Sheehan

Host of the podcast Doubling Down, Colin grew up on the backstretch of the old Rockingham Park in New England so watching racing with his father started at a young age. Saratoga is his “home track” and he bases his plays mostly on what is written in the PP’s.

Rex Beyers

Rex is the Head of Wagering at PlayUp Sportsbook and a long time horseplayer.

Breeders’ Cup Betting Trends

Classic   Distaff   Turf   Mile

Breeders’ Cup By The Numbers

Breeders’ Cup 2022 Analysis

Click here for a printer friendly version of all of the handicappers analysis or click on each handicapper’s banner for a single report in pdf form. Check back for updates.




Keeneland Race 3 The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) 11:50 ET

7 Obligatory   8-1

4 Ce Ce   4-1

8 Goodnight Olive   3-1

5 Frank’s Rockette   6-1

12 Lady Rocket   10-1

Obligatory came from far back to run third last out in the Ballerina ‘Cap (G1) at Saratoga. The filly trained early, picked up some momentum on the far turn and had to steady at the quarterpole. She got going late and Ortiz let up on her once she got into third while no threat to the top pair. Ce Ce was a disappointing fifth in that race and rebounded to win the Chillingworth (G3) in her next start. Our top pick earned a career top two back in a game runner up finish to Bella Sofia in the Bed of Roses (G2). She has won twice at seven furlongs and stalkers and closers have fared well in this race. The Mott trainee should get an honest pace in front of her. Ce Ce is the defending champ of this race and she comes in their year having won the same prep race she did last year. She tossed in a real clunker two back but looks back on track for the McCarthy barn. She has done her best work at seven furlongs and should see some pace in front of her here.

Keeneland Race 4 The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) 12:29 ET

7 Arrest Me Red   15-1

8 Golden Pal   2-1

4 Campanelle   8-1

11 Casa Creed   6-1

10 Caravel   20-1

Trainer Wesley Ward will be tough here with the likely favorite Golden Pal, but the defending champ is not going to offer much bang for the buck. I’ll lean to Ward’s other runner Arrest Me Now who will be a generous price in this spot. The colt came off a three month break last out at Kentucky Downs where he made a good late run to finish third in the Turf Sprint (G2) at six furlongs. He has won 6 of 10 on turf in his career including going 3 for 4 at this distance. He should be tighter second off the break and is going to get overlooked in the betting. Golden Pal is the obvious one to beat but expect a bit less than the 2-1 morning line. He wired the field last out in the Woodford (G2) over the turf at Keeneland. The colt is now perfect in four trips over the turf at Keeneland. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers. Ward is just 1 for 13 in this race. The home team is tough in this race, and one from the Ward trio should get it done here, but I don’t have a strong opinion on which one will get the job done. The filly Campanelle has shown she can be competitive versus the boys.

Keeneland Race 5 The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) 1:10 ET

7 Cody’s Wish   5-2

5 Gunite   7-2

9 Cyberknife   9-2

2 Simplification   15-1

Cody’s Wish is stretching out from seven furlongs. The Mott trainee won the Forego (G1) last out with a career top speed figure. Among the horses he beat that day were Jackie’s Warrior and Pipeline. He is perfect in five starts at a mile, two back winning the Hanshin at Churchill Downs. All five of those trips came at one turn. He was beaten just a neck in the two turn Challenger (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs back in March. He looks like a good fit here although his price is going to end up on the light side in a competitive race. (Laurel River SCR)

Keeneland Race 6 The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) 1:50 ET

5 Tuesday   8-1

3 Nashwa   5-2

4 Above the Curve   9-2

9 Rougir   12-1

11 In Italian   7-2

Tuesday appears to be the value among the Euro invaders. Her form is not great off her last two outings but both came over ground that was off and she seems to be better on firmer footing. She won the Epsom Oaks (G1) back in June on good ground and was beaten a length in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) three back on good ground. Note Moore was aboard for both of those starts and is back on board today despite riding Above the Curve in her last three starts. Nashwa was the beaten favorite last out in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on soft ground at Longchamp, beaten ¾ of a length to Place de Carrousel. She won the Nassau (G1) two back at Goodwood on good to firm ground. The runner up in that race was Aristia who won the Prix Jean Romanet (G1) in her next start. Overseas invaders have won this race three years in a  row and five of the last six.

Keeneland Race 7 The Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) 2:30

4 American Theorem   10-1

9 Jackie’s Warrior   4-5

5 Aloha West   12-1

2 Kimari   4-1

American Theorem came with a good late run while wide to finish in the runner up spot in the Pat O’Brien (G2) last out at seven furlongs. The winner Laurel River is a major player in the Dirt Mile. Three others exited the race to win next out, Senor Buscador winning the Ack Ack (G3), The Chosen Vron winning the  EB Johnson at Los Al and the California Flag at Santa Anita and Defunded won the Awesome Again (G1) in his next start. Our top pick won the Bing Crosby (G1) two back at six furlongs, just his second trip at the distance. The pace is the question mark as it may not be that brisk, but this guy is worth a look if we catch most of the 10-1 morning line. We faded Jackie’s Warrior in this race last year and it worked out well, but this field does not look that deep and he has put in five solid efforts since his clunker last year in this race. He ran in a sharp one in Cody’s Wish last out in a runner up finish in the Forego (G1) and that foe is going to be tough in the Dirt Mile. The price is going to be short again this year but I think he runs big here.

Keeneland Race 8 The Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) 3:10 ET

13 Kinross   9-2

4 Modern Games   7-2

3 Dreamloper   6-1

8 Regal Glory   6-1

9 Malavath   15-1

Kinross has reeled off four in a row, last outing beating 17 foes in the British Champion Sprint (G1) at Ascot going six furlongs over good to soft ground. He won the Prix de la Foret (G1) two back at seven furlongs, the prep Goldikova used to win this race. He is a seven furlong specialist but looks more than capable of starching out to a mile here. He has won at 7 ½ furlongs on turf and at a mile on the all-weather. Dettori needs to work out a trip from the outside post but this gelding has a ton of talent and is coming into this race in the best form of his career and handles firmer ground. Modern Games will be the favorite and I am still smarting from missing out on the Pick 5 last year as he ran for purse money only in an impressive win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). He is making his third start in seven weeks but looks locked and loaded since landing in Lexington. He was much the best in the Woodbine Mile (G1) and regressed slightly last out in a runner up finish in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Ascot on Oct. 15. The 7-2 looks fair but this guy likely goes off lighter. Dreamloper won the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp (G1) by 5 ½ lengths in smart effort bouncing back off a pair of subpar efforts. Euros have won three of the last four editions and this mare is going to be a decent price.

Keeneland Race 9 The Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) 3:55 ET

8 Society   6-1

1 Malathat   3-1

6 Nest   9-5

4 Clairiere   4-1

7 Search Results   9-2

Society gets the nod here in a wide open race in which a win by any of the top five here would not be a surprise. Our top pick owns solid early and mid pace number and her best shot is if she is able to shake loose early. Last out she took the field gate to wire in the Cotillion (G1) at Parx, a race that did not exactly come up that tough. Three-year-old fillies have won this race four times in the last 11 years. We have only seen a wire job in the Distaff one time in the last 18 years. So we need a price and it looks like we should get a fair one. Malathat made a good late run to finish third in this race last year. She just fires each time out, a winner of 9 of 13 starts with three seconds. She earned a near career top two back winning the Personal Ensign (G1), last out her speed figure declined but she looks impressive winning the Spinster (G1) over the main track here by 5 ¼ lengths. That effort looks like a perfect prep. Nest faced older for the first time last out and won the Beldame (G2). She ran well against the boys in a runner up finish in the Belmont (G1) back in June. Her win over the track was in the Ashland (G1) back in April. She is very talented but has the look of an underlay here facing a solid field.

Keeneland Race 10 The Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) 4:40 ET

11 Mishriff   6-1

7 Nations Pride   7-2

3 Stone Age   15-1

5 Rebel’s Romance   3-1

2 War Like Goddess   9-2

The Euros have been pretty dominant in this race, winning 23 times in 38 editions and taking six of the last seven. Mishriff comes in flying under the radar as his form is not what it was and he has lost all six starts this year, last out a well beaten 13th in the Arc (G1). We have seen winners of this race bounce back off subpar efforts at Longchamp. This guy won the 2021 Saudi Cup (G1) on dirt and then took the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on turf at this distance. He caught ground not to his liking in his last pair and if Gosden ships this guy over I have to think he is going to bounce back with a much better effort on firmer ground. National Pride is one of two in here sent out by Appleby and Buick is on this guy. He has run three solid races since landing in the U,.S, taking the Saratoga Derby (G1) at 1 3/16 miles followed by the Jockey Club Derby (G3) last out at 1 ½ miles. Appleby and Buick teamed up to win last year’s Turf with Yibir who was also a three-year-old. Stone Age came up short in two starts in the U.S. and then was fifth in the Irish Champions (G1) and Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot last out. Another that should move forward on firmer ground and he is going to be a price. O’Brien has won this race five times and Moore sticks.

Keeneland Race 11 The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

6 Epicenter   5-1

4 Flightline   3-5

7 Olympiad   10-1

2 Life Is Good   6-1

Flightline is being hyped as the next coming of Secretariat and it looks as if he is going to go off at his ML of 3/5 or maybe a bit lighter. He could regress 10 Beyer points and still likely beat this group. However, this guy only has one start going two turns, one at this distance and has just five starts under his belt. He faces the toughest group of his career and at a puny price I just need to try to beat everyone’s single. Epicenter looks like the most logical option. The Asmussen trainee has landed in the exacta in 9 of his 10 career starts and earned a career top with a sharp Travers (G1) win where he drew off to win by 5 ¼ lengths. He is proven at the distance and looks capable of putting up a similar number as last out. Three-year-olds have won four of the last eight editions of this race and Baffert saddled all of them. Asmussen did win the 2007 Classic with the three-year-old Curlin. The colt owns a solid pace prolife throughout with good late pace numbers. 9-2 or 5-1 looks better than 2-5 here. Olympiad is coming off a win against a subpar group in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) which has always been a live prep for the Classic. The Mott trainee has earned triple digit Beyers in six of his last seven starts and looked super winning the Stephen Foster (G2) three back. Mott has two Classic wins with Cigar and Drosselmeyer. He looks up to facing a much tougher group here and is going to end up a decent price.




Race 3: Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

This sprint is loaded with frontend speed that should feature a pretty grueling pace up front.  Whereas the BC Sprint is six furlongs, the added furlongs for the fillies and mares means that going with the speed of the speed is not always a good strategy.  As a result, I love both Bill Mott runners #7 Obligatory and #5 Frank’s Rockette.  Neither of these horses will be sucked into the early speed and they will both by running hard late.  The seven furlongs should suit both well.  Obligatory ran a strong third last time out at a Grade I in which she was bumped and jostled around coming for home.  A cleaner trip this time around should ensure she gets to the wire first.  Frank’s Rockette is running in the best form of her career and has versatility to sit off the pace but maybe not leave as much work to do as Obligatory.  Either way, I see Mott winning this race.

Top Pick: Obligatory (8-1)

Top Value Selection: Frank’s Rockette (6-1)

Race 4: Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

The perpetual question in turf sprints is whether you want to fade #8 Golden Pal.  He’s never lost in North America and he’s undefeated at Keeneland.  Rumors of his demise were exaggerated prior to his last effort.  All he did was set a stakes record while taking down another Grade I victory.  I think he’s going to run a good race on Saturday, but I think that #6 Highfield Princess might be the best European he’s ever run against in North America.  She beat him at Royal Ascot and while she finished sixth that day she only lost to the winner by about a length.  Otherwise, she’s reeled off three consecutive Group 1 wins and is running better as a five-year-old than she did last year.  I think she takes down the great American turf sprinter.  Underneath, look to the #3 Emeraaty Ana at a big price to enrich your vertical wagers.  It took him a little while to get back into form after traveling home from Meydan, but he’s turned out strong performance the last two times out and will make a vertical ticket more profitable.

Top Pick: Highfield Princess (7-2)

Top Value Selection: Emeraaty Ana (20-1)

Race 5: Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

A two-turn dirt mile that is being run at a mile and 70 yards makes this a little bit of an easier race to handicap than it might first appear.  Favorite #7 Cody’s Wish might be 5-5 winning at a mile, but those have all been one-turn affairs.  He’s lost both times he’s tried running two turns.  Same can be said for #5 Gunite who has been running so well this year but is more ideally suited for a seven furlong race.  All of this led me to #6 Laurel River who is coming off a career effort at the Grade II Pat O’Brien.  This horse hasn’t had much of an opportunity to string together multiple races and is now healthy and running regularly.  He’s won a two-turn dirt mile twice and feels like the mile distance is perfect for him.  My value play is among my favorite current racehorses, #2 Simplification.  He’s an honest horse who is versatile.  He’ll get a ground saving trip, can handle two turns, is getting a distance cutback, and probably ran his best race at a mile.  He finished a head behind #9 Cyberknife last time out at the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby, yet he provides significantly better value than the Brad Cox entrant.

Top Pick: Laurel River (9-2)

Top Value Selection: Simplification (15-1)

Race 6: Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

The Filly & Mare Turf features one of my favorite trainers, John Gosden, who has a superstar in the form of #3 Nashwa.  A winner of two Group 1 races in Europe, she nearly won a third last time out over the soggy ground at Longchamp.  She finished second that day in a field of 21.  She’s handled different types of ground, conditions, and styles and will have Hollie Doyle in the irons.  Her fellow Euro, #5 Tuesday, is my value play as her running lines are easily explained.  After being Nashwa and the field at the Group 1 Epsom Oaks, she ran against the boys in another Group 1.  She didn’t measure up that day but came back to run against her own next out and finished second to Alpinista.  Alpinista, of course, went on to win The Arc.  Tuesday’s two races since then have been over soft turf, which she clearly didn’t prefer.  She’ll get firm turf on Saturday, and I think she’s sitting on a big effort.

Top Pick: Nashwa (5-2)

Top Value Selection: Tuesday (8-1)

Race 7: Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Defections and trainer decisions to move some potential entrants to the dirt mile really took the luster out of this race.  Gone is Jack Christopher while Gunite, Pipeline, and Cody’s Wish all opted for the Dirt Mile.  As a result, we have a sprint race with nearly no early speed except for the overwhelming favorite, #9 Jackie’s Warrior.  If you’re playing a pick sequence, this feels like an easy single as Jackie should get the perfect trip with minimal early pressure and the six furlongs is his best distance.  If you’re looking for value, consider using #4 American Theorem.  He’s an honest horse who shouldn’t be too far back early and can run late.  He blasted Speaker’s Corner two back and ran second to Laurel River last time out.  She should acquit himself well in this field.

Top Pick: Jackie’s Warrior (4-5)

Top Value Selection: American Theorem (10-1)

Race 8: Breeders’ Cup Mile

Fading favorite #4 Modern Games may seem crazy, but I think he is going to be flat.  After demolishing the field at the Woodbine Mile, he went back to England and raced over tough ground to finish second in the British Championships on October 15.  Now, three weeks later, he’s back in North America at Keeneland racing against some of the best horses in the world.  I do not like the turnaround time for Modern Games.  Once you get past him this race really opens up.  I strongly considered #3 Dreamloper who I think is going to run a big race and is a nice play if you’re leaning that direction already.  My top pick ended up being Annapolis who seems to have the versatility and tactical speed to make his own luck and his own trip.  He’s never finished out of the exacta, and he collected a Grade I win over this turf last month.  From a value standpoint, #6 Ivar is going to come running late and will absolutely enrich any vertical exotic as he’s nearly automatic lately at hitting the board in a big spot.

Top Pick: Annapolis (10-1)

Top Value Selection: Ivar (15-1)

Race 9: Breeders’ Cup Distaff

This feels like a heavyweight title fight between some horses who have been through their share of battles.  The trio of #1 Malathaat, #4 Clairiere, and #7 Search Results have been running against each other, and the best of the rest in the adult Distaff division all year.  They are battle-tested and tough.  Here to greet them is the super 3-year-old filly, #6 Nest.  The pace should be set by #8 Society who will be closely followed by Search Results.  The faster the pace up front, the better for Malathaat and Clairiere who are both deep closers.  While Nest is the favorite, I think she’s susceptible since she’s hardly faced stiff competition this summer.  Her main adversary, #3 Secret Oath, is trending the wrong direction and outside of that the best horse she’s been recently is Nostalgic.  More concerning is that she’s been winning easily.  This will not be an easy race and I like a horse who know how to dig down and win when she’s pressed.  As a result, I love Clairiere.  She scraped her tongue after being fractious in the gate last time out so you can toss that effort.  Prior to that she had clearly come into her own and gotten the best of Malathaat.  The X-factor in the field is Society who possesses incredible natural speed and if she’s able to get free could wire the field.  This one is going to be a classic.

Top Pick: Clairiere (4-1)

Top Value Selection: Society (6-1)

Race 10: Breeders’ Cup Turf

The penultimate Grade I on the card has some big names, but their best racing might be in the past.  Both #4 Broome and #11 Mishriff have world class credential and have turned in amazing efforts across the globe.  However, their recent form leaves something to be desire and it’s clear they are nearing the end of their racing careers.  Morning line favorite, #5 Rebel’s Romance, is a grinder and I think the two-turns and limited homestretch will hinder his chances.  For my top pick I decided between #7 Nations Pride and #2 War Like Goddess.  I ended up going with the American mare from Bill Mott’s barn because I think War Like Goddess is sitting on a huge race after dispatching the boys last time out.  She is coming off a career effort but did so very easily and in a way that makes you believe she can duplicate it at Keeneland.  She loves the distance and if Joel Rosario keeps her out of trouble, she will unleash that turn of foot coming for home.  For value, I’ll look west, as in the California turf horse, #9 Gold Phoenix.  Trainer Phil D’Amato is a wizard with turf horses and has been cleaning up in that division out west all year.  I typically do not like west coast turf horses coming east, but 20-1 is a great price on a horse that has shown so much ability and dazzling closing speed.  Look for him to coming running late and hit the board at a big price.

Top Pick: War Like Goddess (9-2)

Top Value Selection: Gold Phoenix (20-1)

Race 11: Breeders’ Cup Classic

We could witness history or one of the great upsets in Classic history on Saturday.  From a gambling standpoint, I always understand the desire to find value, but #4 Flightline makes is hard to bet against him.  The argument against Flightline is that he’s never faced a group of horses this talented, which is objective a true statement.  He’s also never faced the quality of early speed he will see from #2 Life Is Good.  Another true statement.  Amazingly, he’s running on the shortest layoff of his career (64 days) for a horse that has been so carefully managed in his five career starts.  Finally, adult horses making their final start in California prior to coming to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup are 0-29.  You can toss all of that out the window.  It’s possible Life Is Good burns up the track and wears out Flightline, but my trust in the horse has more to do with his jockey Flavien Prat.  Prat is one of the best in the world and is so excellent at judging pacing and calming his horses down during the race.

In terms of the other contenders, I do not think #2 Life Is Good can get the 10-furlong distance as he often is shortening up his stride at the wire at nine furlongs.  #1 Taiba may not like that inside post as his trainer Bob Baffert has admitted the horse does not care for kickback.  Now, he dealt with it okay while coming from off the pace to win the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby last out, but this is deeper water.  If there is any horse that could take down Flightline, it would be #6 Epicenter who should sit a nice mid-pack trip.  He should let horses like Taiba, Life Is Good, Flightline, Hot Rod Charlie, and Olympiad run themselves out up front before making a move.  His Grade I Travers victory was the best race from a 3-year-old I have seen this year.  Finally, I need to mention two huge prices that I think will run well.  Due to the hot pace up front, expect Happy Saver (30-1) and Rich Strike (20-1) to come running late and pick up the pieces.  I think both horses have a good chance to get their name on the board in a race where many are going to witness speed like they’ve never seen before.

At the end of the day, this is Flightline’s world and we’re just living in it.

Top Pick: Flightline (3-5)

Top Value Selection: Happy Saver (30-1)




Keeneland Race 3 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
$1 Daily Double 5, 7, 11 with 4, 8
$10 Win on #11 and #7
$1 Exacta Box 7, 8, 11

In Race 3 Saturday, the Filly and Mare Sprint, I may be playing with fire in not including Midnight Olive who has won 5 in a row but I am very interested in two prices. The first is #11 – Wicked Halo (10/1). She has shown great versatility winning at 5f, 6.5f, 7f (2x), 1mile. She has won at Churchill, Keeneland, Saratoga and has won on the mud. She has won on the lead and won off the pace. She has won 4 in a row, has won with different jockeys and has shown improvement from spring to fall of her 3yo season.

The other price I am interested in is Grade 1 and Grade 2 winner #7- Obligatory (8/1) who is a strong closer in a race with a lot of front end speed.

Since I am not including Midnight Olive, I am also going to include #5- Franks Rockette in my double who has been very competitive in four races this year. This is also a pace play as this horse does her best running late. Trainer Bill Mott been working her steadily since August.

Keeneland Race 4 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

#8 – Golden Pal is very logical as one of the best turf sprinters in the world trying for his 3rd Breeders Cup win in a row.

Keeneland Race 5 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
$1 Trifecta Key 9 over 1, 2, 5, 7
$1 Daily Double 1, 5, 9 with 3, 4, 5

Aside from the poor Kentucky Derby performance, #9 – Cyberknife has had a very solid 3 year old season. He won the Grade 3 Matt Winn and the Grade 1 Haskell at 8-1 then followed that up with a 2nd place to Epicenter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. He is running with the best of company and just had a :59 flat workout on 10/29 (9/2). I like him for the win.

Keeneland Race 6 Breeders” Cup Filly & Mare Turf

In the Filly and Mare Turf I am expecting the Euro’s to win. #3-Nashwa for trainer John Gosden with Hollie Doyle aboard has shown the ability to handle different grounds and has shown versatility in her running style and 2 wins
at the distance.

#4 -Above the Curve (9/2) is a big filly by American Pharoah who finished just behind Nashwa in her last race. Adding Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez doesn’t hurt either!

#5 Tuesday-(8/1) is a nice price play who finished 2nd to Alpinista three back (Alpinista won the Arc de Triomphe).

Keeneland Race 11 Breeders’ Cup Classic

Flightline hasn’t given many reasons to think he won’t again put in another very impressive performance. In his first 5 starts he has dominated the competition. I won’t be trying to beat him and instead will look forward to what could be a historic performance. I am also excited to watch my favorite horse this year, Epicenter who has never disappointed and has continued to improve. A Flightline-Epicenter Exacta will make my Breeders Cup weekend!



Keeneland Race 11 The Breeders’ Cup Classic

This year’s 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic projects to be one of the best races of the weekend as well as one of the most difficult to analyze. You have a horse in Flightline that comes into this race having dominated his competition in five lifetime starts. Nobody has come within 6 lengths of Flightline at the finish of any of his races. I must make note that the Breeders’ Cup Classic will be his toughest test to date by far. Flightline will have to make decisions early as there is a horse in Life is Good that is extremely fast and will be the most likely pace setter. There are questions about Life is Good’s ability to get the mile and a quarter distance as he failed to get the distance in the Dubai World Cup earlier this year but under the right circumstances I’m convinced anyone can get any distance.

Life is Good’s early speed and quickness may pose a huge problem for Flightline as the latter has not been stellar breaking from the gate. Flightline’s hand will be forced early to either go with Life is Good to try to make it a match race or allow another horse such as Hot Rod Charlie to engage Life is Good early. Not an ideal situation no matter how you look at it. If the pace heats up, and I believe it most likely will, it opens up the race quite a bit more. Taiba, who seems to be the only horse in this race with room to improve, may be the likely beneficiary of a hot pace up front.

Taiba is fast enough early to not get too far behind the pace and has enough kick in the stretch to finish strong. I feel Taiba is really dangerous in this race, merits a great chance to win and is my pick to upset this race. Rich Strike will also be in play if the pace becomes supersonic and there are versions of this race I can see Rich Strike winning. He has improved since his massive Kentucky Derby upset in May but definitely needs the right setup to be effective late. Epicenter and Olympiad, who have put together great campaigns in 2022, project to be lost in the shuffle chasing which does not bode well for either of their chances of winning.Breeders’ Cup Classic picks: 1-4-2-8



Click here for Chuck’s Saturday analysis. 




BC F&M Sprint

Gonna try Bill Mott’s Obligatory (7) here if she can catch anything close to her 8/1 morning price. She was all but out of it in the 7 furong Ballerina at Saratoga in late August, making a mild rally for third in a race where she had no real shot to catch the top two. She also ran second on Belmont day in another 7f stakes where the track was, like in her most recent SPA race, very speed-favoring. Perhaps she can turn the tables on Goodnight Olive (8) if the track plays more fair in Kentucky. The 4 (Ce Ce) is the defending champion here and she’s coming off a win in the same prep she used last year to proper her to the winner’s circle at 6-to-1 at Del Mar. Many of these horses seem to magically know when it’s time to wake up – or their trainers do, at least. But at 4/1 in the morning, she’s gonna have to beat me given the other options in here. The wild card is the 13 (Echo Zulu), who I bet in the Kentucky Oaks, where she was a disappointing fourth after not getting a great trip. Steve Asmussen put her on the bench for 141 days, and she promptly smoked four others by 5 ¼ in Churchill’s Grade III Dogwood on Sept. 24.

BC Turf Sprint

The sprint races are always a dart throw for me, and despite some of the success from favorites in many of them over the last few years in Breeders’ Cup races, I usually try to beat them. Unfortunately, the horses I like with a little longer prices here all have question marks. One of those is the (11), Casa Creed, a 6-year old who has won two Grade I’s this year on New York grass despite getting sent over the Middle East for losses in Saudi Arabia and the UAE a month apart. Those were the horse’s first two races after a BC Mile where he ran eighth by 3 ½. He has yet to shorten up to this 5 ½ furlong distance, with the two last three Grade I’s coming at 6f, 8f and 8f. The last effort, a fifth by two lengths to Annapolis here four weeks ago, likely gives some trepidation to those who’ll consider backing him. But at this price, he’s likely the best value if he can get a good trip from Saez, his rider for all five trips in 2022. Brad Cox’s Caravel (10) merits a look in the win pool at anything close to his 20/1 morning price. He came up empty in this race with Graham Motion as the conditioner last year, finishing 12th by 9 ½ lengths at Del Mar after having nothing once the real running began after the turn. It’s been feast-or-famine for 5-year Pennsylvania bred, with four wins (none graded) and a sixth, ninth and fourth in seven starts for the 2-time Eclipse Award winning trainer. Favorite Golden Pal (8) will draw a lot of singles in the multi-race exotics, given he is a perfect 4-for-4 over the Keeneland turf. He wired them last out in the Woodford at 5 ½ furlongs. Ward is just 1-for-13 in this event, and for a Euro angle on the grass, get a close look at Highfield Princess (6). The French mare will try the boys with regular pilot Jason Hart getting saddled by John Quinn. Neither part of the connections have a record at Keeneland, but that might be helping the price here. The mare has enough talent that it would surprise no one if she won here, given she’s won her last three Group 1’s by 3/4, 2½ and 3¼ lengths, respectively, with the last one being at even-money on soft turf at 5 furlongs at Curragh in Ireland. There’s a chance the ground could have some give to it, which would likely make her more dangerous.

BC Dirt Mile 

It would be difficult to argue with anyone who says that the 5 (Gunite) or the 7 (Cody’s Wish) were likely the best horses in this race. Call it my Cox bias due to my friendship with many of the connections around that barn, but if I can anything close to the 9-to-2 in the morning on Cyberknife (9) then I’m compelled to look in that direction. The temperamental 3-year old has come up big several times this year, with wins in Hot Springs, Louisville, Oceanport and a big effort at the Spa (second to Epicenter’s monster effort in the Travers). He also won a G3 by a nose after a disappointing 18th in the Kentucky Derby, and he’s shortening to a mile for the first time since before he broke his maiden late last year. Expect Florent Geroux to have him in position to win this race from the jump, even if he’s not the chief speed. Like many other BC races, a bomb could get there if you trust some of the speed figures of longer shots to put them in the mix. Color me intrigued by the 4 (Law Professor), trained by Rob Atras and ridden by Jose Ortiz. He was sent to this barn after a dull 9th in a Grade 3 in Arkansas back in April, given five full months off and then winning a turf stakes at Kentucky Downs at 9-to-1. His last effort was a strong second in the Woodward in the New York slop and now he’s coming into this race with five weeks off. The 4-year old gelding has every chance to surprise here.

BC F&M Turf

The pick-6 starts here, and if you had one race (money not being an object) to hit the “ALL” button, this would probably be the suggestion. The good news is that you can likely draw a line through most – if not all – of the American-based girls in here. I’m gonna try to play “catch me if you can” with the 11 (In Italian), a British-bred filly who won the Grade I First Lady on this course four weeks back by a length. Chad Brown keeps Joel Rosario as the jock, and she has also won at 9 furlongs in the Grade I Diana at Saratoga, going off 8-to-1 there. I’m curious to see how the speed holds up on the grass; her chances go way up if there is any bias. It would be foolish to dump either the 10 (Virginia Joy) or the 9 (Rougir) – the German and French bred girls that Chad Brown has been training all year (Rougir) and since 2021 (Virginia Joy). Irad Ortiz has the call on Virginia Joy and probably has the best of all mounts this weekend; he’s lined up to ride in all 14 Breeders’ Cup races. Whatever your opinion of him, that doesn’t happen by accident.
The 4 (Above the Curve) has run six times over wet grass in Europe – each of her starts has been off! And there’s a good chance she’ll get it again Saturday. Does she count as a foreigner if she’s Kentucky-bred and will have John R. Velasquez on her back despite running exclusiely in Europe and owning multiple wins in Ireland and a Group 1 win in France this year? If the rain stays away, take a look at the 5 (Tuesday) who was beaten twice recently on soft French grass. The O’Brien/Moore connection is hard to ignore in any grass race, especially at 8/1 or better, which is what her price was in the morning. The 3 (Nashwa) is a logical threat, though I’m hardly interested in her price and it would feel like a loss if you go deep in the horizontal exotics here and she wins.

BC Sprint 

Is it possible for me to call this my favorite race of the whole weekend when I rarely if ever win it? Nonetheless, let’s see what pops here. I’ve gotten the “fading Jackie’s Warrior” part right the last couple of years, as he’s been a beaten favorite in this race and I think he (9) is again here, given the outlandish 4-to-5 price that they put on him in the morning. Kentucky bettors don’t stand for the “ain’t no man alive who can pay a rent betting four-to-fives” horses so I expect closer to 7/5 ish by post, even with only 11 horses in the race. If there value on the one girl in here, I’d sure like to try her (2, Kimari). But I’m not sure you will get it. She was just 4/1 in the morning and she was seventh in the BC Turf Sprint last year and hasn’t won a Grade I since a 7f race on this course a full 19 months ago. How about the 5, Aloha West? Luis Saez will ride this horse for the first time for Wayne Catalano and the 12/1 morning price would be more than fair. The 5-year old out of Hard Spun won his last start at Churchill back in early July despite a troubled trip. He’s going to have to improve some but given his losses in the other two races this year were to Flightline and Jackie’s Warrior (9), there’s no shame there.

BC Mile

This is one of my strongest opinions of the weekend, and that includes one with North Carolina -7 at Virginia (noon Saturday EDT, ACC Network, thank me later). Why? Because Kinross (13) is grossly mispriced and we can only hope to catch something close to his 9-to-2 on Saturday. First, I finally get to root for Frankie Dettori, one of my favorite jockeys of all time. He gets a British-bred 5-year old gelding that has won four straight, all Group 2 or better, since late August, in England and France. The six furlong win on yielding turf at Ascot could turn into a great prep for this spot, and he beat 17 others in that one, so the full field won’t intimidate. The post is not ideal, but in Frankie We Trust. Just don’t jump off the sumbitch before you cross the wire! Just seeing Modern Games (4) in the program again gives me a headache after the biggest lock (yes, I said it and I rarely use that word unless it involves doors) of the weekend got scratched out because racing authorities in California last November were idiots. But the Irish colt with the same strong connections (Appleby/Buick) won his only start on this side of the pond in a G-I by 5-plus at Woodbine in September. If he wins, it can’t surprise anyone. Ivar (6), the 6-year Brazilian bred, also interests me. He lost by 1 ½ to Annapolis (11) last out here in a Grade I four weeks back but didn’t get a great trip. He also lost to Modern Games two back when he got bumped at the start and had to come 8-wide to get second in the Woodbine Mile. Lobo has dumped Joe Talamo in favor of Javier Castellano, which should be an upgrade. I give the 9 (Malavath) a puncher’s chance, too. Gaffalione gets the call for the European connections and Irish bred, who was just two back of my projected winner Kinross last out on soft ground in France in a 7f Group 1. Not impossible to think he can catch that one and others going 8 furlongs.

BC Distaff

Don’t get the 9 in the last race confused with the 1 (Malathaat) in this one… but both have a shot! Let’s see how the 4-year old handles seeing the 4 (Clariere) again given that the Curlin filly beat the 1 twice this year in NY stakes races. Malathaat rebounded to win the Personal Ensign and the Spinster, both Grade I’s, in August and early October at the Spa and Keeneland, respectively. The numbers in those two races would be enough to put her in contention here. I’d be foolish to not mention the other contenders, of which there are at least four if not five more who can win this race. The 6 (Nest), the 7 (Search Results) and the 8 (Society) all rate fair shots. The 8 will be the speed and she will try to take them 9 furlongs for Flo and Asmussen, but that has only happened once in this race the last 17 years. It’s a tough ask, even at this price and on this Kentucky dirt. Nest won the G-II Beldame last out, facing older girls for the first time; she has beaten the girls three straight since her last loss in the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes to Mo Donegal. She lost to the 3 (Secret Oath) in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks, but that Lukas filly hasn’t won since, going 0-for-4 in Grade I’s in Maryland, New York and Pennsylania before getting six weeks to rest before this one. Don’t be surprised…

BC Turf

If the Europeans haven’t done well to this point, don’t count them out. This 12 furlong affair is right up their alley, as they’ve captured 61 percent of all BC Turf editions, and they have prominent horses to raise that percentage to 62 on Saturday afternoon in Fayette County. Irish-bred Mishriff (11) is the most prominent of the contenders from across the pond. The John Gosden/Frankie Dettori connections promise to make this a fun race, even though he’s a new pilot for the 5-year old that is winless in seven starts dating to August of last year. All were in Group 1’s, however, so he’s faced the best of the best. Two other Euros are worth a hard look, including (5) Rebel’s Romance and (7) Nations Pride. Each are Irish-breds that are morning-line priced at 7-to-2 or shorter, so you’re not stealing. But it will be tough to beat these guys if either are near their best. The 5 ran twice on dirt in the UAE and didn’t get a sniff before Appleby threw him back on the grass in England twice and Germany twice (all stakes races; the Godolphin gelding has won all of them and is 8-0-0 in 11 starts, for whatever that is worth). Appleby retains the services of Buick for his 7; that colt won the Saratoga Derby with Buick before prevailing in a G-III turf stakes in New York City Sept. 17 at 12 furlongs at 2-to-5 with Dettori on. Of the Americans, I give the 2 (War Like Goddess) the best shot. The 5-year old out of English Channel (KY bred) gets Rosario back for Bill Mott and she has closed at 4-to-5 or lower in all of her last seven starts except for the 2/1 price that was there when she popped out of the gate at Del Mar in the Filly & Mare Turf exactly a year ago. She ran third in that race, and was second in a G-II on the Saratoga grass this summer. Outside of that, she’s got seven wins from seven starts going back to March of 2021. Her numbers suggest she should be good enough here if at her best.

BC Classic

Flightline. The 4. That’s all I’ve got. If the track comes up wet, then I don’t know. If it doesn’t, he should be 1-to-5 or 1-to-10. He names the score if he wants to. Underneath, for vertical exotics, you can maybe try (6) Epicenter and (1) Taiba. I could see (2) Life Is Good getting a piece as well. I think this could be a coronation and we should all sit back and enjoy it unless you’re actually trying to beat this monster. I wouldn’t recommend it…