It’s time to take an early look at the top 10 contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 5.
All the buzz surrounds the undefeated Flightline, the John Sadler trainee who is perfect in five career starts. The colt trounced the field in the Pacific Classic (G1) in his last outing by 19 lengths. It was his first trip at the Classic distance of 1 ¼ miles and he passed the test easily.
The last betting favorite to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic was Accelerate in 2018. He was trained by John Sadler, who will saddle Flightline. Sadler has started 54 horses in the Breeders’ Cup with Accelerate his lone winner.
There is a solid group of runners standing in Flightline’s way including Life Is Good, the Todd Pletcher trainee who has won 9 of his 11 career starts including winning last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Del Mar.
The colt has won his last three starts, taking the Woodward a (G1) at Aqueduct in his last start on Oct. 1.
Pletcher has started 14 horses in the Classic, winning with Vino Rosso in 2019. Pletcher may start Happy Saver as well. The five-year-old is winless in four starts this year, a fourth in the Lukas Classic (G2) in his most recent outing.
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Top 10 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders
Among the three-year-olds taking on their elders in the Classic is Epicenter, who makes his first start since winning the Travers (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 27.
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Rich Strike is likely to go in the Classic. After a disappointing sixth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and a fourth in the Travers (G1), he ran well in a tough head loss to Hot Rod Charlie in the Lukas Classic in his most recent start.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be seeking his record fifth win in the Classic with the three-year-old Taiba. The colt won the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) in his last start.
Baffert will also send out Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Country Grammar and Defunded, who won the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita in his last start.