2017 Breeders' Cup Classic Top 5

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D.S. Williamson

September 10th, 2017

The 2017 Breeders' Cup is less than 8 weeks away. It's time to come out with my 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic Top 5. I'm not ready to rank these horses yet. I've got a lot of handicapping to do before I do that. I did put them in the order that I believe they might finish in the Classic, though.

Why don't we just call this my pre-handicapping rankings. Check it out.


If Mike Smith had kept Arrogate closer to Collected in the early stages of the Pacific Classic, he might have gone right by that one in the stretch. Arrogate was coming on. It took him longer to rev up his engine then he had in the past.

No worries. The P. Classic run shows that he's rounding back into form. Bob Baffert has won the last 3 runnings of the BC Classic, Bayern in 2014, American Pharoah in 2015, and Arrogate in 2016, by getting his horse to peak on Classic Day. That should happen with Arrogate.


Bob also trains Collected. He was fantastic in the Pacific Classic when first holding off Accelerate, a talented horse, and then holding off champion Arrogate. Did he get away with slightly easy fractions? Sure, he did. But, he also won the best Classic prep of the year by beating his likely most formidable competition on Nov. 4.


The 2017 Breeders' Cup takes place at Del Mar. It's hard to see a horse that doesn't know the racetrack winning this year's BC Classic. Accelerate fits the bill. He was fantastic in the San Diego when running Arrogate into the ground. He might have bounced in the Pacific Classic. I also believe that you shouldn't rate this horse.

Hey, I get it. You always take the chance of burning your equine up when you go for it right out of the gate. But, that's the way this horse likes to run. He wants to get into a fight right away. Let him do it, is what I say.

Gun Runner

I think Gun Runner burns a lot of money on Classic Day. I'm just not sold on his ability to get 1 1/4 miles. Not only that, but the competition he's run against at Saratoga pales in comparison to what Arrogate faced in the Pacific Classic.

I know he almost beat Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup. He didn't face American speed in that race after Arrogate broke slowly. Right now, I think he's an underlay. But, I must admit, no horse has improved as much this year as Gun Runner.

Also, who knows? What if he's turned into the 2017 version of Arrogate?

Shaman Ghost

I don't know what to make of Shaman Ghost. At first glance, I don't believe he has any shot versus the other 4 on this list. Then, I remember what he did int he Santa Anita Handicap. Shaman Ghost ran down one of the better front runners on the west coast, Midnight Storm.

If the pace comes up swift, and it might, Shaman Ghost could have a shot. Right now, I think he's definitely worth throwing into any planned exotics.