Breeders' Cup Classic left to Pharoah and Beholder

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D.S. Williamson

October 8th, 2015

Todd Pletcher has decided to run Liam's Map in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Oct. 30 instead of the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 31.  For me the Classic has now turned into a 2-horse race between Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Pacific Classic winner Beholder. Liam's Map was going to add speed to the Classic. He was the obvious front-runner in the Classic. It appeared to be the perfect set-up for Liam's Map.

But instead of taking the perfect set-up, Pletcher decided that the best fit for Liam's Map was the Dirt Mile. Private Zone's connections haven't stated whether their excellent sprinter will battle Liam's Map in the Dirt Mile or take on Work All Week, Runhappy, Wild Dude, Appealing Tale and Rock Fall in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. We'll find out whether or not Pletcher made the right decision in about three weeks. If Private Zone ends up in the Dirt Mile, it's difficult to see Liam's Map winning the race. Any horse that tries to run with Private Zone is likely to get into a ridiculous pace duel. Liam's Map doesn't look like he prefers to rate. The whole thing could lead to a loss for a horse that, without a doubt, would have gotten his own way in the Classic.

With Liam's Map's defection, it becomes very difficult to look past either American Pharoah or Beholder winning the $5 million dollar race on Oct. 31. Both American Pharoah and Beholder have the resume to win the Classic. Beholder figures to be in the perfect position, about a length or two behind American Pharoah as that one tries to carve out slow fractions on the lead. No other horse scheduled to start in the Classic has the early speed that Pharoah has. If Victor Espinoza is gun shy with Pharoah due to the presence of Frosted and the debacle in the Travers, things might set up even better for Beholder. Gary Stevens  will most likely put the mare right onto the outside of American Pharoah and take his cues from Espinoza.

No matter what happens, the Breeders' Cup Classic appears to set up for both American Pharoah and Beholder to duel it out in the stretch. Out of the two, the preferred bet is most likely going to be on Beholder. The buzz about American Pharoah's Triple Crown victory hasn't waned enough. He's going to be a huge favorite on BC Classic Day. In 2000, Fusaichi Pegasus went off as the 6/5 favorite to win the Breeders' Cup Classic over such greats as Tiznow and Giant's Causeway. Pegasus was a reputation bet. American Pharoah is going to be a big reputation bet on Oct. 31.

Because Pletcher has decided to run Liam's Map in the Dirt Mile, the Breeders' Cup Classic has turned into a two horse race. Expect either American Pharoah or Beholder to be the winner of the 2015 BC Classic.