Up, Down, Steady: A look at the prospective Breeders' Cup Classic field

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 25th, 2018

One month has passed since the first pool of the Breeders' Cup Classic Future Wager, and there have been some crucial developments with more to come in advance of the second pool on October 5-7.

In the intervening four weeks of observation, stock in individual horses have risen, fallen, or remained steady. Here's a look at each horse by category from the pool 1 field.


McKinzie (19-1)

Really the only individual entry to make headway since the closing of the Future Wager Pool 1, he burst back on the scene with a strong performance last weekend in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) following a 6 1/2-month layoff. Trainer Bob Baffert has three wins and a third-place finish with three-year-olds in the last four runnings of the Classic, and if this colt makes it to the Classic his odds figure to be much lower than what was available four weeks ago.


Accelerate (3-1)

Remains the current Classic favorite and we'll see if he holds on to that distinction following Saturday's Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita.

Catholic Boy (7-1)

Closed as the second choice among individual wagering interests after winning the Travers (G1) impressively and is training up to the Breeders' Cup.

All Others (11-1)

Those who bet the field are, right now, generally relying on Yoshida to take another step forward off his dirt debut victory in the Woodward (G1) on Labor Day weekend. However, 11-1 appears an underlaid price. Yoshida figures to be his own wagering interest in Pool 2 and most likely will offer better value then.

Diversify (10-1), Mendelssohn (11-1), Gronkowski (22-1), and Thunder Snow (23-1)

All are in action this weekend in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), where they will further sort themselves out.

West Coast (12-1)

Last year's three-year-old champion and Classic third will finally return to the track Saturday in the Awesome Again. Unraced since finishing second in the Dubai World Cup (G1) in March, don't be surprised if he falls short as Bob Baffert is using this as a get-fit prep for the Classic.

Catalina Cruiser (19-1)

Has always been pegged for the Dirt Mile (G1) rather than the Classic by trainer John Sadler, but could be re-routed if something unforeseen halts stablemate Accelerate's path to the Classic.

Pavel (24-1)

A distant second to Accelerate in the Pacific Classic (G1), he shipped in and won the Stephen Foster H. (G1) at Churchill in June and will enter the Classic off a layoff approaching three months.

Gunnevera (29-1)

Had two races over the summer, including a second in the Woodward (G1) behind Yoshida. Remains a bit suspect on his overall class, and probably more of an exotics threat after a decent fifth in the 2017 Classic and a distant third in the Pegasus World Cup (G1).

Mind Your Biscuits (40-1)

Will race in the Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs over nine furlongs, a distance he has not yet won at after running second in the Whitney (G1). Still has a look of a horse better suited to either of the one-turn Breeders' Cup events.


This observer's suggestion of investing in Good Magic (13-1) in Pool 1 went up in smoke after he finished up the track in the Travers, emerged from that race ill, and was retired this week. Hopefully, more than a few waited for the outcome of the Midsummer Derby before heeding that advice.

The performances by Hofburg (18-1) and Bravazo (30-1) in the Pennsylvania Derby left much to be desired. Earlier on Saturday's card at Parx, Collected (26-1) proved again he's not quite what he was in 2017, while Monomoy Girl (79-1) tipped her hand that the Distaff (G1) is the more appropriate spot.

Tenfold (55-1) and Vino Rosso (59-1) were both well beaten in the Travers and neither have turned in a published work since. Saxon Warrior (99-1) appears poised to stick with turf for the time being. Blended Citizen (99-1) and Draft King (99-1) do not currently possess the credentials to be serious threats. Toast of New York (99-1) has raced but twice since losing the 2014 Classic by a nose, but would have to run huge in Saturday's Lukas Classic to be considered a legitimate Breeders' Cup contender.

(McKinzie: Equi-Photo)