It’s Breeders’ Cup time again, and that man Bob Baffert again has a strangle hold on the $6m Longines Classic at Keeneland on Saturday 7 November.
In having three consecutive 3yo victories in the Classic with Bayern in 2014, American Pharoah 2015 and Justify 2016, can the Kentucky Derby hero Authentic make it four, being $6.50 with Sportsbet.
As the outsider of Baffert’s three runners, Authentic had a hard fought second to filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness Stakes, and now meets the older horses with his front running style.
To be ridden by John Velazquez from gate 9, Authentic is owned by Spendthrift Farm and partners, being by Spendthrift’s US Champion Sire Into Mischief, bred in Kentucky by Peter E Blum.
The third winning foal of his winning Mr Greeley mare Flawless, Peter E Blum sold Authentic for $350,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, to be trained by Bob Baffert.
Since its inception 13 3yo’s have won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the Barclay Tagg trained Tiz The Law is pressing for favouritism at $4.33 having won the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes.
However, the $3.50 Classic favourite is the Bob Baffert 4yo Improbable who has consecutive race victories in the Awesome Again Stakes, Whitney Stakes and Hollywood Gold Cup.
To be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr from gate 8, Improbable is by Hopeful Stakes winner City Zip, having been a $200,000 yearling buy by WinStar Farm and China Horse Club, and was a $110,000 weanling.
Having slipped to $5 since well beaten by stable-mate Improbable in the Awesome Again Stakes, Maximum Security will be ridden by Luis Saez for Bob Baffert, starting from gate 10.
In winning the inaugural $20 Saudi Cup in February, Maximum Security has since won the Pacific Classic and San Diego Handicap, and of course is the disqualified winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Now raced by Coolmore and Gary and Mary West, he was bred by the West’s being by their now exported BC Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, from unraced Lil Indy, a half-sister to sire Flat Out.
In challenging the greats for Breeders’ Cup honours, it’s the Kentuckian Brad H Cox who has eight runners spread across seven BC races, and looking to build on his season 25% winning ratio.
Headed by his 2018 Longines Distaff winner Monomoy Girl, Brad Cox is looking for a second Distaff with her unbeaten this year including the La Troienne Stakes, and is $2.37 race favourite.
To be ridden by Florent Geroux, she was out injured all last year, having been Champion 3YO Filly in 2018 in winning the Kentucky Oaks. The Preakness Stakes winner Swiss Skydiver is at $3.
The 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championship opens on Friday 6 November with Brad Cox having his record Jessamine Stakes winner Aunt Pearl starting as $3.50 favourite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Next up, it’s Brad Cox’s TVG Juvenile $4.33 second favourite Essential Quality, Luis Saez, who will be seeking national honours having won both starts including the Breeders’ Futurity.
However, his challenge will be Sportsbet’s $2.10 favourite Jackie’s Warrior, trained by Steve Asmussen, with his breeding rights secured by Spendthrift Farm in winning the Champagne and Hopeful Stakes.
In the Dig Ass Fans Dirt Mile it’s the former Breeders’ Cup Futurity winner Knicks Go who is at $6 for Brad Cox, having won last start at Keeneland, with the Blame Stakes winner Owendale being $8.
The last start Dinner Party Stakes winner Factor This is $15 for the FanDuel Mile, Arklow also $15 for the $4m Longines Turf in winning the Kentucky Turf Club Stakes, and race winner Abarta is $21 for the Coolmore Juvenile Turf having run second in the Bourbon Stakes.