2022 Breeders Cup Classic Preview

The 2022 Breeders Cup Classic will be Race 12 on November 5th at Keeneland. Post time is set for 4:40 PM CT. This Grade I race is one and 1/4 miles and has a purse of $6,000,000. The race is the final Breeders Cup race of the weekend. There are eight horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Knicks Go.

Let’s take a look at the field.

Flightline has been all the talk of this race and for good reason. He’s an undefeated 5-0 in his career and has dominated every race he’s been in (three of them Grade 1 races). He was incredible in his last in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic (check out the race video at the bottom of this post). He crushed the field and won by 19 1/4 lengths! And somehow that has been typical for Flightline. I had the chance at Belmont to see him race two starts back in the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes Day. That was one of his lower speed figures, but he still wasn’t challenged. This is of course the most stacked field he’s faced, but at a 3/5 morning line, anything other than another win would be a massive upset.

Life Is Good is the next best contender. He’s won 9 of his 11 career starts. The only losses were a 2nd in the 2021 H. Allen Jerkins and a 4th place at the Dubai World Cup back in March. He won the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile last year by five and 3/4 lengths. He ran an impressive 125 speed figure (Equibase) in the Whitney back in August. A race in which he beat three other horses in this field: Happy Saver, Hot Rod Charlie and Olympiad. He’s expected to go for the lead early, which might be his only chance at Flightline.

Olympiad had won five in a row before that 4th place finish in the Whitney. Since that effort, he’s had just one start which resulted in win in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3rd. There is a question if that’s too long of a layoff since his last.

Hot Rod Charlie is the most experienced horse in the field by far. His 18 career races are six more than anyone else in this race. He burst on the scene in the 2020 Breeders Cup with a 2nd place finish at 94-1 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at this same Keeneland track. He went on the finish 3rd in the 2021 Kentucky Derby and 2nd in the Belmont Stakes. He finished 4th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (behind Knicks Go, Medina Spirit and Essential Quality). He finished 2nd in this year’s Dubai World Cup (Life Is Good was 4th).

Epicenter is the prized three-year old in this year’s classic. He got a tough trip in the Kentucky Derby, but still managed a 2nd place finish. He then finished 2nd again in the Preakness. Since then, he’s had back-to-back wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers Stakes. He hasn’t raced since that Travers win August. His speed figures indicate these older horses might be too fast for him here.

Happy Saver is an interesting one at 30-1. He hasn’t won a race in May of 2021 (seven races, all graded stakes), but he has hit the board in all of them. That includes a 2nd place to Flightline in the Met Mile and a 2nd to Life Is Good in the Whitney. His last was a step back with a 4th place finish in the Lukas Classic. At 30-1, he’s worth the look to hit the board again.

Taiba comes is a horse who I don’t think we’ve seen what he can do yet. The only Bob Baffert trained horse in this year’s field. He has just five starts (Four grade 1), but three wins, a 12th place finish in a wild Kentucky Derby and a 2nd in the Haskell to Epicenter. He won the Pennsylvania Derby in his last. His path to a win here will be to sit off of Life Is Good and Flightline and hope they tire each other out.

Rich Strike might be the horse the public knows the most given his massive Kentucky Derby upset this year. I do think he could hit the board as he likes to run late and Life Is Good and Flightline will be pushing the pace. If this race is as fast as it looks like it could be, Rich Strike could run late to hit the board.

Below we take a look at each horse’s last three speed figures.

I’ve ran the Classic 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 4 Flightline

My Bet: 5 to Win, 4-2/3/5-2/3/5/7 Trifecta

Superfecta: 4-3-5-7

Long Shot: Winner 7 Olympiad 10-1

All eyes will be on Flightline on Saturday as he looks to continue his unbeaten streak against the best competition horse racing can offer. I’ve really enjoyed watching him, so I’ll be rooting for him on Saturday. I put Olympiad as my long shot winner. If I had to pick a horse greater than 10-1 to win, I’d go with him. As the third speed horse, I’d just be hoping Flightline and Life Is Good tire each other out. I think Happy Saver and Rich Strike could hit the board with big prices for the exotics. Of course, if you’re looking to make some huge money, you’ll have to stay away from the big favorite. But do so at your own risk.

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