2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic

By Dexter Foley

Only in the Breeder’s Cup Classic can you find a field of 12 where you can find Grade 1 winners at mouth watering 12-1 odds. It’s a race that can crown a champion on the track and present handicappers with an amazing amount of value.

Breeders Cup Classic

1. Arcangelo (SCRATCHED) 

2. Zandon (12-1): He has only won three times in 13 career starts, but has finished second six times and third three times while competing in a long list of the sport’s premier races. Though 1 ¼ miles may be a tad too long for him, he looked sharp winning the Woodward Stakes in his last start and leaving him out of the exotics could be a big mistake.

JOCKEY: Frankie Dettori; TRAINER: Chad Brown

3. White Abarrio (4-1): He has blossomed this year for new trainer Rick Dutrow. He was a good third in the Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap and then won the Whitney Stakes by a whopping 6 1/4 lengths over Zandon and Met Mile winner Cody’s Wish. An encore of his Whitney performance will put him right there at the finish, but a victory could be tough after three months without a race.

JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz Jr.; TRAINER: Rick Dutrow Jr.           

4. Missed the Cut (30-1): He made the cut because of defections and despite a 5 ½-length win in the 1 ½-mile Tokyo City Cup Stakes he seems up against it in this field.

JOCKEY: Luis Saez; TRAINER: John Sadler

5. Derma Sotogake (20-1): He won the UAE Derby Sponsored by Atlantis The Royal and was sent off at 7.80-1 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve but never fired and finished sixth. He hasn’t raced since then, and good as Japanese connections may be when it comes to having their horses fit and ready to run, this seems like a big ask.

JOCKEY: Christophe Lemaire; TRAINER: Hidetaka Otonashi

6. Saudi Crown (12-1): He finally broke through with a Grade 1 win in the Pennsylvania Derby after his first two stakes appearances ended in losses by a nose. He has a ton of speed and has been training beautifully of late. Definitely a major player.

JOCKEY: Florent Geroux; TRAINER: Brad Cox

Clapton exercising at Santa Anita Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

7. Clapton (20-1): With the right pace, he could be flying into the picture at the end at a big price. Displayed a nice closing kick in winning the Lukas Classic Stakes and has the potential to sneak into the picture past some tired horses at the very end.

JOCKEY: Tyler Gaffalione; TRAINER: Chad Summers

8. Ushba Tesoro (4-1): He is trying to become the first horse to win the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the same year and a compelling case can be made on his behalf. He was given six months off after the Dubai win and returned in late September with a solid comeback win. A winner of six straight starts, he cannot be ignored in this field.

JOCKEY: Yuga Kawada; TRAINER: Noboru Takagi

9. Senor Buscador (30-1): Like Clapton, he’s a stone-cold closer who could use the help of a fast pace. He got one in the San Diego Handicap and posted a Grade 2 win, but he lacked that same strong kick in his last two starts when he has fourth in the FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic Stakes then third in the Awesome Again Stakes.

JOCKEY: Geovanni Franco; TRAINER: Todd Fincher

10. Dreamlike (30-1): He was a fast-closing second to Saudi Crown in the Pennsylvania Derby, but he has only started twice in graded stakes and that lack of top-level experience could be problematic here.

JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

11. Bright Future (10-1): He stepped up to Grade 1 company for the first time and won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at today’s distance of a mile and a quarter. If he can repeat that effort, he’ll be a main factor but that could be a tough assignment in this field.

JOCKEY: John Velazquez; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

Arabian Knight exercising at Santa Anita. (Eclipse Sportswire)

12. Arabian Knight (3-1): The morning-line favorite is coming off a game win in the FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic Stakes. He has the kind of speed that makes him a threat to lead gate to wire, but the post leaves him no margin for error. He has superior talent and a Hall of Famer in trainer Bob Baffert and should have a major say in the outcome.

JOCKEY: Flavien Prat; TRAINER: Bob Baffert

13. Proxy (12-1): Another Grade 1 winner who rarely turns in a sub-par effort. He lost by only a nose in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes but landing the outside post could be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

JOCKEY: Joel Rosario; TRAINER: Mike Stidham

Pick: Ushba Tesoro 

LONGSHOT: Clapton

SUPERFECTA: 8-6-12-7

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