Breeders' Cup Classic 2018 - Final Field

The $6 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky this Saturday 3rd November 2018. The favourite for this year's race is the John Sadler trained ACCELERATE, who enters this race on the back of three consecutive Grade 1 wins. View the betting for this race and comments on each of the contenders below. Betting is now available at Hollywoodbets.

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Breeders' Cup Classic
1 ¼ miles (2011m) - Grade 1 - $6 Million
Saturday 3rd November 2018 - Churchill Downs - 23:44 (CAT Time)

No Horse Odds Trainer Jockey
1 Thunder Snow 12-1 Saeed bin Suroor Christophe Soumillon
2 Roaring Lion 20-1 John Gosden Oisin Murphy
3 Catholic Boy 8-1 Jonathan Thomas Javier Castellano
4 Gunnevera 20-1 Antonio Sano Irad Ortiz Jr.
5 Lone Sailor 30-1 Tom Amoss James Graham
6 McKinzie 6-1 Bob Baffert Mike Smith
7 West Coast 5-1 Bob Baffert John Velazquez
8 Pavel 20-1 Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez
9 Mendelssohn 12-1 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
10 Yoshida (JPN) 10-1 Bill Mott Jose Ortiz
11 Mind Your Biscuits 6-1 Chad Summers Tyler Gaffalione
12 Axelrod 30-1 Michael McCarthy Joe Bravo
13 Discreet Lover 20-1 Uriah St. Lewis Manuel Franco
14 Accelerate 5-2 F John Sadler Joel Rosario
AE-15 CollectedSP Bob Baffert Reserve Runner
AE-16 Toast of New York SP Jamie Osborne Reserve Runner

Hollywoodbets will be paying 4 Fixed Odds Places.
Prices are subject to change. Betting last updated Tuesday 30th October 2018. E&OE.

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Comments on the Breeders' Cup Classic contenders:

14 - Accelerate (5/2)
He has four career Grade 1 wins, and three wins at the Classic’s mile and a quarter distance. He also is versatile enough to either set the pace or lay just off of it, and the latter strategy may be preferred on Nov. 3. Simply put, he’s a clear standout in terms of form and speed figures and is a neck shy of being undefeated this year. He has already defeated West Coast and Pavel this year, but the 2018 Classic field as a whole shapes up as by far the toughest group he’ll have faced.

7 - West Coast (5/1)
The 2017 champion 3-year-old male figures to vie with Accelerate and possibly McKinzie for post-time favoritism in the Classic, and he’s a logical choice to structure exacta, trifecta, and superfecta tickets around. Through 12 career starts, he’s never run a bad race, and his only third-place finish came in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, when he was steadied early. He prefers to press the pace or stalk, and that’s historically been a good running style for the Classic.

6 - McKinzie (6/1)
McKinzie was Bob Baffert’s leading Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve contender at the start of 2018. This talented, well-bred colt had flashed enticing potential in his first two starts as a 3-year-old, unfortunately he did not pursue the Derby as he encountered a hind leg injury. He’ll need to improve on last win against a tough field on Saturday, but he’s eligible to do just that, and he looms as a major pace factor in the Classic at the very least.

11 - Mind Your Biscuits (6/1)
This three-time Grade/Group 1 winner looms as a wildcard in the Classic. He has been one of the best dirt sprinters in the world for the past couple of years, but in his last two races has shown that he can extend that ability around two turns. His pedigree may built for speed, and he’ll be facing a far tougher field in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but he’s an ultra-consistent horse who should be closing fast in the stretch from somewhere in midpack if the pace scenario works in his favor.

3 - Catholic Boy (8/1)
This 3-year-old ridgling has had arguably the best season among his age group outside of Triple Crown winner Justify, winning three races in a row heading into the Breeders’ Cup, the last two at the Classic’s mile-and-a-quarter distance. He has a versatile running style that gives him a chance nearly every time he competes. His Equibase Speed Figures are lower than the top tier of candidates in the Classic, however, and that includes fellow 3-year-old McKinzie.

10 - Yoshida (10/1)
He will need a pace scenario and a good trip similar to his recent win in in order to set up his kick. He is definitely worth considering for exacta and trifecta tickets, although he’ll need to muster a career-best effort to win on Saturday

1 - Thunder Snow (12/1)
He should be among the top betting choices in Saturday’s Classic based on his past success on dirt and his ability to handle 1 ¼ miles. The versatile Irish-bred colt has one win and two seconds at that distance, his win coming earlier this year when he easily defeated fellow Classic combatant West Coast by 5 ¾ lengths in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup. Look for jockey Christophe Soumillon to settle Thunder Snow in fourth or fifth through the backstretch before moving him up in the far turn. He’s a “make one run” type of racehorse and could be vulnerable to closers if he moves too soon.

9 - Mendelssohn (12/1)
When on his game, Mendelssohn has good cruising speed and he should be one of the main pace factors in the Classic. Whether he has enough stamina to remain in contention during the last furlong of the Classic is another question.

2 - Roaring Lion (20/1)
Roaring Lion is 4-for-4 when racing in contests at or close to 1 ¼ miles and ships to Louisville on a four-race Group 1 winning streak. Obviously, the main question regarding his chance of winning the Classic boils down to track surface – he’s an elite turf horse, but has never raced on dirt before. Eleven of his 12 starts have come on grass, and one on Kempton Park’s artificial main track – a six-length win in September 2017. If he can handle the surface switch, he has a class advantage over most of the Classic field and looms as a leading win candidate given his proven stamina and stalking running style.

4 - Gunnevera (20/1)
He’s a grinding closer and usually gives a good effort in his races, but has so far been unable to break through against Grade 1 competition.  He could be very well trailing the field through the backstretch of the Classic if he draws in, and he’ll need a fast pace up front and a skillful ride from his jockey to enhance his chances of hitting the board at what should be long odds.

8 - Pavel (20/1)
This colt returns to the site of his career-best race hoping for a repeat performance in the Classic. He’s been ambitiously placed throughout his career, running in seven Grade 1 stakes out of 11 career starts. Most of the time, he’s settled for minor awards, including running a distant second behind Accelerate in his most recent start. His stalking running style should put him in a good spot in the race to get first jump on the pacesetters in early stretch. A note of caution: he’s raced five times at the Classic’s mile and a quarter distance and has been soundly defeated in four of those starts.

13 - Discreet Lover (20/1)
On Sept. 29, Discreet Lover won the 1 ¼-mile, Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup – one of the most tradition-rich stakes in North America – by closing from from the clouds to edge Thunder Snow by a neck. A one-dimensional closer, he capitalized on a swift pace in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and will need to get another one just as fast, or faster, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic against a field that includes Gold Cup runner-up Thunder Snow and third-place Mendelssohn.

12 - Axelrod (30/1)
This improving Florida-bred colt will have to take another step up in form – more of a leap, actually – to have a shot in the Classic, although his Equibase Speed Figures are on a positive trajectory. He earned a 111 figure when runner-up to McKinzie in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22, his most recent start, and prior to that posted back-to-back stakes wins in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby and Smarty Jones Stakes. During that three-race streak he was placed farther back in the field than in his earlier starts, and look for him to once again set well off of the pace with hopes of passing tired horses in Churchill’s long stretch.

Comments adapted from the 2018 Breeders' Cup Clasic Cheat Sheet. 

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