So here we go and it’s time for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships 2022, where equine superstars from across the globe will descend on Keeneland racetrack to battle for more than $31 million in prize money and the accolade of being crowned a Breeders’ Cup champion.
Of course, the Brits will be here and trying to snaffle more of the loot, and they along with legendary Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien will surely bag a few Sportsbooks.
The Breeders’ Cup runs over two days, Friday, November 4, and Saturday, November 5. For the Brits, Saturday is a big day as they traditionally celebrate “Guy Fawkes Night.”
Guy Fawkes Night centers around the events of November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords.
The plotters had intended to assassinate King James I and his parliament. Celebrating that the king had survived, people lit bonfires around London.
Months later, the 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure and since then Bonfire Night takes place every November 5 with a celebration of bonfires and fireworks.
But enough of the history lesson, because we are getting ready for our own fireworks at the Breeders’ Cup, and one horse who has exploded onto the racing scene over the last few months is the American-trained superstar Flightline, the world’s highest-rated racehorse and possibly the best we have seen since Secretariat.
Breeders’ Cup Top Contenders
So let’s look at the main races during the Breeders’ Cup and pick out some of the top contenders we expect to be on everybody’s list when it comes to placing your Breeders’ Cup wagers.
Breeders’ Cup Classic Top Horses
This looks like an exciting race as we have Flightline coming up against Epicenter and this looks like a match that everybody has been crying out to see. Epicenter has had an incredible campaign, finishing second in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
He missed the Belmont Stakes and that paid dividends as he went on to win the Grade 1 Travers by over five lengths. He did a recent workout at Keeneland over five furlongs where he breezed easily when clocking just over a minute flat. He looks in tiptop shape.
Flightline has been a monster in his career to date and there is no doubt he has a serious engine, but he has never met a horse with the talent of Epicenter, and come post time on Saturday, he’ll be facing the biggest challenge he has ever faced on a racetrack.
He has won his races with so much ease, so it will be interesting to see how he handles a battle because Epicenter will battle all the way to the wire.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Horses
Always a race the Europeans target very heavily, this year is no different. Of course, the Europeans race mainly on turf so they have a big advantage here and so we focus on two of their best chances, the John and Thady Gosden-trained Mishriff and the Charlie Appleby-trained Nations Pride.
Mishriff has been one of the stars on the European racing scene for some time, and it’s possible this might be his last race, so the Gosdens will be aiming to get him there in absolute top shape. He has won a ton of Grade 1s, including the Prix du Jockey Club, a Saudi Cup, a Sheema Classic and a Juddmonte International.
The question is if he has lost the edge as he moves into his older years. The recent run when an 18-length 13th in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe says he might have, but don’t write off this gritty fighter as connections roll the dice one last time at the Breeders’ Cup. If bringing his A-game to the table, he could be a value bet on the boards.
Godolphin and Charlie Appleby are no strangers here on U.S. turf and in Nations Pride, they have a horse on the up and it’s a clue that they have come here via the same route as last year’s Sportsbook Yibir.
American race fans will have seen him in recent action stateside where he won the Saratoga Derby and that win was no fluke with the runner-up Annapolis franking that form by winning the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile at Keeneland in early October.
Nations Pride has the stateside form in the book and must go very close.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff Horse Contenders
The big one for the fillies and mares, what a blockbuster we have. We talked about fireworks earlier and here we have arguably the best two fillies in the U.S. taking in this classic race and barn buddies Nest and Malathaat dominate this for trainer Todd Pletcher.
After finishing second to Mo Donegal in the Belmont Stakes, Nest has not looked back and she looks like one of the best fillies to come out of the U.S. for many years.
She is currently the 2/1 fave at the time of writing, but it’s not going to be easy for her with five-time graded stakes Sportsbook Malathaat being a tough foe. It is also very important to note that Malathaat is 3-3 at Keeneland, so a tough nut to crack.
Breeders’ Cup Mile Horses
This is a race targeted heavily by the Europeans and one they have a good record in, but can they stop the home-trained runners?
Chad Brown won this in 2019 and he has two arrows to aim this time around with Regal Glory his top hope. She has run well in recent Grade 1s and Brown’s 2019 Sportsbook Uni was also a mare, so he clearly likes to target this race with a classy girl who will be getting an allowance.
His other runner Domestic Spending has not run for over a year and his recent track breeze over five furlongs in 1.01 and change shows he is on the right track, and trainer Brown has been happy with his prep heading in here.
The Europeans have the very progressive Kinross, who is likely to be partnered by Frankie Dettori, and he has won his last two Group 1s in great style.
Breeders’ Cup Top Horse Contenders Conclusion
Saturday is the main day of the meet and all eyes will be on Flightline and Epicenter in the Classic, which looks sure to go down in history one way or the other.
Make sure to keep an eye out for our other features coming soon, which include a look at the Breeders’ Cup odds, a rundown of our expert’s picks and long shots for the card on Friday, and we’ll be looking at some selected prop bets next week as we get nearer to the kickoff of Breeders’ Cup 2022.