Breeders' Cup Classic Top 5: Who's left?
Every few weeks throughout the summer, I’ve ranked the top 10 contenders for the November 2 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita.But this week I’ve elected to cut my list down to five. With injuries and defections weakening the division, I’m having trouble coming up with a full list.
Two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Thunder Snow is done for the year, as is reigning champion 2-year-old Game Winner. Last year’s Classic runner-up, Gunnevera, hasn’t posted a timed workout since July, and the same goes for Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Gift Box. Top 3-year-old Maximum Security is doubtful to run after he missed the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) because of colic. Surprise Awesome Again Stakes (G1) winner Mongolian Groom isn’t nominated to the Breeders’ Cup, and Woodward Stakes (G1) winner Preservationist may have taken himself out of consideration with a dull effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). Even the connections of Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Code of Honor are hesitant to commit to the Classic.
The horses who remain comprise one of the most wide-open and confusing Classic divisions in recent memory. Here's my best shot at ranking the top contenders.
Racing on the front end is a new strategy for Vino Rosso, who showed improvement without blinkers for the first time since March of 2018. This was his second big effort over 1 1/4 miles this year, following his triumph in the May 27 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1). With his proven stamina and new frontrunning style, Vino Rosso could be a major danger in the Classic, especially over the tiring main track at Santa Anita.
Code of Honor