Breeders’ Cup Classic Betting Tips & Analysis – 5th November 2016

Santa Anita hosts the Breeders’ Cup for a record ninth occasion and the climactic race to finish things off is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It’s an incredibly lucrative race with a $6m purse and one which sees thoroughbreds aged three and above compete around the left handed dirt track.

Aidan O’Brien made the decision to withdraw Found and Highland Reel for this renewal due to the strength of the field for this renewal. As a result, we are in now in for an all American trained affair with California Chrome the odds on favourite to win this hugely prestigious race.

Trends To Look Out For

A good recent showing in a high class race has been somewhat of a pre-requisite for any horse looking for victory here. No winning horse in the last decade came into this race without finishing in the top three on their last Group 1 or 2 start. For nine of them, a Group/Grade 1 outing was their final preparation race so it’s not been a race which has allowed horses to make a huge step up in class.

The odds have been a big clue for this race. 2011 winner Drosselmeyer has been the only real shock since 2006 when he rode home at 20/1. All other winners have been priced lower than 9/1, something which applies to only three names this year. Rather surprisingly though, this hasn’t translated into success for the favourites who have won just one race in the last 10.

Betting Tips

  • Main Pick – California Chrome at 10/11 with Totesport
  • Each Way Tip – Shaman Ghost each way at 40/1 with Coral

Favourites have fared poorly here in recent years but it’s hard not to be tempted by the look of California Chrome as he goes for his seventh consecutive victory. He featured in this race in 2014 as a three year old, finishing just half a length behind the winner Bayern. Since then he has proved himself to be a force to be reckoned with over one and a quarter miles and has improved his record at Santa Anita, winning his last two starts here. Trainer Art Sherman not only believes that his five year old has the speed here, but he also has the ability to run the way 2015 winning jockey, Victor Espinoza, decides is best.

With it taking something special to defeat California Chrome, will anybody in the field be able to rise to the occasion? Frosted (8/1 with Sky Bet) certainly has the sprint speed but his record over this distance is a poor one and he underperformed when finishing third in his most recent outing, the Group 1 Woodward Stakes. A better option seems to be Arrogate who obliterated the field during the Travers Stakes by over thirteen lengths in August. The concern for him however is that he caught the rub of the green that race in what was debut appearance in a big race. Horses with such little Group 1 or 2 experience don’t tend to win here and at 11/4 with BetVictor, he’s not worth the gamble.

If any horse can surprise here, it looks to be the very generously priced Shaman Ghost. A top three finish seems a real possibility given that he was the horse that beat Frosted at the Woodward Stakes. That was his second impressive victory of the season having won the Grade 2 Brooklyn International Stakes earlier so he looks to have the necessary class. He also has he added benefit that his trainer is the son of Allen Jerkins, also known as the “Giant Killer” who knows a thing or two about producing a shock result.