By Jarrod Horak
The 2023 BC Classic features a dozen runners after the defection of Belmont Stakes hero Arcangelo. Grade 1 Pacific Classic winner Arabian Knight is the 3-1 morning line favorite for Bob Baffert. This article includes BC Classic video picks.
Arabian Knight has the most upside. His only loss in four starts was a show finish in the Grade 1 Haskell. He chased 61-1 longshot Awesome Strong through a wicked opening quarter of 22.80. Bob Baffert’s colt took the lead after that but that damage was done. That was also his first start since January and he kept fighting to the wire and was best of the rest in third. Geaux Rocket Ride and Mage got past him and appeared to be pulling away, but Arabian Knight seemed to get a second wind in late stretch and actually galloped out in front. He showed his heart in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. In that mile and a quarter race at Del Mar, he set the pace, turned away subsequent Awesome Again (G1) winner Slow Down Andy, and held off Haskell hero Geaux Rocket Ride to win by a neck, and he galloped out in front again. He is training forwardly for the BC Classic and should make his presence felt from the outset.
White Abarrio tracked overmatched front runner Giant Game in the Whitney (G1) and took over when that one folded, and that was his first win away from Gulfstream Park. He flopped in the 2022 Kentucky Derby in his lone try at this distance. Can he duplicate his Whitney? He will need to and then some, because the front runners are much better in this race and so are the stalkers. He arrived early at Santa Anita to prepare for this but there have been issues. The vets would not allow him to work twice. There was some sort of issue with his shoes and everything seems fine now. He had a local big work for this on Oct. 27.
Ushba Tesoro (JPN) won his last six starts. He captured the Dubai World Cup (G1) in March and tuned up for this with a nice win in Japan at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 27. He is 3-for-3 at a mile and a quarter and is one of the top contenders in this race.
BC Classic Video Picks