By Jarrod Horak
The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the main event. It is one of the original seven BC races and Wild Again was the initial winner at Hollywood Park in 1984 under Pat Day. The 2023 renewal will be held at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Nov. 4, and they will be traveling a mile and a quarter on the main track.
Recent Breeders’ Cup Classic Results
Flightline put on a show in the 2022 BC Classic at Keeneland. He chased Life Is Good, took over with a quarter of a mile to run, and cruised by 8 1/4 lengths while under a hand ride. Flavien Prat rode the winner for John Sadler and he paid $2.88 as the overwhelming favorite.
Knicks Go controlled the pace in the 2021 Classic at Del Mar for Joel Rosario and Brad Cox. Prior to the BC, he captured the Cornhusker (G3), Whitney (G1), and Lukas Classic (G2).
Authentic wired the field in the 2020 Classic at Keeneland for John Velazquez and Bob Baffert. His stablemate Improbable completed the exacta.
The Santa Anita Years
The Breeders’ Cup Classic has been held at Santa Anita Park ten times. Two horses wired the field (Fort Larned, Bayern), and four stalkers and four closers won the other eight. A pair of 3-year-olds got the job done (Bayern, Arrogate), and Bob Baffert saddled both.
Two overseas shippers won the BC Classic at Santa Anita (Arcangues, Raven’s Pass). Arcangues lit up the tote to the tune $269.20 for Jerry Bailey and Andre Fabre in 1993.
Zenyatta is the lone female equine star to capture the BC Classic, and she pulled off her historic victory at the Great Race Place in 2009.
The chart below shows all 10 winners of the BC Classic at Santa Anita, and it includes winning riders, trainers, post positions, running styles, win payoffs, and final preps.
Jockeys to Watch
Mike Smith shows the way with four BC Classic wins (Skip Away, Zenyatta, Drosselmeyer, Arrogate).
Joel Rosario won the Classic in 2018 and 2021 (Accelerate, Knicks Go).
Trainers to Watch
Bob Baffert saddled the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic in four of the last nine years, and they were all 3-year-olds.
Bill Mott (Cigar, Drosselmeyer) and Steve Asmussen (Curlin, Gun Runner) both have two Classic wins.
John Sadler took this race in 2018 with Grade 1 Pacific Classic hero Accelerate, and he struck again in 2022 with Pacific Classic winner Flightline.
Breeders’ Cup Classic Trends
Eleven of the last twelve Classic winners had prior experience at 1 1/4 miles but not 2021 hero Knicks Go. He stole this race in his first attempt at a mile and a quarter. You have to go back to 2009 to find the last winner to have never raced at 1 1/4 miles prior to the Classic, and that horse was Zenyatta.
Since 2014, we have seen four sophomore winners (Bayern, American Pharoah, Arrogate, Authentic), and Bob Baffert saddled all four of those runners. He saddles 3-year-old colt Arabian Knight this year.
Overall, I want my BC Classic top contender to have good form at a mile and a quarter with a win at that distance a definite plus. Running style versatility is a big positive.
Check out these other Breeders’ Cup Saturday 2023 articles: