The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is the centerpiece of a terrific day of horse racing at Santa Anita on Saturday. Going as the 12th and final race on the program, post time for the 1 1/4-mile event is estimated for 8:35 p.m. EST.
#4 CALIFORNIA CHROME is the deserving morning-line favorite at even-money on the strength of a sensational 2016 campaign. He’s a perfect 6-for-6, including wins in the Dubai World Cup, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes. He’s been on the lead in his last two victories but he’s never had a problem stalking, which he may have to do with the presence of a couple of speed merchants in this field of 10. No matter how Victor Espinoza decides to ride CALIFORNIA CHROME, he should be able to get the best horse in the world home first.
#10 ARROGATE (3-1) may give CALIFORNIA CHROME a run for his money early. Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, ARROGATE uncorked arguably the most impressive performance of the year in Saratoga’s Travers Stakes, winning by 13 lengths in a gate-to-wire romp. However, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to replicate that effort. In fact, odds are he won’t as he hasn’t been out since that race in August, and has never run a race comparable to that before. I’ll be playing against ARROGATE in the exacta looking to make a decent score.
#2 FROSTED (5-1) dazzled in the Met Mile off a layoff on Belmont Stakes day, and exits a fairly similar period of rest from his third in the Woodward Stakes for this. His Whitney win demonstrated his Met Mile victory was no fluke, so I’m fairly confident FROSTED and Joel Rosario will be involved late.
#9 HOPPERTUNITY (15-1) broke through with a nice win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last time out under John Velazquez, who maintains the mount on Saturday. HOPPERTUNITY’s as consistent as they come, and while I give him virtually no chance to win this race, he could hit the board at square odds.
#1 EFFINEX (15-1) disappointed when settling for second behind HOPPERTUNITY in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. However, he’s 7-for-8 ITM at this distance and was second all the way around when chasing American Pharoah in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Don’t dismiss even though Mike Smith jumps off, as Flavien Prat will take over.
The play: $6 exacta 4/2, $2 exacta 4/1,9 ($10)
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