Breeders’ Cup Classic Betting Guide & Picks: Back Maximum Security To Triumph in $6 Million Feature (Saturday, Nov. 7)
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. PIctured: Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Maximum Security.
- The $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic in on deck, with 10 of the world's best horses going at it, at Keeneland.
- Kentucky Derby winner Authentic and morning-line favorite Improbable lead the star-studded field.
- Jeremy Pond breaks down the marquee event and tells us why he likes Maximum Security to triumph.
Talk about a star-studded field of 10 champion horses slated to enter the gate for Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course.
Honestly, I have a hard time recalling the last time we’ve had a Classic field as deep and loaded with this kind of talent. Top to bottom, this group of multiple Grade I winners is all class, with the majority of the entrants in with a legitimate shot at reaching the winner’s circle.
Post time for the Breeders’ Cup finale is set for 5:18 p.m. ET, with some of the world’s best horses ages 3 years old and upward going 1 1/4 miles on the Keeneland dirt track.
Broadcast coverage takes place all day on TVG, with NBC Sports airing racing from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. before moving to NBC for the 2:30-5:30 p.m. slot.
That being said, let’s take a look at this stacked group for the featured race that closes out a weekend of drama and excitement in the heart of thoroughbred horse-racing country:
The Classic Field
No. 1 Tacitus — 20/1 (Jose Ortiz/William Mott): The 4-year-old has just one win in his last 10 races, which has me looking elsewhere. Tacitus finished fourth in last year’s Kentucky Derby, but really hasn’t done anything that shows me he can get past the top contenders.
No. 2 Tiz The Law — 3/1 (Manuel Franco/Barclay Tagg): You are never going to find me saying a bad thing about the Travers and Belmont Stakes winner. I love this horse and grit he showed in that tight loss to Authentic in the Kentucky Derby, which was his last time he raced. The 3-year-old likes to sit just off the pace and could work out a perfect trip if the front runners go too fast early.
Tiz The Law, with jockey Manny Franco aboard, is a must use in all exotic wagering. Bottom line, it would be not be a surprise if he winds up with the win.
No. 3 By My Standards — 10/1 (Gabriel Saez/Bret Calhoun): The 4-year-old by Goldencents has won six of 12 lifetime races, but is probably going to get caught up in a hot pace in the opening half mile. Worth playing underneath in your exotics, but I can’t see him with a winning shot coming down the stretch.
No. 4 Tom’s d’Etat — 6/1 (Joel Rosario/Albert Stall Jr.): The overlay of the field. The 7-year-old is coming off a disappointing third in the G1 Whitney at Saratoga, where he broke badly and finished well behind winner Improbable.
I firmly expect the son of Smart Strike, winner of 11 of 19 career starts, to rebound nicely off that performance and potentially upset the apple cart in this affair. Another must-use contender in your exotics.
No. 5 Title Ready — 30/1 (Corey Lanerie/Dallas Stewart): The 5-year-old has two wins in four starts on the Keeneland dirt, but he’s up against it this race against much better horses. This race could set up for a deep closer like this longshot, but I’m looking elsewhere.
No. 6 Higher Power — 20/1 (Flavien Prat/John Sadler): Winless in four starts this year, the 2019 Pacific Classic winner is really up against it. Maybe he can pick up a share in your deep exotic plays, but don’t bank on it.
No. 7 Global Campaign — 20/1 (Javier Castellano/Stanley M. Hough): Any horse with Castellano aboard strikes a touch of fear in me, but I am fading the 4-year-old son of Curlin and don’t think he will be in the mix down the lane.
No. 8 Improbable — 5/2 (Irad Ortiz Jr./Bob Baffert): Trainer Bob Baffert has three horses entered in the Classic, with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard the deserved morning-line favorite.
The 4-year-old son of City Zip has done nothing wrong during his campaign and enters the race as the top older horse in North America. He took advantage of Maximum Security’s poor start in the G1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita, which was his last start prior this race.
I am little superstitious when it comes to whole lot of things, so when I see Improbable came up well short as the favorite — like he is here — in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness, it concerns me. Yes, those races were more than a year ago and he’s gotten much better.
Maybe he’s simply come into better form with age and maturity, much like Gun Runner did during the time between his 3- and 4-year-old campaigns en route to an unreal 2017 season.
Improbable is in my Top 3 picks in this race, but I’m going to look to another Baffert charge to outperform him in this race.
No. 9 Authentic — 6/1 (John Velazquez/Bob Baffert): Like Tom’s d’Etat, this year’s Kentucky Derby winner is a big overlay in this spot. For me, you have to thank that loss to Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness as the reason why.
Authentic could not get past the determined filly in deep stretch and, for me, might come in a tad gassed after that October battle at Pimlico Race Course.
I will use Authentic in my exotic plays, but really feel he’s up against it facing older horses for the first time. He catches a 4-pound break as a 3-year-old, but I don’t think that’s going to make much of a difference in this tough spot.
No. 10 Maximum Security — 7/2 (Luis Saez/Bob Baffert): The four-time Grade I winner has put together one of the craziest careers in racing history.
He started out his career running in a low-level, $16,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park before going on a South Florida tear, which included a G1 Florida Derby win. Maximum Security then went on to cross the finish line first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified and placed 17th after causing interference entering the top of the stretch.
Since that Derby “loss,” Maximum Security has gone on to win the world’s richest race — the $20 million Saudi Cup — and planted himself as the top older horse in North America. As mentioned, he’s coming off a loss to Improbable, but he’s been training well and should be raring to go.
Expect nothing less than a monster performance from the Baffert horse.
I tend to favor more experienced horses in the Classic. For me, you simply cannot put a price tag on the value of an extra year facing first-class competition at the highest level of sport.
That said, I am backing Maximum Security to exact his revenge against Improbable and win the Classic. Baffert had him working well in the lead-up to this affair, which has me fully expecting the 4-year-old son of former Juvenile champion New Year’s Day to bounce back in grand fashion.
That said, I expect somewhere near a lifetime-best performance en route to the fifth Grade I win in his storied career.
I will play Maximum Security across the board, then sprinkle a little on Tom’s d’Etat in my Place and Show wagering. Too much is being made from that Whitney defeat at Saratoga this past summer, and I think he’s sitting on a big effort following the three-month layoff. You’re also going to get a nice price on the multiple G1 winner as well.
Also, I’m going to box those two with Tiz The Law and Improbable in my exacta wagering. Use all of them in your trifecta play, along with By My Standards and Authentic to cover the back of your exotic tickets.
Breeders’ Cup Classic Picks
- $10 Win/Place/Show: No. 10 Maximum Security (7/2) — $30 Ticket
- $10 Place/Show: No. 4 Tom’s d’Etat (6/1): $20 ticket
- $1.50 Exacta box wager: 2/4/8/10 — $36 Ticket
- $1 Trifecta wager: 8/10 over 2/4/8/9/10 over 2/3/4/8/9/10 — $40 Ticket