The last time Bob Baffert turned loose a Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite at Keeneland, that horse – American Pharoah – won him his second of three consecutive Classics. Now, Baffert has more than an outside chance of winning his fourth.
He has three outside chances. That’s because his three mainstays, Improbable, Authentic, and Maximum Security drew the three outside posts for Saturday’s 1 ¼-mile Classic – the $6 million marquee event of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races.
Organizers drew post positions for the 14 races, assigning the 184 horses into their posts and adding morning line odds from chief oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.
The Classic field is one of the deepest in recent memory. Six of the top eight horses in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Top Thoroughbred Poll hold 60% of the 10 spots. They include 5/2 favorite Improbable, who comes to the fray riding a three-race, Grade 1 winning streak. The reigning Hollywood Gold Cup, Whitney and Awesome Again stakes winner drew post 8.
Classic Field is So Deep, Reigning Derby Champ is 6/1
Next to him in post 9 is the reigning Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness Stakes runner-up, Authentic. He shares the same 6/1 odds as 7-year-old Tom’s d’Etat, who starts in post 4.
“That’s perfectly fine with us,” Tom’s d’Etat trainer Al Stall Jr. told the NTRA. “Honestly, the most interesting thing is the Baffert horses are in the three outside posts. I’m kind of glad Improbable is far away from us. But we’re fine. Absolutely, no excuses whatsoever.”
Breeders’ Cup Classic
Post Positions and Morning Line (Jockey)
- Tacitus, 30/1, (Jose Ortiz)
- Tiz the Law, 12/1 (Manny Franco)
- By My Standards, 10/1 (Gabriel Saez)
- Tom’s d’Etat, 6/1 (Joel Rosario)
- Title Ready, 30/1 (Corey Lanerle)
- Higher Power, 20/1 (Flavien Prat)
- Global Campaign, 20/1 (Javier Castellano)
- Improbable, 5/2, (Irad Ortiz Jr.)
- Authentic, 6/1 (John Velazquez)
- Maximum Security, 7/2, (Luis Saez)
Holding down post 10 on the outside — next to Authentic in this Baffert Classic sandwich — is the horse who finished first across the 2019 Kentucky Derby finish line, 7/2 third-favorite Maximum Security. He had his six-race winning streak snapped by stablemate Improbable in the Awesome Again in late September.
The Break is Big Here
“They’re going to be easy to watch. It’s not like the Sprint and they have a long run to the turn,” Baffert told reporters after the draw. “They have to break well. Improbable, he needs to break well. Improbable, he deserves to be the favorite. They all have speed and those jockeys will work it out. The riders I have are smart, they know their horse and are going to ride their own horse.”
We haven’t mentioned the second favorite, which brings us to 3/1 Tiz the Law coming out of post 2. We haven’t seen the standout 3-year-old Belmont Stakes and Travers champion since he lost that memorable Derby duel to Authentic on Sept. 5.
“I’d rather have that than the 14 in a 15-horse race,” Tiz the Law trainer Barclay Tagg said about the draw. “It is what it is. He’s fit. He’s healthy. He’s doing well. I can’t do any more for him.”