Picks & Analysis for Breeders' Cup Classic- This year's running of the Breeders' Cup Classic is very interesting. The field is loaded with inconsistency in my opinion. Code of Honor is the only horse coming into the race on a multi race winning streak and that's only the case because he was placed first after Vino Rosso was disqualified and placed 2nd behind Code of Honor in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
When breaking down the field you can come up with major question marks about each horse. While McKinzie has been the most talented and most consistent horse in the field the classic distance is a concern. While I'll play him in exotics he's not going to be my top selection as the expected favorite. Code of Honor has looked every bit the part since taking two months off after the Kentucky Derby, since then he's won three straight including back to back G1's in the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, my concern for him is traveling across the coast and running on a track he hasn't been over before. He only has one win outside of New York and that came in the G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream while on the Derby trail back in March. I think we know what we should expect out of Vino Rosso outside of a try at 7 Furlongs in the G1 Carter his 4 year old campaign has been solid and I expect another strong effort. Elate will look to take down the boys and while many will look at her undefeated record at the mile and a quarter distance I see two wins in the DelCap at that distance over fields had zero chance against her. If she's at her best she will be a handful, but her loss in her most recent start the G1 Spinster at Keeneland is concerning as it really is a race that she should have won.
With the question marks I have in looking at the favorites listed above it leads me to my top two selections. Higher Power and Yoshida. Higher Power I think is getting overlooked a little based off of the 3rd place finish behind McKinzie and Mongolian Groom in the G1 Awesome Again. In that race Higher Power stumbled badly out of the gate and had to race from the back of the field early. Prat worked hard to get him into the race and he battled hard to run third behind an extremely slow pace set by Mongolian Groom. If you throw out that start and Higher Power runs back to his G1 Pacific Classic form we have a legit contender here. I believe the 7 post is a great spot for him to land as he should be able to settle in nicely just off a pace that I don't expect to be super quick but will be solid for this caliber of race. If he stalks the leaders early and we see the turn of foot coming for home like we did in the Pacific Classic Higher Power will be a Breeders' Cup Classic champion.
My other top selection is Yoshida. I'm hoping this horse goes overlooked. He hasn't raced since a 3rd place finish in the G1 Woodward at Saratoga in August. I think that break was needed as his 5 year old campaign included trips to Gulfstream, Meydan, Churchill and Saratoga. We know what we are going to get from this horse. He tends to have one run and when he kicks it into gear he comes quick. Mike Smith will take the mount on Yoshida and I'm hoping that he will be a little more aggressive early to keep Yoshida within striking distance through the first half mile. I don't believe this pace will be quick enough for someone to run them down from the clouds but at the mile and a quarter distance I do believe that he will be flying past tiring horses in the stretch and if Smith can keep him close enough early he has a great shot to win it.