One of the most exciting horse racing events of the year is soon upon us, as the 2022 Breeders’ Cup will be staged at Keeneland on the first weekend in November.
As usual, this race happens on a different track every year. In 2021, the race was held in Del Mar, California for the second time in history (the first was in 2017). You can find more about this race and Del Mar here: https://www.twinspires.com/race-tracks/del-mar
Meanwhile, this year in Keeneland, Kentucky, the Challenge Series races for spots in the lucrative races are already being run across the globe, as the stars will have their sights set on the biggest prizes. But, which horses are among the early favorites to claim success at the Breeders’ Cup later this year?
The feature race of the week comes in the form of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Legendary horses have won this in the past, including Triple Crown hero American Pharoah. However, this year’s early favourite is Flightline for trainer John Sadler. This four-year-old sensationally burst onto the scene in December with a phenomenal performance in the G1 Malibu Stakes, reaching a speed figure of 126.
All his career runs to this point have reached figures of 110+, and he took another step towards Keeneland with success at Belmont Park in June when winning the G1 Metropolitan. However, there are still questions revolving around his ability to stretch out, and it could make for a fascinating ante-post market with both Life Is Good and Jack Christopher among the leading contenders.
The Breeders’ Cup Turf betting market is always very interesting to watch throughout the season, as the market is dominated by European runners. However, we are never really sure whether the runners in the betting will actually travel over to the U.S. There’s no surprise that the top two in the betting both have experience at competing at courses around the world, with last year’s winner, Yibir, currently the second favorite for Charlie Appleby.
However, it is the three-time Group 1 winner, Mishriff, that leads the current betting market. He was an unlucky loser in the Coral-Eclipse earlier in the year, and will return in a star-studded King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. There is little doubt that he is an international star, and a run in the Turf could be the perfect point to end his career on the track.
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff threw up one of the biggest shocks in 2021, as Japanese-trained Marche Lorraine shocked the world. However, the betting would certainly indicate that it should be a high-quality renewal in 2022, with no shortage of huge American stars. Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath and Belmont Stakes runner-up Nest are both in the mix, while Letruska and Clairiere also have a number of graded wins under their belt.
However, the current favorite comes in the form of Malathaat, for trainer Todd Pletcher. She was third in the Distaff in 2021 and returned to the track in April with success in the G3 Baird Doubledogdare at Keeneland. She was beaten by Clairere on her previous start in the G1 Ogden Phipps, but previous expertise at Keeneland could be a crucial factor in her favour for the race later in the year.
Golden Pal- Turf Sprint
One of the betting markets with a commanding favorite at present comes in the form of the Turf Sprint. Last year’s winner, Golden Pal for Wesley Ward is the dominant favourite at present. He has recorded three victories at Keeneland already, which includes success in the G2 Shakertown Stakes earlier this year. He also won the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at the track back in 2020.
However, he will need to get back to his best very quickly, as he was extremely disappointing at Royal Ascot last month. On that start, he finished last in the G1 Kings Stand Stakes, with Nature Strip proving that he was the dominant sprinter.