Improbable has drawn the No. 8 post position for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and is the 5-2 morning line favourite for the marquee race of the season-ending World Championships at Keeneland.
One of three Bob Baffert-trained entries in the $6 million race for 3-year-olds and up, Improbable will have Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard and enters with a three-race winning streak and a second in 2020 after finishing fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita. Stablemate and fellow 4-year-old Maximum Security, who crossed the finish line first in last year’s Kentucky Derby before being disqualified to 17th for interference, is the 7-2 third choice from the No. 10 post.
The colt has rebounded impressively since that controversial outing at Churchill Downs, winning six of eight starts with two seconds.
Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law is the 3-1 second choice in the talent-rich 10-horse field and will start the 1 1/4-mile race from the No. 2 post. Kentucky Derby champion Authentic, a Baffert pupil who held off Tiz the Law in a wire-to-wire victory at Churchill, will go off at 6-1 from the No. 9 post.
Baffert will easily find his entries with all of them lined up alongside each other.
“Improbable, he deserves to be the favourite,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “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. And the horses are doing well.
‘If they show up, they have to bring their ‘A’ game.”
Tiz the Law’s trainer Barclay Tagg didn’t seem happy with his horse’s inside draw but will deal with it.
“I’d rather have that than the 15 (post) in a 15-horse race,” he said. “It is what it is. He’s fit; he’s healthy; he’s doing well. I can’t do any more for him.”
Filly Swiss Skydiver, who won last month’s Preakness against males and was a Classic pre-entry, opted to run against her own gender in Breeders’ Cup Distaff over 1 1/8 miles. She’s the 2-1 second choice from the No. 5 post after Monomoy Girl, the 8-5 favourite from the No. 10 post. Monomoy Girl won the Distaff in 2018 at Churchill Downs on the way to earning the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly.
Trainer Brad Cox has no problem with her starting spot.
“She was 11 of 11 in the Breeders’ Cup in 2018,” he said. “She was 14 of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks. I love it.”
Saturday’s Classic will cap 14 feature events over two days at Keeneland and go off without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The weekend features other notable favourites vying for signature wins.
Jackie’s Warrior is the 7-5 favourite with jockey Joel Rosario from the No. 7 post for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that cap Friday’s five-race feature card for 2-year-olds. The colt is 4-0 and coming off a 5 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 10.
Unbeaten Princess Noor, another Baffert horse, is the 9-5 choice from the No. 7 post for the Juvenile Fillies over 1 1/16th mile. She leads what is now a seven-horse field, the only race not full of entries, after Princess Secret was denied entry after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid Stanozolol.
Gary B. Graves, The Associated Press