Early Favorites For The 2022 Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup races are held at the end of the fall season, but most of the major players make themselves known during the spring and summer. As the Saratoga meet comes to a close, let’s take a look at some probable early favorites for Thoroughbred racing’s championship series.
Of course, these horses are also pointing toward fall races. If you plan on betting in Breeders’ Cup prep races, at famous race tracks like Saratoga through TwinSpires, make sure to pay an eye on the competitors below.
Last year’s Eclipse Champion Sprinter hasn’t missed a beat in 2022; if anything, he’s gotten tougher and faster than ever. The son of Maclean’s Music has been undefeated so far this year, with victories in the Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, the Grade I Churchill Downs Stakes, the Grade II True North Handicap, and the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. The 105 Beyer he earned in the Vanderbilt was the highest so far this year for six furlongs – the distance of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Filly and Mare Sprint
Matareya’s bloodlines (by Pioneerofthe Nile out of a Bernardini mare) may suggest route racing, but she solidified herself as a solid sprint contender with wins in the Grade III Beaumont Stakes and the Grade II Eight Belles Stakes at seven furlongs, which is the distance of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Matareya also took the one-mile Grade I Acorn Stakes before suffering a rough trip in the Grade I Test Stakes, finishing an unlucky third as the favorite.
Life Is Good
Life Is Good’s win in the Grade I Whitney Stakes at 1 ⅛ miles may propel his connections toward the richer Breeders’ Cup Classic instead of the Dirt Mile, a race he won last year. However, his win in the Grade II John A. Nerud Stakes at seven furlongs indicates that he is still as sharp as ever at shorter distances. Being by Into Mischief, he has just as much propensity for speed as he does for staying power.
Golden Pal, a four-year-old son of Uncle Mo, became one of the few horses to win two different Breeders’ Cup races last year when he added the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint to his 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint score, and he hopes to up the ante this year with a repeat victory. Although a start at Ascot in the Group I Kings Stand Stakes was unsuccessful, Golden Pal was victorious in his other two 2022 starts, the Grade II Shakertown Stakes and the Grade III Troy Stakes.
Filly and Mare Turf
Bleecker Street had a bad trip in her first career loss, the Grade I Diana Stakes on July 16th, but prior to that had won all of her seven starts. Five of those victories came in 2022, showing that the filly by Quality Road has not only consistency, but toughness. Her class has been proven by her four graded stakes victories, all in 2022: the Grade III Endeavour Stakes, the Grade II Hillsborough Stakes, the Grade III Modesty Stakes, and the Grade I New York Stakes.
Although the connections of the undefeated Baaeed have not indicated that they will target the Breeders’ Cup races, it is a certainty that he would be favored in either the Mile or the Turf should he contest them. Regarded as a miler until his smashing victory in the 1 5/16 mile Group I Juddmonte International, Baaeed is presently regarded as not only one of the best active racehorses in the world but one of the best that Europe has seen in the past decade.
Previously the winner by daylight of the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks, Nest emphatically sealed her position as America’s best three-year-old filly with her victory in the Grade I Alabama Stakes. Distance is a strong point for the Curlin filly, as she had previously finished second in the Belmont Stakes at 1 ½ miles. Trainer Todd Pletcher has indicated that although another start against the boys is not necessarily out of the picture, he intends to keep her running against her own sex.
As of the time of writing, the undefeated son of Tapit has yet to race beyond a mile, but Flightline’s connections have indicated all along that he has the stamina to run longer distances. His first attempt to do so will come with his run in the Grade I Pacific Classic on Sept. 3. That race, held at the same 1 ¼ mile distance as the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will show whether Flightline, who has been training quite well, could be the superhorse some have touted him as.