Where is the Classic division?

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Kennedy
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:09 am

In the last few years we've been pretty lucky not just to have good Breeders Cup Classic winners but also, on paper, those races had some really strong and logical contenders. We may look at a list of the past 3 winners which contains American Pharoah, Arrogate and Gun Runner and even forget that Pharoah was facing Tonalist and Honor Code. Arrogate had to face California Chrome at the peak of his powers and of course Gun Runner may have dominated the Classic but West Coast, Arrogate and even Collected loomed large in the build up.

This all leads to me ask. Where on earth are all the Classic contenders this year? I know we can't always be spoiled for choice but look at the lists from Watchmaker (DRF) and the NTRA.

Watchmaker top 10 Older Dirt Males
Gun Runner
West Coast
Accelerate
City of Light
Bee Jersey
Mind Your Biscuits
Pavel
Diversify
Army Mule
Backyard Heaven

NTRA Top poll
Justify
Accelerate
West Coast
Unique Bella
Mind Your Biscuits
Monomoy Girl
Bee Jersey
Abel Tasman
City of Light
Diversify

These lists basically come down to West Coast, Accelerate, Diversify and maybe Pavel? West Coast hasn't lifted a hoof since March either so time would already seem to be running short for him to make the Classic.

Do we think that the Classic will end up attracting a bunch of horses from other "divisions" like Distaffers or even Turf horses?

Are there any top contenders that are just bubbling below the surface at this point or is mediocrity the expectation if West Coast does not return?
luvsgeldings
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:16 am

thought I heard Collected was coming back - will be interesting to see how he does later this year. and is Audible ever coming back? would love to see him come back strong.
peeptoad
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:18 am

Accelerate is the most obvious horse, at least of those already established in the older male (main track) division.
West Coast hasn't posted a timed work since before Dubai... ?


City of Light is probably not a classic distance horse, though he ran so well at OP that it wouldn't surprise if the connections give him another chance in the san Diego or some other race.
Most of the rest of the established horses in this division are either hit or miss (Irish War Cry) or they've been sidlined for one reason or another. Not unusal in this day and age, unfortunately, since most in this division get retired early if left intact.
Maybe we'll get lucky and Pavel or Good Samaritan (or Mind Your Biscuits, who is apparently going to the Whitney next) will develop a bit more into top older horses, otherwise, yeah, I guess there's a dearth at the top level right now. Maybe the bar us just lower (normal) for a change.
Seems this has become more common recently with the 3yos taking more and more action later in the year, e.g. Arrogate, Shared Belief, Pharoah, etc. The Gun Runners are fewer and farther between.
BaroqueAgain1
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:01 pm

Yeah, the 10 furlong division has been hit hard this year, with top horses like Audible, Justify and West Coast sidelined with various issues. Mendelssohn hasn't looked like he's going to repeat his Dubai performance.
Diversify was tremendous in his last race, but is he just a Belmont horse? Has Army Mule even had a workout lately?
Has Watchmaker updated his list this year? :? Confused about Gun Runner being on top.
ETA: One horse who could be a great addition to the Classic field is Thunder Snow. He's a consistently good horse whose win in the World Cup wasn't some where-did-that-come-from aberration.
Kennedy
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:33 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:Yeah, the 10 furlong division has been hit hard this year, with top horses like Audible, Justify and West Coast sidelined with various issues. Mendelssohn hasn't looked like he's going to repeat his Dubai performance.
Diversify was tremendous in his last race, but is he just a Belmont horse? Has Army Mule even had a workout lately?
Has Watchmaker updated his list this year? :? Confused about Gun Runner being on top.
ETA: One horse who could be a great addition to the Classic field is Thunder Snow. He's a consistently good horse whose win in the World Cup wasn't some where-did-that-come-from aberration.
Gun Runner ran this year in the Pegasus, which is why he's atop that Watchmaker list. He'll likely be there most of the year.

Watchmaker does update that list weekly
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Starine
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:55 pm

If I were an oddsmaker I would list Accelerate as the tepid favorite. He's been very consistent this year in a division that is otherwise lacking a standout.

Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow will probably attract more attention than usual as this year's edition is looking noticeably weaker. I expected bigger things from Pavel by now and it will be interesting to see if his Stephen Foster was a fluke or if he is finally maturing.
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Miss Woodford
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:00 pm

Should add Hoppertunity to that list, he's the rare example of a legitimate 10F horse (really a 12f horse but they sadly just don't card enough races at that distance for him) and him and Accelerate are the only older males with multiple graded stakes wins over one mile on dirt this year.
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honneerider
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Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:17 am

I was thinking Hoppertunity, also! Could be his time.....
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Treve
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Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:38 am

Wouldn't that be something if Hopper finally cinched the BCC? He's run it it how many times now? Love that horse.
Thunder Snow is not negligible.
Is Talismanic still in training? I can't remember. Wondering if they might attempt the dirt experience again. Irish War Cry and Gunnevera are still around but woefully inconsistent.

As far as 3yos go... what about Good Magic? He ran two strong races in the first two legs of the TC.
And let's not forget Gronkowski's electric performance. One thing that is weird about the 3yo colts this year, a lot of them were very light and inexperienced on the TC trail, it's possible a few of them will take some interesting steps forward. It's easy to forget about the rest because we had a Triple Crown winner this year, but it's not like Hofburg performed poorly at Belmont either.
I still think Mendelssohn could show something interesting. He wasn't super consistent last year either though but at the time they chalked it up to immaturity.

There were also a couple of promising 3yos who weren't on the Derby trail or taken off it early and sidelined with injury that I wonder what happened to... Dak Attack, Exclamation Point, for example.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
stark
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Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:59 am

From the LA Times today.....

trainer Bob Baffert reports Collected has been training at a Kentucky farm and is expected at Del Mar next week to be assessed for a possible Classic title defense.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
peeptoad
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Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:07 pm

I also just read that West Coast has rejoined the Baffert stable and will be prepping for a "fall campaign"... hopefully that means the BC.
jimzin
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Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:27 pm

I believe Battle of Midway is back in training as he proved infertile. He is not a true 1 1/4 horse either but he was 3rd in the Derby and won the Breeders Cup mile as a 3 year old. Being a Smart Strike, I would think as a 4 yr old he would be tough at 1 1/4 against this years contenders.
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Starine
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Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:06 pm

Would you rate the lightly raced but talented "monster" Catalina Cruiser much chance?
BaroqueAgain1
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Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:28 pm

Kind of hard to ignore him after today's win in the San Diego. Although that was a badly-depleted field, he sure looked good. I'm looking forward to seeing where Sadler places him next; it sort of sounded like he's going to try to keep CC and Accelerate away from each other at the moment.
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Flanders
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Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:37 am

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:Kind of hard to ignore him after today's win in the San Diego. Although that was a badly-depleted field, he sure looked good. I'm looking forward to seeing where Sadler places him next; it sort of sounded like he's going to try to keep CC and Accelerate away from each other at the moment.
I know some people think its bad for the sport. I understand why an owner wouldn't race their top horses against each other when they could ship elsewhere and possibly win with both.
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Starine
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Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:19 am

They already shipped Accelerate east for the Oaklawn Handicap; I think we will see him in the Whitney.

Less experienced Catalina Cruiser will stay home for the San Diego.

Neither field is looking gangbusters at the moment so the Hronis horses look to have the others over a barrel.
stark
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Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:12 am

Starine wrote:They already shipped Accelerate east for the Oaklawn Handicap; I think we will see him in the Whitney.
???

Jay Privman
‏@DRFPrivman

Official time of 59.60 seconds for Accelerate in 5f work just now at @DelMarRacing
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Starine
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Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:48 pm

stark wrote:
Starine wrote:They already shipped Accelerate east for the Oaklawn Handicap; I think we will see him in the Whitney.
???

Jay Privman
‏@DRFPrivman

Official time of 59.60 seconds for Accelerate in 5f work just now at @DelMarRacing
I meant he shipped earlier in the year. You know, in April?
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