2016 Breeders Cup Classic Preview: Breaking Down the Odds on Favorites

By Paul Wilson
Published on October 27, 2016
Horses Racing on Track

The 2016 Breeders Cup Classic is just around the corner, with favorite California Chrome and a fairly loaded field gearing up for the massive November 5th race. Horse racing fans are eagerly anticipating the genre’s biggest event since the Triple Crown, where some of the top thoroughbred’s will compete for the coveted first place finish.

California Chrome is the natural favorite at betting sites like Bovada, as he finished third in the event back in 2014 and has been on quite the tear in 2016. Best remembered for his strong performance at the Triple Crown back in 2014, California Chrome will look to add a huge Breeders Cup Classic win to his impressive resume, which would tack on a ridiculous seventh straight first place run.

As dominant as California Chrome has been and as heavily favored as the horse is, he is not alone in a stacked field that features two other horses with +800 odds or better, as well as eight total serious contenders with odds listed at +2000 or greater.

While there are certainly some viable Breeders Cup Classic sleepers to account for, anyone considering doing any horse racing betting next month will probably be focusing on the top contenders. To get a better idea of which horses truly have a good chance at taking down the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic, let’s break down all nine horses with +2000 odds or better:

2016 Breeders Cup Classic Odds – Top 9

Horse Name
Odds to Win
1. California Chrome+105
2. Arrogate+300
3. Frosted+800
4. Songbird+1600
5. Connect+1800
6. Dortmund+1800
7. Melatonin+2000
8. Shaman Ghost+2000
9. Nyquist+2000

*Odds updated 10/27/16 at 3:18PM.

California Chrome is the clear favorite, but Arrogate has been running well and per the oddsmakers, figures to be the top candidate to stage an upset at this year’s Breeders Cup Classic. Let’s break down each horse and see where they all stand going into November’s race.

California Chrome

What is even left to be said about California Chrome? Not only is this an experienced champion, but California Chrome nearly stole the entire Triple Crown back in 2014. After wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, California Chrome wasn’t quite good enough to complete the sweep, but still tied for fourth.

That isn’t where California Chrome’s impressive racing history ended, of course, as we’ve see the horse go on to do more great things, including five impressive Stakes wins after taking a break in 2015.

California Chrome is back to being dominant and looks primed to cap off an epic run with a huge win at November’s Breeders Cup Classic.


One key reason why Arrogate is favored to give California Chrome a run for its money? Bob Baffert. The legendary trainer has not only tied for the most Breeders Cup Classic wins (two) but he’s won them in back to back years (2014 and 2015). A win this year with the impressive Arrogate would put him in the record books as the winningest trainer in the Breeders Cup Classic, while also giving him an insane three titles in a row at the storied horse racing championship.

As big of an impact as Baffert has had, he’s not the only reason to consider betting on Arrogate to snag the win. The horse has also performed extremely well, with its biggest hit coming at his first ever Stakes appearance – first at the 2016 Travelers Stakes.

We don’t know much about this horse, but we do know he has four wins out of five races and is coming in red hot. With one of the best trainers ever getting him ready, Arrogate makes total sense as a top contender and for some, is actually the true favorite to take home the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic.


Frosted comes in with the third best Breeders Cup Classic odds, having won the Whitney Handicap, which granted the horse entry in the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic. Frosted has had a very up and down career, but has a strong six wins under its belt and has finished worse than 3rd just four times in 18 career runs.

It’s easy to see why Frosted is among the top Breeders Cup Classic contenders, as Frosted’s recent form is strong with two wins and one third place finish. Considering Frosted’s only losses over its last five races came to California Chrome and Shaman Ghost, there is reason to believe a good run could result in an upset win on November 5th.


Songbird enters this year’s Breeders Cup Classic with solid odds, which makes sense since she enters with an impressive 11-0 record. Songbird isn’t just an unbeaten horse, however. She has racked up some seriously impressive hardware.

That ends up being Songbird’s main calling card as she heads into the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic – her dominance. Not only has she won all 11 of her races, but she’s done it in style, with no race being closer than 3.5 lengths.

Songbird’s ability to dominate early and also recover late is probably what makes her so dangerous. Even if she falls behind early, she could still be a viable threat to California Chrome when it’s all said and done at this year’s Breeders Cup Classic.

Connect and Dortmund

Connect won recently and would be a viable contender here with solid odds, but it doesn’t look like we’ll see this horse at the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic:

Bovada still has Connect listed in their odds (which will soon be updated ahead of November 5th’s Breeders Cup Classic), which reminds us of how the list can change greatly in a matter of weeks.

Dortmund is also skipping the Breeders Cup Classic:

This news can shift and change as time goes by, so be sure to check for the most updated news and Breeders Cup Classic odds as we get closer to the main event. There are other Breeders Cup Classic races, while some trainers may be opting to save their horses for races later this year or for early 2017.

A final list of horses and odds should be available ahead of the actual race.


One horse that has good odds and will be in this year’s Breeders Cup Classic is Melatonin, who enters ablaze, with three first place finishes in its last three runs. Melatonin has been very strong lately and has posted a 3rd place finish or better in six straight races.

Melatonin may not be a lock to win the Breeders Cup Classic, but we’ve seen this horse fail to hit at least third place just once in its career and the roll this horse has been on is very interesting. Melatonin doesn’t look like the top challenger when you look at the odds, but this five-year old has plenty of experience and so far in 2016 has run very well. If you’re looking for a “sleeper” favorite, this could be it.

Shaman Ghost

Much like Melatonin, Shaman Ghost is very experienced and comes in hot with a successful 2016 run – two wins and 3rd and 5th place runs. The big thing Shaman Ghost has going for it is its experience at a high level (six first place runs) but even better is a win over Frosted in its last race.

Given the fact that Frosted carries the third best Breeders Cup Classic odds at the moment, we need to consider Shaman Ghost as a sneaky favorite, as well.


Of all of the top Breeders Cup Classic favorites, Nyquist feels like the sneakiest. It’s pretty arguable this wouldn’t be a sneaky bet at all, though, despite playable +2000 Breeders Cup Classic odds.

Nyquist is no stranger to big races or the limelight, having won its first eight races of its career and faring well at the 2016 Triple Crown. As you may remember, Nyquist was undefeated going into the 2016 Triple Crown, where he claimed the Kentucky Derby before sputtering out (3rd) at the Preakness Stakes.

It’s been downhill for Nyquist since then, as the horse was held out of the Belmont Stakes and has struggled to regain its previously dominant form (4th and 6th in its last two races). The talent and experience is there, but Nyquist hasn’t been getting it done lately. Still, with very playable Breeders Cup Classic odds, this might be the favorite to test come November 5th.

Breeders Cup Classic Prediction

As you can see, there are a ton of horses to consider ahead of the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic, and this is really only a look at the “favorites” that currently carry the best odds. The actual Breeders Cup Classic lineup and odds should shift a bit before the race actually arrives and we’ll certainly want to consider some of the sleeper options, as well.

For now, we feel pretty good about this group of horses. Most of them are quite talented and have been either running well or have been flat out dominating. California Chrome is the easy odds on favorite here and should probably win, but if we’re looking for a good bet and a return of profit, Songbird and Nyquist feel like fun fliers.

Our Pick
That being said, California Chrome is probably the most talented horse in this competition and is as hot as anyone. We still like California Chrome to seal the deal with a big win on November 5th.
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