2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Betting Preview – Sleepers to Consider and My Top Pick
Published on October 19, 2018
One of horse racing’s finest events returns next month, as the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic prepares to fire off at Churchill Downs on November 3rd.
Gun Runner took home first place in 2017, but a new favorite emerges this year with Accelerate leading the way (+300 at the Bovada racebook).
Accelerate isn’t exactly alone, though.
McKinzie (+600) pulls in as the expected runner-up at most horse racing betting sites, followed closely behind by Catholic Boy (+650) and West Coast (+700).
The odds dip a bit from there, but after that favored four-pack, there figures to be quite a bit of value for bettors to tap into.
Of course, value is in the eye of the beholder. It also doesn’t equate to guaranteed winnings.
Still, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic doesn’t even have a final field yet. More importantly, the Breeders’ Cup Classic odds you stumble upon now aren’t set in stone.
That could make any early wagers classic gaffes, or it could just as easily mean you have an amazing chance at locking in absolute bargains.
There are a handful of potential gems in this field. Provided they actually run, there are five in particular I’ve got my eye on for November 3rd.
In this Breeders’ Cup Classic betting preview, I’ll list these five contenders and explain why they’re on my sleepers list. I’ll also offer my top pick for who will win the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Many will remember Mendelssohn for his failure at the Kentucky Derby earlier this year, but he was actually a viable sleeper going into that event.
Prior to a 20th place run in the first leg of the 2018 Triple Crown, the Michael B. Tabor colt ripped off three straight wins – the last of which came at the UAE Derby.
Mendelssohn has since bounced back from his Kentucky Derby gaffe, finishing inside the top three in each of his last three runs. That includes a second-place finish behind Catholic Boy at the Travers Stakes and a third-place finish right behind Thunder Snow at the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Mendelssohn can compete and knows how to get up front. He’s a fine try at this +1100 price tag.
The aforementioned Thunder Snow has even more experience than Mendelssohn, recently got past him at the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and offers slightly better value.
This is another colt that isn’t exactly a huge threat to compete up front, at least not at first glance.
However, Thunder Snow has some nice wins under his belt (seven, to be exact), while a victory at the 2018 Dubai World Cup is obviously very tough to ignore.
Consistency has not been this colt’s strong suit, but the upside is certainly there. For this fun price, Thunder Snow isn’t a terrible gamble.
Here’s another horse you may remember if you think back to the 2016 Preakness Stakes. A Bob Baffert trainee, Collected was an appealing sleeper going into that race, largely due to three career wins.
Although he’s slowed down as of late, Collected still finished second at last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and ran third at the San Antonio Stakes.
The success hasn’t been there for Collected in 2018, but the history, pedigree, and natural talent shouldn’t go unnoticed. At +1600, this is a mighty fine sleeper if he makes the final cut.
I’m a little shocked at the high-end value with a couple of horses, and it starts with Gunnevera, who is best remembered as one of the top contenders going into the 2017 Kentucky Derby (7th) as well as that year’s Preakness Stakes (5th).
Gunnevera did not deliver in those tense races, but he locked down four career wins up until that point and even had a strong showing at the 2017 Florida Derby (3rd).
This is another horse that bounced back from some weak Triple Crown runs, taking first place at the 2017 Tangelo Stakes and in 2018 placing second at the Woodward.
That was an impressive showing, as he finished only behind Yoshida, who is thought by many (+900) to be a viable threat in this race.
Gunnevera has the experience and training to give it a serious go and was a respectable 5th place in this event in 2017. At this price, he’s worth a shot to get closer to a win the second time around.
Lastly, we have Bolt d’Oro, which seemed to be a case of great expectations and failure on a really big stage. The Steven M. Asmussen trainee was great initially, winning four of his first five races and placing third at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
The second d’Oro entered the bright lights of the Kentucky Derby (12th), however, things went downhill in a hurry.
Bolt d’Oro has run just one other race since that weak showing (11th at the Metropolitan Handicap), so it makes sense that nobody is really on him at the moment.
Bolt d’Oro has won in the past and is well trained. He’s enjoyed way too much success against high-level competition to fizzle out completely. Look for a much better run than we’ve seen, provided he makes the final field.
Keep in mind that we’re talking about Breeders’ Cup sleepers here. This is not a completed field, and if you’re placing wagers on this race, these aren’t the horses you’re going hard at.
Accelerate and some of the top challengers are probably where most of your cash would be going. These are the interesting one-off shots that bring major upside if they hit.
The key is to really buckle down and pick just 1-2 of these sleeper types. This way, you’re not over-hedging, and you also can spend more time researching to figure out which horses really have the best shot at pushing for that top spot.
Accelerate looks like a fine favorite, and the odds are decent he pulls this one out.
This is a horse with quite the impressive history, and he also comes in with terrific form. Obviously,Accelerate is best known for his huge win over Arrogate at the 2017 GII San Diego Handicap, but he’s also ablaze with three straight victories and five wins over his last six races.
Accelerate has been flat-out dominant lately, and even if he’s at risk of giving way to someone else, keep in mind that he’s finished outside of the top three just once in his career – one that spans 19 events.