Breeders' Cup Classic (Keeneland) Predictions, Odds & Picks

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Tom’s d’Etat (6/1)

Post Position and Odds – Breeders’ Cup Classic

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 TACITUS 20/1
J Ortiz W Mott
M Franco B Tagg
G Saez W B Calhoun
4 TOM’S D’ETAT 6/1
J Rosario A Stall Jr.
C Lanerie D Stewart
F Prat J Sadler
J Castellano S Hough
I Ortiz Jr. B Baffert
J Velazquez B Baffert
L Saez B Baffert

Best Bets for the Breeders’ Cup Classic

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$3 Trifecta part wheel – Tom’s d’Etat with Improbable, Maximum Security with Improbable, Maximum Security, Tiz the Law, Authentic, By My Standards, Tacitus = $30
$2 Trifecta part wheel – Tom’s d’Etat with Improbable, Maximum Security, Tiz the Law, Authentic, By My Standards, Tacitus with Improbable, Maximum Security = $20

Top Pick:

Tom’s d’Etat (6/1).

One of three Bob Baffert-trained runners, Improbable has been installed the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the headliner of the season-ending World Championships Saturday at Keeneland. The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will likely decide several divisional championships, as well as the Horse of the Year title.

Improbable’s two stablemates both figure to be formidable. Each finished first in the Kentucky Derby the last two years, although Maximum Security was famously disqualified from the win for interference. The champion will break from the far outside 10-post, and just to his inside will be this year’s Derby winner, Authentic, who comes in off a heartbreaking defeat in the Preakness.

Chief among those trying to stop Baffert from claiming another win in the 10-furlong Classic, include Tiz the Law and Tom’s d’Etat. Tiz the Law was a romping winner of the Belmont Stakes, the first leg of this year’s Triple Crown, but was denied last time as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby by the front-running Authentic.

As the oldest horse in the race, the 7-year-old Tom’s d’Etat had an impressive four-race winning streak snapped after breaking poorly in Saratoga’s Whitney. He won impressively last fall at Keeneland in the Fayette Stakes for trainer Al Stall, Jr.

By My Standards, Tacitus, Global Campaign, Higher Power, and Title Ready complete the deep and talented 10-horse field for the 37th running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

How to Watch the Breeders’ Cup Classic

Breeders’ Cup Classic Information
What Breeders’ Cup Classic
Where Keeneland
When Saturday, November 7 — 5:18pm Eastern time
How to Watch NBC
Purse $6,000,000

Race Analysis


An undefeated rising star at two, he was the beaten favorite in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year. He wasn’t good enough in 2019, but Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert now has this son of City Zip going better than ever. Consecutive impressive victories in three Grade 1 races, beating the likes of Maximum Security, By My Standards, Tom’s d’Etat, and Higher Power, he has earned the role of favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In his most recent race, he showed a new rallying dimension to blow by the field and win going away. If that powerful burst of speed of his can be as potent at 10 furlongs, he will be tough to beat on Saturday.

Tiz the Law

Tiz the Law was at the top of the heap of the glamor division after easy victories in the Belmont and the Travers, but his run at the summit was halted when he could not get by Authentic at the head of the lane as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Perhaps Churchill Downs is not a racing surface which he cares for, as his only two losses have come there. After his second in the Derby, he skipped the Preakness to be ready for this, and he has a smooth running style that seems to always put him in a great position as the field turns for home. All things being equal, I generally prefer older horses to 3-year-olds, and I am not crazy for his inside post draw, but still, he is a big threat.

Maximum Security

A well-beaten second last time in the Awesome Again was a disappointing result for the champion Maximum Security. There is reason to believe, though, that he was far from cranked up for that prep and that we will see a whole different version of him at Keeneland. Maybe everything he has been through in the last few years, including a successful trip to Saudi Arabia, might finally be catching up with him, but I like the way he has been working for this test. I have big respect for his toughness down the lane and everything that he has accomplished. He should be involved early, and it will take a powerful run to put him away this time.

Tom’s d’Etat

A stumble out of the gate and an extremely slow early pace proved to be his undoing in the Whitney, but that represents his last defeat in more than a year. He finished last year on a roll last year with big victories at both Keeneland and Churchill Downs and looked like America’s best older male with solid scores over Improbable at Oaklawn and By My Standards at Churchill Downs. Considering the circumstances which unfolded last time at Saratoga, the 7-year-old son of Smart Strike really has done nothing wrong for a long time. Freshened since that upset loss, look for trainer Al Stall to have the veteran runner ready to fire, much like he did with Blame a decade ago. In a very tough heat, he is the top pick.


Fresh off a super front-running in the Kentucky Derby, this son of Into Mischief had to battle tooth and nail with the filly Swiss Skydiver the entire stretch of Pimlico last time in a tough defeat in the Preakness. It was another strong performance for Authentic, in a season full of them, but things only get tougher this time around. His strong early speed should put him in a familiar leading position early, but with a slew of other strong horses right there nipping at his heels, I wonder how much he will have left to fight them all off when they get to the Keeneland stretch.

By My Standards

By My Standards and rider, Gabriel Saez has been perfect together winning no less than four graded stakes over the last two seasons, and four straight this year. After missing the mount on his top horse in two races this year, Saez was aboard for another strong win last time in the Alysheba. The pair will now have their toughest test yet. From a class perspective, I do believe the son of Goldencents fits with these, but I do worry that it will be tough for him to beat the very best going the 10-furlong distance of the Classic. As the likely sixth betting choice and double digits on the odds board, he does offer very solid value in the exotics.


A beaten favorite in the Woodward and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, it would take a sharp upturn to see this son of Tapit breakthrough and win a race like the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Having said that, he has kept the great company in the last two seasons, and he has never embarrassed himself. In his last two, he was forced to be on or near the lead, and I don’t believe that is his best running style. In the Classic, he deserves to be a longshot, but he could get a much better pace scenario to rally into. I do not like his chances to win on Saturday, but the experienced runner could surprise with a rally that fills out the exotics at attractive odds.

Global Campaign

He ran an excellent race last time to rebuke the advances of Tacitus in the Grade 1 Woodward. Relatively lightly raced, this son of Curlin is also a horse who likes to win. He might also still have room for improvement. Still, the competition in the Classic will be a whole new territory of a class of racehorse for Global Campaign. Factor in the early pressure, he is sure to have to deal with Saturday, and I fear this spot will be a bit too much to handle for this talented runner.

Higher Power

The good news is that he finished third in this race last year, and is also a Grade 1 winner at the 10-furlong distance. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend him this time around. He was a better horse last year and is also more suited to racing in Southern California. Keep in mind that this year’s field is decidedly a deeper and tougher group that raced in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Things do not look promising for him on Saturday.

Title Ready

Sure to be the longest shot on the board, this one enters a strong edition of the Classic has never before won a stakes race. You can make the case that his latest, a third-place finish in the Fayette at Keeneland, was one of his best races ever, and that his trainer Dallas Stewart has found good results with big race longshots before, but still, it will not be enough. Anything better than a midpack finish would be a major surprise.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]