Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - November 2, 2022

Breeders’ Cup Classic Predictions: Unbeaten and Untested Flightline Headlines a Field of Eight

Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds and Post Position

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

PPHorseOddsJockeyTrainer

1

TAIBA

8/1
BET HERE

M Smith

B Baffert

2

LIFE IS GOOD

6/1

BET HERE 

I Ortiz Jr

T Pletcher

3

HAPPY SAVER

30/1

BET HERE 

J Velazquez

T Pletcher

4

FLIGHTLINE

3/5

BET HERE 

F Prat

J Sadler

5

HOT ROD CHARLIE

15/1

BET HERE 

T Gaffalione

D O’Neill

6

EPICENTER

 5/1

BET HERE 

J Rosario

S Asmussen

7

OLYMPIAD

10/1

BET HERE 

J Alvarado

W Mott

8

RICH STRIKE

20/1

BET HERE 

S Leon

E Reed

*Odds provided reflect the Keeneland morning line.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$3 Superfecta Part Wheel - Flightline over Hot Rod Charlie over Epicenter over All = $15

$3 Superfecta Part Wheel - Flightline over Epicenter over Hot Rod Charlie over All = $15

$2 Superfecta Part Wheel - Flightline over Hot Rod Charlie over All over Epicenter  = $10

$2 Superfecta Part Wheel - Flightline over Epicenter over All over Hot Rod Charlie = $10

$1 Superfecta Part Wheel - Flightline over All over Hot Rod Charlie over Epicenter  = $5

$1 Superfecta Part Wheel - Flightline over All over Epicenter over Hot Rod Charlie = $5

Top Pick: Flightline (3/5)

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Breeders’ Cup Classic Predictions

Unbeaten and untested Flightline headlines a field of eight entered in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland. 

Trained by John Sadler, the 4-year-old son of Tapit is perfect in five career races, winning his starts by a combined margin of 62 3/4 lengths. 

Heading into the 1 1/4-mile test, the three-time Grade 1 winner crushed the field two months ago in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar by nearly 20 lengths..

Among his challengers on Saturday include two from trainer Todd Pletcher, led by the classy Life Is Good.

Only twice beaten in an 11-race career, the son of Into Mischief comes into his biggest test yet having won two straight Grade 1 races in New York, in Saratoga’s Whitney and Aqueduct’s Woodward.

Second choice on the morning line for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic is the 3-year-old Epicenter. 

Trained by Steve Asmussen, the Not This Time colt comes in off an impressive romp in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga, and has not been worse than second in seven graded stakes races this year. 

Also in the field are: Rich Strike, upset winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby; two-time Grade 1 winner Taiba; Hot Rod Charlie, a winner of more than $5.5 million in his career; Olympiad, a five-time stakes winner this year; and former Grade 1 winner Happy Saver.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Predictions and Race Analysis

Flightline

In nearly half a century of watching this sport, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a horse impress me more in their first five career races than this son of Tapit has. He’s won every start with complete domination and has made each of them look all too easy. 

He has overcome some trouble, he can run fast early and still have plenty left for the drive, and he is now proven at the distance. Now he faces his toughest field yet on the big stage of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. 

Working in fantastic fashion, I love his chances to get the job done once again. In a race full of very good horses, I believe he is a cut above and will prove just how special he really is on Saturday with another performance to remember. He is the strong top choice.

Epicenter

Trained by Steve Asmussen, it’s hard not to like this consistent son of Not This Time. He can win from anywhere early, and in seven graded stakes races this year, he has been right there every time. 

Unlucky to have not won either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, it was nice to see him rise to the occasion this summer at Saratoga. I do believe that he is a better horse now than he was for the first two legs of the Triple Crown. 

The problem is, having never faced older horses before, he has found a very tough year to face them. I expect another very good effort from the colt who should be the 3-year-old champion, but not quite enough to beat Flightline.

Life Is Good

In many years, this talented son of Into Mischief would be the horse to beat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but this is not an ordinary year. Blessed with excellent early speed, he has been able to simply run his competition off their feet early and cruise home in most of his races. 

I do not see that happening on Saturday. Sure to tangle with Flightline at some point before they turn for home, and having wilted late in his only previous try at the classic distance, I am forced to believe that he will be a tired horse in the final furlong. 

I have a lot of respect for him, but this spot looks likely to be a little too tough to back him as a big threat to the top pick..

Taiba

Coming in off a career-best performance last time in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, it’s time we find out how good this lightly raced son of Tapit really is. Like Flightline, he is still lightly raced with only five career starts, and eligible to take another step forward. 

Having said that, he will be taking another big step forward in competition on Saturday, despite having faced Grade 1 competition in his last four. I’m also not crazy for the rail draw, with quality speed just to his outside. 

He is clearly a danger and could wind up being the second most talented horse in the race, but having failed in the Kentucky Derby, I tend to think this could be another learning experience for him.

Olympiad

Trained by Bill Mott, this 4-year-old son of Speightstown is one dull performance in the Whitney away from being a perfect 7-for-7 this year. Still, there are questions as to whether he can beat a field of this quality. 

He likes to lay close and pounce, which he has done with precision in all six victories this year, but that is not likely to be easy with the likes of Flightline and Life Is Good ahead of him early. As good as he has been this year, I just don’t believe this race sets up well for him. 

With excellent horses ahead of him early, and with good closers coming from behind, I am looking elsewhere for a value play in the Classic.

Hot Rod Charlie

This experienced 4-year-old first came to prominence with a strong second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind the champion Essential Quality at Keeneland two years ago. Since then, he has been a steady fixture in big races in America and abroad. 

He has not found the winner’s circle a ton in his career, with only five official victores in 18 career starts, but he runs well every single time. 

Fourth in this race last year, he has been a little more lightly raced this year and could be sitting on a big effort. Coming off a hard-fought win in the Grade 2 Lukas Classic and returning to Keeneland, he is my top longshot. 

Rich Strike

This son of Keen Ice pulled off the biggest surprise of the season when he rolled home late to win the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at odds of 80/1. It’s been his only win of the season, with three losses before, and three losses since the Derby. 

After a dull run in the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes, the Eric Reed-trained chestnut did show up in his last two starts, narrowly missing second in the Travers and barely missing the win in the Lukas Classic. 

I am not expecting another big upset victory for him, but if the pace is solid, he will have a reasonable shot to pick up the pieces and fill out the bottom positions on the trifecta or superfecta.

Happy Saver

After having won his first five career races, including the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, this Todd Pletcher trainee has failed to find the winner’s circle in his last seven starts. 

Still, he has run numerous solid races, finishing second to top horses on several occasions. The son of Super Saver is also proven at the 10-furlong distance

Bothered in his last start, he figures to go off as the highest price on the board, and while a win would seem to be a stretch, he cannot be discounted in the bottom spots of the exotics.

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How to Watch the Breeders’ Cup Classic

  • What: Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1)
  • Location: Keeneland
  • Time: Saturday, November 5 -- 5:40 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: NBC
  • Purse: $6,000,000
Image for Brian Zipse

AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

225 Articles

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]

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