We’ve passed the midway point of summer and are moving towards fall. As football starts to kickoff, it’ll remind those betting on horses that the Breeders’ Cup Classic is not far away. As a matter of fact, this week marked the three-month mark until the big day.
The latest Breeders’ Cup Classic rankings are out, so let’s take a look at who are the top contenders for this year’s race as of right now.
Current Odds To Win: 7/1
Maxfield earned the most votes with with 280 overall and 22 first-place votes. However, if you take a look at the betting odds, Maxfield isn’t the horse that’s currently favored. A quick look at any sites for betting shows that Maxfield odds are actually at 7/1, which puts the four-year-old second in line. Essential Quality is the favorite.
Maxfield, who is trained by Brendan Walsh, earned his spot in the big race with a win at the Stephen Foster in June. He’s raced eight times in his career and won seven of those outings with the lone miss being a third-place finish.
2. Essential Quality
Current Odds To Win: 4/1
Essential Quality is once again in second place in terms of the voting. He finished with 273 votes but just seven first-place votes, which proved to be the difference. It’s interesting to note that the oddsmakers and the non-betting experts view this so differently. Essential Quality is the current posted favorite but is second in line here. Meanwhile, the voters feel that Maxfield is the best bet to win the race.
Essential Quality has a number of big wins under his belt, including last year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. The three-year-old colt has had quite the run since then, winning the Southwest Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Jim Dandy. Of course, the Belmont is a big feather in his cap.
His lone loss in eight races was a fourth-place result at the 2021 Kentucky Derby where Medina Spirit, Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie finished ahead of him.
3. Hot Rod Charlie
Current Odds To Win: 10/1
Hot Rod Charlie picked up just one first-place vote this time around, although the three-year-old colt did have 225 votes overall. He was third in the poll last week and remains third again. However, if you take a look at the betting odds, he’s viewed as a mid-range longer shot at this point. There are a number of other horses that the oddsmakers think has a better chance of winning this race.
The main issue for Hot Rod Charlie has simply been the wins. He’s only won two races in his career so far and just one of those wins came in his last six starts. Of course, a lot of the results are decent. He won the Louisiana Derby and has finished in the money in six of his last seven. That shows that even though he’s not winning, he’s still coming pretty close each time. That streak could have been seven-for-seven and he could have added another win to his belt at the most recent outing as he did win the Haskell Stakes. However, upon further review, Hot Rod Charlie was disqualified for interference.
At 10/1, he could be offering good value for bettors if they think he can pull it off.
4. Knicks Go
Current Odds To Win: 8/1
As you can see, we have another disagreement with the voters and the oddsmakers here. Knicks Go is third in line in terms of the odds but is fourth in line from the voters’ perspective.
Knicks Go is a five-year-old that’s trained by Brad H. Cox. He’s gotten better with age as his career was a bit of a struggle early on. Knicks Go had just two wins in his first 13 starts but has really turned things around recently. He’s coming off a win at the Cornhusker Handicap, which marked his fifth win in his last seven starts. One of those wins was the 2021 Pegasus Cup, so that is impressive. We’ll see if he has what it takes in November.
Current Odds To Win: 12/1
Another Brad H. Cox entry into the list is Mandaloun. He received 161 votes this week but zero first-place votes, which is what landed him in fifth.
This three-year-old colt has been in the headlines plenty this year as he’s been winning quite a bit. However, it’s not without controversy. As mentioned above, Mandaloun actually finished second to Hot Rod Charlie in the Haskell Stakes but ended up earning the win due to the disqualification. If that story sounds familiar, it’s because a similar story played out at the 2021 Kentucky Derby. As you might recall, Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit actually won the Run for the Roses but was later disqualified due to several failed drug tests. Mandaloun originally finished second in the race but should inherit the win barring some unforeseen circumstances.
That now puts Mandaloun on a three-race winning streak and although it’s not without scrutiny, it’s still a pretty decent hot streak. The question is how convinced are bettors? The oddsmakers don’t seem to be too impressed as the colt is 12/1 to win the race. There are five others ahead of him.