2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic entries: Odds, picks, post positions

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The 2019 Breeders’ Cup will cap off a dramatic and historic year of horse racing with its marquee race on Saturday, November 2 from Santa Anita Park. Post time is set for 8:44 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the richest races on the globe, drawing top horses from across the world. Open to any horse over the age of 3, the 1 1/4-mile dirt race was where American Pharoah became the first horse ever to win the “Grand Slam” of horse racing with his 2015 Triple Crown and Classic wins.

How to watch every single Breeders’ Cup race

Bob Baffert’s McKinzie opens as the favorite despite switching away from longtime jockey Mike Smith and taking second to fellow Classic competitor Mongolian Groom in the Awesome Again Stakes.

On the 10th anniversary of Zenyatta becoming the first female to win the Classic, Bill Mott’s mare Elate will attempt to follow in her footsteps. Elate is the first female to enter the Classic since Beholder (2015; scratch) and the first female to run in it since Havre de Grace (2011; 4th).

What to know about the 2019 Breeders’ Cup

Below are the post positions for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic, including opening odds as of October 28.

1. Math Wizard (30-1)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Watch Math Wizard win the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby

2. Seeking the Soul (20-1)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
Watch Seeking the Soul win the 2019 Stephen Foster 

3. Owendale (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Javier Castellano

4. War of Will (20-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Watch War of Will win the 2019 Preakness Stakes

5. Yoshida *JPN (8-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Mike Smith

6. Elate (6-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Watch Elate win the 2019 Fleur de Lis Handicap 

7. Higher Power (6-1)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Flavien Prat

8. McKinzie (3-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Watch McKinzie win the 2019 Whitney Stakes

9. Mongolian Groom (12-1)
Trainer: Enebish Ganbat
Jockey: Abel Cedillo
Watch Mongolian Groom win the 2019 Awesome Again Stakes

10. Vino Rosso (4-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

11. Code of Honor (4-1)
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Jockey: John Velazquez

How to watch the Breeders’ Cup Classic

NBC Sports handicappers’ picks and predictions:
Eddie Olczyk: Vino Rosso
Matt Bernier: Elate

Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 2 from 3:30-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 8, NBC from 8-9). 

Pegasus races planned for Gulfstream and Santa Anita in 2024

Horse racing on Opening day of the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita Park.
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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After seven Pegasus World Cup events, it’s evidently time for change.

1/ST Racing, which has hosted the entirety of the Pegasus series to this point at Gulfstream Park, is planning for two Pegasus days in 2024 – one at Gulfstream and the other at Santa Anita. Details aren’t finalized and it’s unclear how it would fit in the racing calendar, but 1/ST is planning for both dirt and turf Pegasus races as part of the Santa Anita program.

Gulfstream played host to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on the dirt Saturday, along with the $1 million Pegasus Turf and the $500,000 Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf.

“I’d really love to see that we bring it to the West Coast,” 1/ST President and CEO Belinda Stronach said. “That will probably happen in 2024. What we did this year for 2023 was said, `OK, we have a number of great race days, let’s coordinate those better and call it the 1/ST Racing Tour and recognize great achievements within our own footprint.”

Saturday marked the first stop on that new 1/ST Racing Tour. Along with some of the biggest race days at 1/ST tracks – like Florida Derby day at Gulfstream on April 1, Santa Anita Derby day on April 8 and the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20 – there are a pair of days where the tour will be running simultaneously.

This coming Saturday, Gulfstream will play host to the Holy Bull while Santa Anita has the Robert B. Lewis – both of them Kentucky Derby prep races.

And on March 4, Gulfstream has the Fountain of Youth, another major Derby prep, while San Anita has the Big Cap. Plans call for coordinated post times at those two tracks on those days to provide the best racing action every 20 minutes, as well as some unique betting options.

“We can never rest on our laurels,” Stronach said. “We have to keep moving forward. We have a great team that’s really committed.”

The main Pegasus race is one of the biggest-paying races in North America. Art Collector claimed about $1.8 million from a $3 million purse with his win on Saturday. In 2022, only the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf featured bigger prizes among U.S. races, and the $3 million Pegasus purse is equal to the one offered last year at the Kentucky Derby.

Regardless of what happens with the Santa Anita plan for future Pegasus events, Stronach insisted Gulfstream will continue having Pegasus days. There has even been talk about Gulfstream playing host to Breeders’ Cup races again, something that hasn’t happened since 1999.

“This is staying here in Miami,” Stronach said. “Pegasus has a home here in Miami. We can’t move Pegasus from Miami. We have great partners here and it’s more than just a day now. We have deep roots here in Miami.”

Trainer Bob Baffert’s ban from racing in New York is over

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Bob Baffert can once again enter horses at New York’s major tracks.

The Hall of Fame trainer’s one-year ban by the New York Racing Association ended Wednesday, allowing him to enter horses as soon as Thursday.

“I was disappointed they even did it, but it’s water under the bridge,” Baffert told The Associated Press by phone.

He was suspended last June for repeated medication violations, although none of them occurred in New York. He was barred from Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. A panel credited Baffert for time served for an initial suspension, which allowed him to return this week.

Aqueduct is currently holding its 44-day winter meet that runs through March 26. Baffert doesn’t typically run horses this time of year in New York; he targets the biggest stakes races at Belmont in the spring and Saratoga in the summer.

Baffert remains under a two-year ban by Churchill Downs Inc., which sidelined him after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a substance that is not allowed on race day. The penalty expires shortly after the Kentucky Derby in May. However, Baffert is fighting the suspension in federal court.

The Southern California-based trainer has a big weekend coming up around the country, although not in New York.

He has horses running at three tracks on Saturday.

Defunded is entered in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream in Florida, where Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes will be on hand.

Arabian Knight goes into the $750,000 Southwest Stakes as the early favorite at Oaklawn in Arkansas. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby prep race a record-tying five times and will travel to Hot Springs to watch the 3-year-old colt.

“It’s going to be a good test for him. The only way to find out is to run him long,” he said. “It’s going to take a superior horse to do that and I’m hoping that he is.”

The Southwest offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top five finishers. Arabian Knight won’t receive any points regardless of his placing because of Baffert’s Derby ban.

Hopper will run in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.

On Sunday at the same track, Baffert has entered four of the five horses set to run in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds.