Baffert’s Improbable leads 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic odds


Bob Baffert’s Improbable opens as the 5-2 morning line favorite to lead the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic odds at Keeneland on Saturday, Nov. 7. He will start from the No. 8 spot. Post time for the Breeders’ Cup Classic is set for approximately 5:13 p.m. ET.

Improbable took fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile but is on a three-race winning streak with firsts in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Whitney and Awesome Again (all G1). Baffert’s three charges break from the outermost stalls, with 2020 Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner up Authentic (9-5) starting from the No. 9 and the infamous Maximum Security (7-2) taking the far outside at No. 10.

Maximum Security first made waves after his controversial disqualification from the 2019 Kentucky Derby. He went on to win the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup in February of 2020, just days before his then-trainer Jason Servis was indicted by the FBI for participating in a systematic doping ring that swept up multiple horses, including Maximum Security. After a trainer change and several months off, he collected two graded wins in three starts with Baffert.

The Baffert contingent’s biggest competition will be Saratoga sweetheart Tiz the Law (3-1). The 2020 Belmont and Travers winner takes the No. 2 stall in the Classic. After finishing second in the Kentucky Derby behind Authentic, Tiz the Law sat out the Preakness so he could rest up for the Breeders’ Cup. He is owned by New York-based racing syndicate Sackatoga Stables and trained by Barclay Tagg—the same connections behind 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

Related: 2020 Breeders’ Cup schedule

This year’s Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver had her pick between the Classic and Distaff but opted for the ladies-only Distaff, where she opens with 2-1 odds. She will face heavyweight Monomoy Girl (8-5), who won the race in 2018.

NBC Sports is home to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup, providing live racing, in-depth analysis and expert picks before, during and after. Coverage kicks off with Future Stars Friday on November 6, from 2-6 p.m. on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app. On Saturday, coverage resumes on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app beginning at 12 p.m., with the broadcast jumping to NBC from 2:30-5:30 p.m.

Related: What to know about the 2020 Breeders’ Cup

Below are the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic odds and post positions as of Monday, Nov. 2.

1. Tacitus (20-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

2. Tiz the Law (3-1)
Trainer: Barclay Tagg
Jockey: Manny Franco

3. By My Standards (10-1)
Trainer: Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez

4. Tom’s d’Etat (6-1)
Trainer: Albert Stall Jr.
Jockey: Joel Rosario

5. Title Ready (30-1)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

6. Higher Power (20-1)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Flavien Prat

7. Global Campaign (20-1)
Trainer: Stanley Hough
Jockey: Javier Castellano

8. Improbable (5-2)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

9. Authentic (9-5)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez

10. Maximum Security (7-2)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Luis Saez

Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 6 from 2-6 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 7 from 12-5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 2:30, NBC from 2:30-5:30). 

Forte works out, waits for Belmont Stakes clearance

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NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.

“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”

Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.

“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”

Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.

Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.

Judge grants Churchill Downs’ request for summary judgment to dismiss Bob Baffert’s lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment that dismisses Bob Baffert’s claim the track breached due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.

Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert in June 2021 after his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to lift the discipline was denied in February, keeping him out of the Derby for a second consecutive May.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. It cited his purse winnings exceeding $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “amounts to a false analogy that distorts caselaw.”

Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery as moot.

The decision comes less than a week after Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown race in two years. His record eighth win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury at Pimlico.

Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.

It added, “While he may choose to file baseless appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, arduous and unnecessary litigation proceedings instigated by Mr. Baffert.”

Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track’s release noted its right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at its conclusion.