The 3-year-old Shared Belief is the 9-5 morning line favorite to win this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. He is the reigning 2-year-old champion, undefeated in seven career starts, and winner of two Grade 1 races against older horses in his last two races. Shared Belief missed the Triple Crown due to injury so it will be the first time he has raced against the best of his class in California Chrome, Tonalist, Bayern, and V.E. Day.
While the field is weak compared to recent editions of the Classic, it will still be the best group of runners Shared Belief has faced in his brief career. He is clearly a talented horse but his short price and lack of experience makes him a bad bet. The talented California-based Game on Dude finished out of the top three in the last two Breeders’ Cup Classics as the betting favorite, I predict the same for Shared Belied this year.
Injuries and retirements depleted the older division of thoroughbreds in 2014. Zivo is one of the longshot entries from the diminished older division. With five wins from seven races this year, he is the most compelling of the bunch. In his last three races, all graded stakes, he won one and was less then three lengths from the winner in the other two.
Zivo is a closer who has won all of his races coming from off the pace. His running style might not be conducive to the Santa Anita racing strip but he should get the fast early pace necessary for his late run to be effective. He won the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap in New York at 1 1/4 miles in July, which is the same distance as the Classic. He ran a solid second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup behind the 3-year-old entry Tonalist who is the third choice in the Classic at 5 to 1 on the morning line.
Zivo’s morning line is a square 15 to 1 and it will likely to be higher come post time. With recent strong performances and the near certainty of a solid early pace, this career winner of nine races from seventeen starts is a solid bet in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
I will use half my bankroll on Zivo to win and place. With the remainder, I will play an exacta and trifecta with the 3-year-old trio of California Chrome, Tonalist, and V.E. Day. California Chrome and Tonalist are the likely second and third choices in the betting behind Shared Belief. V.E. Day, like Zivo, is a closer with a chance to finish in the exacta and trifecta at a big price.
The $100 Breeders’ Cup Classic:
Bet $25 win and $25 place on Zivo (8) 2 bets x $25 = $50
$2 exacta box: Zivo (8), Tonalist (11), California Chrome (13), and V.E. Day (5) 12 bets x $2 = $24
$1 trifecta box Zivo (8), Tonalist (11), California Chrome (13), and V.E. Day (5) 24 bets x $1 = $24
If Shared Belief wins the Classic, I win nothing, but will tip my hat to an up-and-coming superstar and a deserving 3-year-old champion.
To see a full rundown of all the entries in this yearís Breedersí Cup Classic check out the Cheat Sheet at Hello Race Fans.
You can also learn about handicapping with Hello Race Fans Beginner’s Corner. Kevin Martin is the founder of the thoroughbred racing history site Colin’s Ghost and a contributing editor at Hello Race Fans