What's horse racing without betting?
The 2012 Breeders' Cups kicks off this weekend as the biggest race that isn't part of the Triple Crown. There is a talent-heavy field for the Breeders' Cup Classic, and with a $5 million purse on the line, there is bound to be some action.
Just days away from the start of the horse racing season, let's take a look at the odds of each contender, from the field favorite to the long shots.
*Note: Odds via The Kansas City Star
1. Pool Play: 30-1
He has only raced on conventional dirt twice, but he's won both times. He is still inexperienced however, and the question with him isn't the distance (we know he can handle it)—it comes down to whether or not he is talented enough to win.
He is tied for the worst odds in the field, and no matter how well you handle distance, if you're not fast enough you simply can't win.
2. Flat Out: 5-1
By going three-for-three at Belmont Park, he has become a top horse. However, this race isn't at Belmont Park, it's at Santa Anita, where he finished in fifth last year.
With an injury-riddled past and a few problems with inconsistency, I've labeled him as a pretender. If this were at Belmont Park then he'd be the favorite, but as it stands I expect a middle-of-the-pack finish, despite his generous odds.
3. Alpha: 20-1
He has had a pair of workouts which indicate that he is on form right now (5F - :59.80, 4F - :48.40), but he has struggled to beat elite horses in his division.
His last race was a serious disappointment, and if he acts up at the start again, he could finish near the back of the pack.
4. Fort Larned: 5-1
He is considered one of the favorites in this race—but there remains the question of how he will handle the distance.
At the Jockey Club Gold Cup he started his push too early and ended up being outrun by both Flat Out and Stay Thirsty. He can't afford to make another mistake like that at Santa Anita.
5. Game On Dude: 9-5
The field favorite (with good reason), Game On Dude barely finished in second in this race last year, being beaten in the final half-furlong. However, he's back this year and will try to make up for last year's finish.
So far he's been unbeaten at five starts at Santa Anita, and his workouts have been impressive. He has great odds of going six-for-six on Saturday.
6. Brilliant Speed: 20-1
Brilliant Speed has struggled on dirt tracks, with the exception being the Belmont Stakes, where he finished third and threatened to win it all.
However, that was on a wet track, and he can expect a dry one Saturday. He hasn't even placed in the top three on a dry dirt track—which spells bad news for Brilliant Speed.
7. Handsome Mike: 30-1
Being ridden by Mario Gutierrez, the jockey who won the Preakness and Kentucky Derby with I'll Have Another certainly helps, but Handsome Mike is even less well-known than I'll Have Another was.
While he pulled off a big upset at the Pennsylvania Derby, don't expect another miracle on Saturday.
8. Nonios: 20-1
After finishing second behind Game On Dude at the Awesome Again Stakes (his best career effort), Nonios is riding high.
While he will be trying to build on that momentum, he is facing a much more talented field this time around, which could hurt him greatly.
9. Richard's Kid: 12-1
The seven-year-old is easily the most experienced horse in the field, but that may not be enough to scrape a victory.
He needs a fast pace throughout the race, but in a field of so many stalkers he could race out in front before being passed by a large group near the end of the race.
10. Ron the Greek: 6-1
He's been hot over the last 12 months or so, going 8-4-3-0 and being the only horse to have defeated American Wise Dan.
While he did finish in sixth at the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he has had a few great workouts and appears ready for the Breeders' Cup.
11. Mucho Macho Man: 8-1
He's one of the question marks on race day, as he can win any given race when he's on form, but he suffers from great inconsistency.
He's been tearing up the track in workouts, and he appears to be in great shape, which makes him a top contender in my eyes.
12. To Honor and Serve: 8-1
Similar to Mucho Macho Man, he is a very talented but inconsistent horse. However, he appears to be stumbling to the finish line, failing to show up three times in five races this year.
While he has the same potential as Mucho Macho Man, I see a very different result from the struggling To Honor and Serve.
|1||Pool Play||Miguel Mena|
|2||Flat Out||Joel Rosario||5-1|
|4||Fort Larned||Brian Hernandez Jr.||5-1|
|5||Game On Dude||Rafael Bejarano||9-5|
|6||Brilliant Speed||Junior Alvarado||20-1|
|7||Handsome Mike||Mario Gutierrez||30-1|
|9||Richard's Kid||Garrett Gomez||12-1|
|10||Ron the Greek||Jose Lezcano||6-1|
|11||Mucho Macho Man||Mike Smith||8-1|
|12||To Honor and Serve||John Velazquez||8-1|