A wild weekend of horse racing begins Friday with the 2017 Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The two-day event from the Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, California, features a total of 13 races, including the $6 million dollar Breeders' Cup Classic. Fourteen thoroughbred horses aged three years or older will compete in the Classic, the capstone event for the Breeders' Cup and one of the biggest races in the sport.
This will be the first time the Breeders' Cup is held at Del Mar, and there will be plenty of ways to catch the action.
NBC Sports Network will cover Friday's races from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. ET.
On Saturday, NBCSN will have live coverage from 1:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. ET, and then programming will switch over to NBC from 8 p.m - 9 p.m. for the Classic. A full list of television coverage, both in the U.S. and internationally, can be found at BreedersCup.com.
Live streaming will be available at NBCSports.com. In addition, BreedersCup.com will live-stream every race this year, along with morning workouts and multiple live cams, per the website.
Here's a look at the race schedule for the competition from Del Mar.
Friday's Races (Nov. 3, all times ET)
Juvenile Fillies Turf, Race 6, 5:25 p.m.
Las Vegas Dirt Mile, Race 7, 6:05 p.m.
Juvenile Turf, Race 8, 6:50 p.m.
Longines Distaff, Race 9, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday's Races (Nov. 4, all times ET)
14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies, 3 p.m.
Turf Sprint, 3:37 p.m.
Filly and Mare Sprint, 4:14 p.m.
Filly and Mare Turf, 5 p.m.
TwinSpires Sprint, 5:37 p.m.
Mile, 6:19 p.m.
Sentient Jet Juvenile, 6:58 p.m.
Longines Turf, 7:37 p.m.
Classic, 8:35 p.m.
Conditions should be excellent out on the track at Del Mar. According to Weather.com, Friday will be cool and sunny, with a high of 69 degrees. On Saturday, clouds are expected with a 20 percent chance of precipitation, although the report states that the showers that fall are likely to be after midnight, well after race time.
Still, it's possible the light storm could move into Southern California quick, so there could be a slight chance of moisture when the horses take to the track for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The Classic is the showcase event of the Breeders' Cup weekend. The Grade 1 race for thoroughbreds three years and older is 1 ¼ miles long. The fact that the age limit isn't as narrow as other big races like the Triple Crown (three-year-old horses only) allows for an interesting mix of competitive horses.
Last year's Classic winner was Arrogate, winning by just half a length. In second was California Chrome, who thrilled fans by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014.
This year, Arrogate returns to the 14-horse field looking to repeat as champion. Per OddsShark, Arrogate has the second-best odds in this year's race at +225 (wager $100 to win $225), trailing only Gun Runner at +160.
Arrogate is one of four horses trained by Bob Baffert in this year's field, giving the legendary trainer pretty good odds to put together an incredible streak, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com):
"Baffert is going for an unprecedented fourth straight victory in the Classic, after winning the last three years with Bayern, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Arrogate. Regardless of the outcome, Baffert will set a Classic record as the first trainer to saddle four horses in the race."
Arrogate will be starting on the rail, with Gun Runner in the No. 6 position. Trainer Steven Asmussen is confident Gun Runner has what it takes to make good on its status as the favorite.
"Well, I know whose side I'm on (of the Gun Runner-Arrogate debate) and I feel very good about where we're at right now," Asmussen said, per BloodHorse.com's Alicia Wincze Hughes. "What has happened since the World Cup is surprising to a lot of people. We're just trying to get to the Classic in the best shape possible and prove where Gun Runner is at."
The field is deep at this year's Classic, so an upset winner could emerge. West Coast (+500) and Collected (+550) are right behind the two leaders in terms of odds, and in a 14-horse field with more than a mile to run, a surprise could be in the offing at Del Mar on Saturday.