California Chrome is even-money favorite for Breeders' Cup
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) California Chrome was made the early even-money favorite Monday in a field of 10 for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, in which the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will try to close the year with an undefeated record.
Chrome is 6-0 so far in 2016 and is already the richest horse in North American history with career earnings of $13.4 million. He will break from the No. 4 post on Saturday at Santa Anita under Victor Espinoza.
''This horse is ready,'' 79-year-old trainer Art Sherman said. ''He's better now than he's ever been.''
Arrogate drew the far outside post and is the 5-2 second choice for the 1 1/4-mile race against older horses. The late-developing 3-year-old colt stunned the racing world in August when he won the Travers at Saratoga by 13 1/2 lengths. Arrogate will try to deliver a record third straight Classic victory for trainer Bob Baffert, who won last year with Triple Crown champion American Pharoah and in 2014 with Bayern at Santa Anita.
Arrogate will be ridden by Mike Smith, whose 22 victories make him the leading jockey in the 32-year history of the event.
''I just hope all America is watching this race because it's going to be a great race,'' Baffert said.
The Classic will be shown live in primetime on NBC.
Post positions were drawn Monday for the 13 races worth $28 million to be run during the world championships on Friday and Saturday.
Whitney winner Frosted was installed as the 5-1 third choice in the Classic.
Effinex, last year's Classic runner-up, is one of two 15-1 shots in the Classic, along with Hoppertunity, Baffert's other entry.
Also in the Classic field are Keen Ice, Melatonin, Shaman Ghost, War Story and Win the Space.
The $2 million Distaff highlights Friday's four Cup races. The 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares pits three champions against each other: undefeated Songbird, Stellar Wind and Beholder.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Songbird is 11-0, with five of her victories coming on her home track at Santa Anita. She is the 6-5 favorite ridden by Smith. They drew the No. 1 post in the field of eight.
''She's going to run well,'' Smith said. ''She's ready for something like this.''
Stellar Wind is the co-second choice at 5-2 with Beholder, who will be making the last start of her career. Last year at Keeneland, Beholder was scratched because of a fever that kept her out of the Classic against male horses.
Stellar Wind landed in the No. 5 post while Beholder will break from the eighth spot.
''It's nice to get off the rail,'' said Richard Mandella, who trains Beholder, ''but I am a bigger believer in good luck and a good post, so we are hoping for good luck.''
Also in the Distaff field are Argentina-bred Corona Del Inca, Curalina, Forever Unbridled, I'm a Chatterbox and Land Over Sea.
In the $2 million Juvenile, Not This Time drew the No. 10 post in a field of 11 and is listed as the 7-2 favorite. Trained by Dale Romans, Not This Time is 2 for 3 and a victory on Saturday would position the 2-year-old as the early favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby.
Last year's Juvenile winner Nyquist went on to win the Derby. He was set to run in the Classic, but came up with a puffy ankle and was retired Monday.
The Juvenile field includes two Todd Pletcher-trained colts: Theory and Syndergaard, named for New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
In the $1 million Turf Sprint on Saturday, Pure Sensation is the 4-1 favorite. Also in the field is Undrafted, owned by former NFL star receiver Wes Welker. The 6-year-old gelding finished fifth in the race last year and third in the 2014 edition.
In Friday's races, Oscar Performance is the 4-1 favorite in the $1 million Juvenile Turf; Gun Runner is the 6-5 favorite in the $1 million Dirt Mile; and Roly Poly is the 4-1 favorite in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Among Saturday's other races, the Baffert-trained Noted and Quoted is the 9-2 favorite in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies; Lady Eli is the 5-2 favorite in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf; Masochistic is the 2-1 favorite in the $1.5 million Sprint; Britain-bred Flintshire is the 5-2 favorite in the $4 million Turf; Haveyougoneaway is the 3-1 favorite for the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint; and Tepin is the 3-1 favorite for the $2 million Mile.