One of the biggest events on the horse racing calendar once again returns to Santa Anita later this year, as the Breeders’ Cup 2023 gets underway on Friday, November 3. Some of the biggest stars from around the world will be involved at the event in California, as connections have their sights set on some of the biggest purses in the sport.
However, there is a wide-open feel to some of the races taking place at the Breeders’ Cup this year, meaning that it could be one of the most interesting from a betting perspective. But, what can we expect to see at the Breeders’ Cup in 2023?
Cody’s Wish set to take his chance in the Classic
There’s little doubt that Cody’s Wish is one of the most popular horses in training in the United States, with fans quickly gravitating toward the William Mott-trained runner after hearing of the sentiment behind his name. One of the emotional wins at the Breeders’ Cup in 2022 came in the Dirt Mile, as Cody’s Wish ran away from the field to land a huge victory at Keeneland.
However, he will be back at the event in 2023 and, as the horse racing betting odds explained by TwinSpires show, he has a different target on the agenda. It appears that the five-year-old will be pointed toward the Classic this year at Santa Anita after dominating over a mile in the G1 Metropolitan.
He is clearly the class act over a mile on the dirt, and we will learn more about his chances in the Classic when he lines up in the G1 Whitney against proven horses over 1 1/8 miles such as Giant Game, Charge It, and Zandon.
Triple Crown contenders plot Classic run
There is a more open feel to the Classic in 2023 as there is a lack of a superstar in the race like there was 12 months ago, as Flightline dominated the betting from an early stage. This year’s crop of Triple Crown contenders will step into open company, with a number likely to be pointed toward the standout race at the Breeders’ Cup.
Forte for most people is the standout three-year-old in the United States, but he has been unable to add to his G1 Florida Derby win after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby and finishing second in the Belmont Stakes. Geaux Rocket Ride certainly appears to be the most progressive contender after beating a deep field including Mage and Arabian Knight to land the G1 Haskell.
There was a lack of Japanese runners at the Breeders’ Cup in 2022, but that is likely to change with this year’s event taking place in California. Ushba Tesoro will likely be the key contender in the Classic after winning the G1 Dubai World Cup in stunning fashion by two and three-quarter lengths from Algiers in Meydan in late March. Connections have promised a trip to the United States for this runner, but he could yet target the Breeders’ Cup Turf after winning once from four on the grass.
However, the Japanese already have a very impressive contender in the running for Turf glory, as there isn’t a better horse on the planet than Tetsuya Kimura-trained Equinox. The four-year-old achieved the highest official rating in the world when landing the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic from Westover without even coming off the bridle.
He has since returned to action with a narrow success in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin. Equinox is the star that the fans want to see at the Breeders’ Cup, and there could be very little that the field can do to stop this four-year-old from cruising to victory.
European Dominance on the Turf
The Breeders’ Cup in 2022 was all about the dominance of the British and Irish trainers in the turf races, and that could potentially be another angle to follow in 2023. Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a stunning Breeders’ Cup in 2022, and he could have the ace in the pack in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Paddington looks a potential superstar, having already won three straight Group 1s in 2023.
The latest of those was his first effort over a mile and two, as he held off Emily Upjohn in the G1 Coral-Eclipse. However, it’s more likely that Paddington will take his chance in a race on European soil. Other likely contenders in the Turf from Europe, including Westover, King of Steel, and Adelaide River, but their involvement will likely center around whether a chance will be taken on the runners in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff was one of the best races at Keeneland in 2022, with a neck separating the horses finishing first, second, and third. Malathaat won’t be back to defend her crown at Santa Anita, but there is still a high-quality feel to the Distaff this year. Nest returned to action in the G2 Shuvee Stakes at the end of July, and the Todd Pletcher-trained runner looked better than ever, as she held off Clairiere to win by two lengths.
Society is also a runner looking extremely progressive after a below-par effort in the G1 Kentucky Oaks, as he won the G3 Chicago Stakes by a stunning eleven lengths on her previous outing. Other stars that could target a run in the Distaff include Secret Oath, Julia Shining, and Pretty Mischievous.