Breeders' Cup Classic to pit Kentucky Derby and Belmont winners, with Bob Baffert entry, too

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Kentucky Derby winner Mage and Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo head a full field of 14 horses for the wide-open Breeders’ Cup Classic, with trainer Todd Pletcher pre-entering two for the $6 million race that includes horses from the barns of Bob Baffert and Rick Dutrow.

The Classic field was among the 205 horses, including 59 from overseas, pre-entered Wednesday for the over $31 million, 14-race world championships on Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita. The track is hosting for a record 11th time on the event's 40th anniversary.

Baffert has won the Classic won four times — all with 3-year-olds. Baffert will saddle Pacific Classic winner Arabian Knight on his home track at Santa Anita.

Dutrow has Whitney winner White Abarrio, his first Breeders’ Cup runner since 2010. He won the 2005 Classic with Saint Liam. He regained his trainer’s license in February, having served a 10-year suspension after being charged with numerous medication and administrative violations.

After winning the Kentucky Derby, Mage finished third in the Preakness, second in the Haskell and seventh in the Travers. He hasn’t raced in over two months.

Arcangelo comes into the Classic on a 10-week layoff since his Travers victory. He took a nine-week break between the Belmont and Travers under Jena Antonucci, the first woman trainer to win a Triple Crown race and the Travers.

“It’s just how he’s always been,” Antonucci said. “Even when we were developing him, we always spaced out his training and racing.”

Pletcher's two entries are Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Bright Future and Charge It in the 1 1/4-mile Classic to be run Nov. 4 live on NBC. The Classic has implications for Horse of the Year honors, with 16 of its winners having gone on to claim the year-end honor.

Three of Baffert's pre-entries — Muth, Prince of Monaco and Wine Me Up — are in the $2 million Juvenile, whose winner is tabbed as the early favorite for the next year's Kentucky Derby. Pletcher also has a trio of entries: Fierceness, Locked and Noted.

However, Baffert has been banned from the Derby in 2024, the result of Churchill Downs Inc. extending its original two-year suspension for another year. The company said Baffert has continued “to peddle a false narrative concerning the failed drug test of Medina Spirit.” The horse finished first in the 2021 Derby, but had the victory stripped after testing positive for a substance that is banned on race day. Baffert has denied drugging the horse while asserting that a topical treatment may have triggered the positive test.

Others pre-entered in the $6 million Classic are: Charge It, UAE Derby winner Derma Sotogake of Japan, Geaux Rocket Ride, King of Steel, Proxy, Pennsylvania Derby winner Saudi Crown, Senor Buscador, Ushba Tesoro of Japan and Zandon.

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien will seek his seventh victory in the $4 million Turf. He has three pre-entries: Epsom and Irish Derby winner Auguste Rodin, Boishoi Ballet and Broome. O'Brien's 25-year-old son, Donnacha, has Piz Badile in the race.

Another O'Brien son, Joseph, has Lumiere Rock in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf.

Four Breeders’ Cup champions are back to defend their titles: Caravel in the Turf Sprint, Cody’s Wish in the Dirt Mile, Elite Power in the Sprint, and Goodnight Olive in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

Final entries and the post-position draw are Monday.

The world championships will open with five races for 2-year-olds in what’s billed as Future Stars Friday on Nov. 3, followed by nine races on Nov. 4.


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