There are two ways to make money betting the 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic. The first is to beat heavy race favorites Arrogate and Gun Runner. The second is to find a live longshot to finish underneath at long odds.
Before choosing which way to go with bettering Saturday's race at Del Mar, let's analyze the field:
#1 Arrogate (2-1) has not been quite the same since returning from his score in the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup, but the 10-furlong Pacific Classic was a step in the right direction. He won his other three starts at 10 furlongs, including the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic, and if he is anywhere near his best they are all running for minor awards.
#5 Gun Runner (9-5) looks like California Chrome did heading into the 2016 Classic. Just like Chrome, Gun Runner came back from Dubai and won three straight graded routes in prominent throughout fashion and was all over moderate fractions vs. overmatched foes. Chrome controlled the pace in last year's Classic, but Arrogate got by him anyway and the latter easily beat Gun Runner in their two matchups. Also, Gun Runner is 0-for-3 at a mile and a quarter.
Value Win Contenders
#8 West Coast (6-1) is not as fast as Arrogate was heading into the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic, but the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby hero earned much better numbers in his last pair and can beat you on the front end stalking or closing. Bob Baffert has won the last three editions of this race with 3-year-olds (Bayern, American Pharaoh, Arrogate). Javier Castellano takes over for Mike Smith, who obviously sticks with Arrogate.
#9 Gunnevera (30-1) ran a big race in the Travers. West Coast controlled the pace in that one and was near the back of the 12-horse field after a bumpy beginning. He made a big, wide early move to take on the front runner and ended up clearly second best. He is firing bullets for this and can spice up the exotics.
#6 Mubtaahij (12-1) is a classy overseas transplant exiting a nice score in the Grade 1 Awesome Again, but it was not a stellar renewal of that event. He can improve 2nd off the shelf but is not as fast as the top runners in this event.
#10 Pavel (20-1) is a rapidly improving sophomore colt, but he is probably in way over his head in just his 5th lifetime start. If he could not catch NY-bred Diversify and hold off Keen Ice for 2nd in a less than stellar edition of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, how is he going to catch Collected and Gun Runner and hold off Arrogate and company? I do not see any running style path to victory for him.
#7 Churchill (15-1) won 7 of his first 8 turf starts but has dropped his last four and meets some very tough US rivals.
#3 Win the Space (30-1) occasionally pops up and hits the board in graded routes (3rd in G1 Awesome Again twice, 3rd in '16 G1 Pacific Classic, 2nd in '16 G1 Gold Cup). Use him underneath only if at all.
#4 War Story (30-1) was a baker’s dozen behind Gun Runner in his last pair and was pummeled by Arrogate in his other two grade one starts. He is overmatched.