Reasons to Cheer for Each Breeders’ Cup Classic Contender


Tonalist will be attempting to win his first race outside of New York since February 2014 in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic. (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire)

Finding just one horse to cheer for in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic is a hard task.

With one of the most competitive fields in the race’s history, it is easy to convince yourself to root for multiple horses, even if you have no betting interest in the field. So, for the sake of giving one of the horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic your full cheering power, I have put together this handy guide providing some reasons to cheer for each horse in the race.

While this doesn’t give you a specific horse to cheer for, maybe you’ll see a storyline that you just can’t resist about a certain horse attempting to win the Classic.

Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist is taking a second try at the Breeders’ Cup Classic after finishing fifth last year. The 4-year-old colt is trying to disprove the thought that he is only good in New York, a stereotype that has been created since he hasn’t won outside of that state since February 2014, though he does have a first and a second in two of his three non-New York starts.

Keen Ice is looking to make sure everyone knows his win in the Travers against American Pharoah was not a fluke. The colt was third to American Pharoah in the Belmont and second to him in the Haskell before finally getting himself in front of the Triple Crown winner in late August.


Frosted stepped out of American Pharoah’s shadow last out when he won the Pennsylvania Derby. He’s trying to keep the trend of Pennsylvania Derby winners doing well in the Classic alive with Will Take Charge winning the 2013 edition of the race before finishing second in the Classic and Bayern winning both the Pennsylvania Derby and the Classic last year.

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is bidding his fans farewell in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. The colt retires to Ashford Stud after Saturday’s race as the first Triple Crown winner the sport has seen in 37 years. If he wins the Classic he’ll also be the founding father of the Grand Slam – winning the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Gleneagles is looking to avenge his dam’s [mother] full brother Giant’s Causeway in this year’s Classic. Also trained by Aidan O’Brien, Giant’s Causeway was just nosed out by Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic. O’Brien also had tough luck in 2013 when his trainee Declaration of War finished a neck behind Mucho Macho Man for third in a three-way photo finish.


An underdog, Effinex has won three races this year but is still coming in at 30-to-1 morning line odds. The colt was third last time out in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and is looking to avenge his sire Mineshaft, who had to miss the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic due to injury.

Smooth Roller burst on to the scene last month when he won the Awesome Again Stakes in just his fourth start. An up-and-coming superstar, Smooth Roller gives those rooting for him in the Classic a chance to jump on his bandwagon at the beginning of his career.

Hard Aces is one of the warriors of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 5-year-old horse has made 25 starts for nearly $600,000 in earnings with the step up to graded stakes only happening this year. If he wins the Classic, Hard Aces will better his sire Hard Spun who finished second to Curlin in the 2007 edition of the race.

From the last crop of legendary sire A.P. Indy, Honor Code has a lot riding on his back. A winner of the Classic himself, A.P. Indy has never sired a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. Honor Code also looks to have much against him if he wants the win as the closer needs a solid pace to advance from the back of the field and get the win.

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