NBC Sports will provide extensive coverage of the 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Nov. 3-4. The season-culminating event features 14 races worth $31 million in purses.
The action begins on “Future Stars Friday,” when the most promising 2-year-olds from around the globe compete in five Breeders’ Cup races that will be aired on USA Network from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. ET. That day’s card is highlighted by the $2 million FanDuel Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, which typically stamps the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby the following year.
Coverage resumes on USA Network from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday before switching to NBC from 3:30-7 p.m. ET. Post time for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, a 1 1/4-mile contest that should go a long way toward determining Horse of the Year, is set for 6:40 p.m. ET. The last two Breeders’ Cup races that afternoon, the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint, will be livestreamed on Peacock.
As always, NBC’s broadcast will rely heavily on expert analysis from Randy Moss. He examined many aspects of the Breeders’ Cup during an extensive question-and-answer session conducted on behalf of America’s Best Racing.
PEDULLA: This will be the 11th time Santa Anita Park has hosted the Breeders’ Cup. Why does it work so well as a site?
weekend Television schedule
MOSS: First and foremost, the weather in Southern California is much more reliable than some of the other Breeders’ Cup venues. Firm turf is always important for the European horses. It’s also one of the more beautiful, one of the more traditional tracks, in the country. From a betting and TV perspective, there are some time-zone benefits to having the Breeders’ Cup in California and being televised back to the East Coast.
PEDULLA: Caravel (Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint), Cody’s Wish (Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile), Elite Power (Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint) and Goodnight Olive (PNC Bank Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint) all return to defend titles. Which has the best chance of accomplishing that?
MOSS: I would say Goodnight Olive. She was dominant last year and beat Echo Zulu in this particular race. It looks to me like, on paper, she has an easier path than perhaps she had a year ago.
PEDULLA: Can Cody’s Wish provide a storybook ending to his career?
MOSS: Wouldn’t that be special? It was the most emotional moment I’ve been involved in when Cody’s Wish won the Dirt Mile a year ago with Cody Dorman sitting right at trackside in his wheelchair. That was something that tugged at the heart string of even the most hardened sports fan. Those things in horse racing don’t always have a way of coming to fruition. He’s going to be a heavy favorite but he also has some pretty tough competition, so he doesn’t necessarily have to win it this year. But if there is any one horse on Breeders’ Cup Day you’d like to root for, I think it would certainly be Cody’s Wish, whether you bet on him or not.
MOSS: Almost certainly not. The reason I say that is because you just set that bar almost impossibly high. Beholder won $6 million. She’s in the Hall of Fame. She and Goldikova are the only horses to win three Breeders’ Cup races. So the chances of Tamara, no matter how good she is, being as good as her mother is a pretty daunting task. Having said that, she looked awfully good winning her first two starts and overcame a little trouble in her career debut. She may well be, along with Goodnight Olive, the heaviest favorite on the two days of the Breeders’ Cup.
PEDULLA: Who do you view as the top European hope?
MOSS: If you’re talking about the European with the best chance to win, it’s probably Inspiral in the Filly & Mare Turf. Her last race in the Sun Chariot Stakes in England was really something to behold. When you watch that race, visually she was so dominant. She’s being asked now to stretch out from a mile to a mile and a quarter, but you’ve got [trainer] John Gosden in her corner and he doesn’t think it’s necessarily going to be a problem, so I’ll go with that.
PEDULLA: Who has the best shot among Japan-based horses?
MOSS: I would say Songline in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. They have some other contenders as well but Songline has won $6 million. Songline has won the biggest one-mile turf races in Japan in back-to-back years. She beat Casa Creed a couple of years ago in Saudi Arabia. She’s coming into this race in very good form. She has a devastating stretch kick when she is at her best.
PEDULLA: How important is it that the Japanese have an increased presence at the Breeders’ Cup?
MOSS: I think it’s huge. The international aspect of the Breeders’ Cup has probably been the most important ingredient to the success of the Breeders’ Cup over these 40 years. It wouldn’t have been nearly the same event if it wasn’t embraced by the John Magnier’s, the Sheikh Mohammed’s and the Khalid Abdullah’s of the world.
PEDULLA: Are 3-year-olds at a disadvantage in the Classic?
MOSS: I don’t think 3-year-olds have ever been at a disadvantage in the Classic. You’ve got a slight difference in weight carried between the older horses and the 3-year-olds. By the time you get to November of a horse’s 3-year-old year, they have typically progressed a lot from, let’s say, the Triple Crown. And that small weight advantage I think really evens the scale with older horses. This year, in particular, it looks to me as though the 3-year-olds have an advantage over older horses.
PEDULLA: Who do you view as a live longshot?
MOSS: If you’re looking for a huge longshot to put in your trifectas and superfectas for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and who isn’t, I think Senor Buscador at a price of about 40-1, has a fighter’s chance of finishing in the top three or four. He’ll be running hard at the end and, as long as they can save a bit of ground on one of the two turns and he doesn’t get caught extremely wide, I think Senor Buscador can be a terrific exotic play.
PEDULLA: Who is your top four in the Classic?