Favorites, top contenders for Day 2 of Breeders' Cup

Favorites, top contenders for Day 2 of Breeders' Cup

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 4:50 p.m. ET

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Here are the early favorites and top contenders in Saturday's nine Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California:


Purse: $1 million

Distance: 7 furlongs


Favorite: Covfefe, 2-1 odds

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Brad Cox

Record and earnings this year: 4 wins in 5 starts; $502,425

Cox got his first Breeders' Cup victory last year when Monomoy Girl took the Distaff. He's back with another solid contender in Covfefe, a 3-year-old on a two-race win streak that includes the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga. Most importantly, those two victories came at this same distance. She landed the rail with more than enough early speed to set or stalk the early pace.

Keep an eye on: Like Covfefe, Come Dancing (5-2) captured a Grade 1 at Saratoga last summer, the Ballerina. And she is also 4-for-5 this year. The 5-year-old developed into a solid stakes runner this season, and likely will vie with Covfefe for early strategic position. Spiced Perfection (4-1) has the outside post in the nine-horse field and the Grade 1 credentials to spring a mild upset.


Purse: $1 million

Distance: 5 furlongs

Favorite: Eddie Haskell, 9-2 odds

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Mark Glatt

Record and earnings this year: 4 wins in 8 starts; $318,104

Fans of the old "Leave it to Beaver" show will be pulling for the equine Eddie Haskell to give Glatt his first Breeders' Cup victory from only his third starter in the event. Eddie Haskell has encountered tough trips in his last two races, producing a pair of seconds. Prior to that, he reeled off three straight wins to emerge as one of Southern California's top turf sprinters.

Keep an eye on: Stormy Liberal (8-1) hasn't been his old self this year. He won the last two editions of this race but comes in trying to shake a 0-for-6 slump. A new rider might help, with Hall of Famer John Velazquez picking up the mount. In another notable rider switch, Frankie Dettori, one of Europe's best, will ride Imprimis (8-1). The 5-year-old posted stakes wins this year at Gulfstream and Keeneland.


Purse: $1 million

Distance: 1 mile

Favorite: Omaha Beach, 8-5 odds

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer Richard Mandella

Record and earnings this year: 4 wins in 5 starts; $1,274,000

Omaha Beach was the morning-line favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby only to be scratched days before the race with a breathing problem. He returned to win the Santa Anita Sprint Championship last month and looks to make up for lost time for the Hall of Fame duo of Smith and Mandella. Smith is the all-time leader with 26 Cup wins and $35.9 million in earnings. Mandella is a nine-time Cup winner.

Keep an eye on: Mr. Money (6-1), fourth in last year's BC Juvenile, banked over $1.1 million this year by avoiding the high profile 3-year-old races and picking off easier targets like the Indiana and the West Virginia derbies. The distance is ideal for him and he is persistent. Improbable (3-1) was fifth as the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby. He is frequently over-bet and rarely delivers the goods.


Purse: $2 million

Distance: 1 ¼ miles

Favorite: Sistercharlie, 8-5 odds

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Chad Brown

Record and earnings this year: 3 wins in 3 starts; $906,400

A model of consistency, Sistercharlie has won six straight, all Grade 1 stakes including last year's BC Filly & Mare Turf. The 5-year-old continues at the top of her game. With a victory, the late-running Sistercharlie would be the first mare to post consecutive wins in this race.

Keep an eye on: Mrs. Sippy (8-1) finished second to Sistercharlie, beaten only three-quarters of a length, in last month's Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont. That game effort encouraged trainer Graham Motion to take a shot here. Iridessa (8-1) starts on the rail, one post to the inside of Sistercharlie, and like the favorite figures to drop back in the early stages. If Iridessa gets the jump on Sistercharlie, an upset could be brewing.


Purse: $2 million

Distance: 6 furlongs

Favorite: Mitole, 9-5 odds

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Record and earnings this year: 5 wins in 6 starts; $1,656,200

Mitole is one of several Horse of the Year candidates on the card. His win over McKinzie in the Met Mile on the Belmont Stakes undercard was a highlight of the year. Sprinters don't often get serious Horse of the Year consideration but this guy is the exception. He's that good.

Keep an eye on: You have to admire Imperial Hint (4-1), the diminutive horse nicknamed "The Little Rocket" for always racing bigger than his stature. This is his third crack at the BC Sprint, finishing second in 2017 and third last year. Both times he lost to Roy H, who is gone. Now he tangles with Mitole. Shancelot (4-1) lost by a head to Omaha Beach in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.


Purse: $2 million

Distance: 1 mile on turf

Favorite: Circus Maximus, 3-1 odds

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien

Record and earnings this year: 3 wins in 6 starts; $1,024,159

This leading 3-year-old turf miler from Europe has excellent early speed to control his fate. He has already won a pair of Grade 1 races this year in England and France and is 3-for-6 in his career at this distance. O'Brien, winless in 26 tries in this race, will help Circus Maximus acclimate to his U.S. debut by adding blinkers and Lasix, the anti-bleeding medication.

Keep an eye on: Suedois (20-1) will get support from players looking to back a closer. Although an 8-year-old, the Britain-based gelding hasn't lost his finishing kick as he demonstrated at Keeneland last month with a stout rally, missing by only three-quarters of a length in the Shadwell Mile. Got Stormy (7-2) blew through Saratoga with a pair of stakes wins, first against the fillies and then seven days later to beat the boys in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap.


Purse: $2 million

Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Favorite: Midnight Bisou, 6-5 odds

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Record and earnings this year: 7 wins in 7 starts; $1,845,000

The stellar 4-year-old Midnight Bisou looks to complete a perfect season and project herself squarely into the Horse of the Year picture. She has already notched four Grade 1 wins this year and figures to be the lowest-priced favorite in this Breeders' Cup. Her last defeat was a third in this race last year.

Keep an eye on: Paradise Woods (5-1) has posted all five career wins at Santa Anita, including the Zenyatta Stakes in September. Her biggest edge is her trainer: John Shirreffs who captured straight editions of this race with Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet. Alabama winner Dunbar Road (6-1) is a rising star in Chad Brown's barn. This might be too much, too soon for the 3-year-old.


Purse: $4 million

Distance: 1 ½ miles

Favorite: Bricks and Mortar, 9-5 odds

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Chad Brown

Record and earnings this year: 5 wins in 5 starts; $4,523,650

Bricks and Mortar is unquestionably the top turf horse in the U.S. and a legitimate Horse of the Year contender. The key question is can he handle the distance? He has never run this far before. Brown is confident the 5-year-old, undefeated in races up to 1 ¼ miles this season, can handle it.

Keep an eye on: There is no doubt Old Persian (4-1) will love 1 ½ miles. The international campaigner is 5-for-8 at the distance in his career, including a victory in the Northern Dancer at Woodbine where he overcame a 15-length deficit. Anthony Van Dyck (3-1) disappointed as the favorite last year in the BC Juvenile Turf. He's back for another try to cap a season that already includes an Epsom Derby win.


Purse: $6 million

Distance: 1 ¼ miles

Favorite: McKinzie, 3-1 odds

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Record and earnings this year: 2 wins in 6 starts; $1,212,560

McKinzie looks to close out a somewhat disappointing season on a positive note. Not that it's been a bad year for the Whitney winner. He did run second in each of his four defeats, including the Awesome Again at Santa Anita most recently as the 1-5 favorite. That latest loss prompted a rider change from Mike Smith to Rosario. A dominant win would move McKinzie into the Horse of the Year discussion.

Keep an eye on: Code of Honor (4-1) has come into his own in the second half of the season and can lay claim to the 3-year-old championship with a win here. He's won three in a row, including the Travers at Saratoga and the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont via the disqualification of Vino Rosso. Higher Power (6-1) cruised to victory in the Pacific Classic before stumbling out of the gate in the Awesome Again. He should be right in the mix with a clean trip.