Breeders’ Cup Classic (22:18 Keeneland, Saturday)
1. Tacitus (Bill Mott/ Jose Ortiz)
Very smart performer who produced a number of creditable placed efforts as a three-year-old, notably finishing third in the Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Belmont Stakes. Better than ever when winning a Grade 2 at Belmont in July and has been running well since, but likely to struggle in a race this hot.
2. Tiz The Law (Barclay Tagg/ Manuel Franco)
Followed up his impressive Florida Derby success with a high-class display in the Belmont Stakes and then took another step forward to land the Travers Stakes by five and a half lengths. Was sent off odds-on for the Kentucky Derby on the back of those impressive victories, but he failed to run up to his very best at Churchill Downs, finishing a length-and-a-quarter second to Authentic after failing to find his usual kick in the straight. May have benefited from a short break since, however, and will be a threat to all if recapturing the form he showed in the Travers.
3. By My Standards (William Bret Calhoun/ Gabriel Saez)
Consistent sort who has either won or finished runner-up on all six starts this year. Ran as well as ever when successful in a Grade 2 at Churchill Downs last time but was beaten by Improbable in the Whitney Stakes and Tom’s d’Etat in the Stephen Foster Stakes previously and it would be a surprise were he good enough to land this.
4. Tom’s d’Etat (Albert Stall jnr/ Joel Rosario)
High-class performer who has proved better than ever this year despite being a seven-year-old. Produced a career-best effort to win the Stephen Foster Stakes by four and a quarter lengths at Churchill Downs in June and then shaped better than the result would suggest when third behind Improbable (who he had previously beaten at Oaklawn) in the Whitney Stakes, on the back foot straight away after stumbling badly leaving the stalls. Dangerous to dismiss.
5. Title Ready (Dallas Stewart/ Corey Lanerie)
Landed an optional claimer here in July and has subsequently shown better form in defeat in Grade 2 company. Faces a stiff task in this company.
6. Higher Power (John Sadler/ Flavien Prat)
Produced a career-best effort when landing the Pacific Classic last season and ran creditably to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Has failed to win this season, though, and even the very pick of his efforts leaves him a bit short in this company.
7. Global Campaign (Stanley Hough/ Javier Castellano)
Very smart performer who has progressed well this season, winning three of his four outings. Took his form up another notch when winning the Woodward Handicap on his first crack at Grade 1 level, sticking to his task well to beat Tacitus by a length and three-quarters. Entitled to a crack at this but others have stronger claims.
8. Improbable (Bob Baffert/ Irad Ortiz jnr)
Has taken his form to new heights this season, completing a Grade 1 hat-trick when successful in the Awesome Again Stakes having already landed the Hollywood Gold Cup and Whitney Stakes. Produced a top-class performance to beat stablemate Maximum Security by four and a half lengths in the Awesome Again and that form is just about the best on offer. Leading player.
9. Authentic (Bob Baffert/ John Velazquez)
Raised his game when beating Tiz The Law in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in September, relishing the step up to a mile and a quarter, sticking to his task well in the straight. Ran to a similar level when only narrowly denied in the Preakness Stakes and looks likely to give another good account.
10. Maximum Security (Bob Baffert/ Luis Saez)
Finished first past the post in the Kentucky Derby last season but was controversially disqualified for causing interference. Went on to prove himself a high-class performer, however, notably winning the Haskell Invitational and Cigar Mile before landing the Saudi Cup on his final start for his former yard. Won his first two starts for Bob Baffert but was below his best when comfortably brushed aside by Improbable last time. Should be in the mix if at the top of his game.