Beholder Biggest Threat to Grand Slam Bid by American Pharoah
American Pharoah will go into the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as the first Triple Crown winner to compete for the “Grand Slam”, looking to win the year-end championship race facing older runners.
The colt has been the solid betting favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic ever since the Bob Baffert trainee made history by sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes this spring. His current betting price for the Classic at Bodog is +200.
The Classic will be his first start against older and the most intriguing of the foes he will face is the five-year-old mare Beholder, who is currently the second choice in Classic wagering at Bodog at +350.
The mare will be seeking her third win in a Breeders’ Cup race. She won the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and the Distaff in in 2013.
She has won 15 of her 20 career starts and already is proven against the boys. She won the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 22 by a widening 8 ¼ lengths and her Beyer Speed Figure of 114 was higher than any number American Pharoah has earned in his eight wins.
His career top Beyer is the 109 he earned in his win in the Haskell Invitational (G1) on Aug. 2, his first start after making history in the Belmont Stakes.
While Beholder won the Zenyatta (G1) back against her own sex on Sept. 26 in her final Classic prep race, American Pharoah lost his final prep, running second to Keen Ice in the Travers (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 29.
The Triple Crown winner will come into the Classic off a 62-day break and no Classic winner since Invasor (92 days) won the 2006 running of the Classic has won off a longer break.
Zenyatta proved the ladies can beat the boys, taking the 2009 running of the Classic. She suffered her lone loss in her 20-race career when she ran a fast closing second to Blame in the 2010 running of the Classic.
The most anticipated edition of the Classic in the history of the Breeders’ Cup will be run on Oct. 31 at Keeneland. For full card betting reports for the Breeders’ Cup on Oct.30-31, check out Michael Dempsey of turfnsport.com, who will be providing selections and analysis for all of the races.