The start of the Breeders’ Cup is quickly approaching, with the action at Keeneland getting underway on Friday, November 4.
The main day of action takes place 24 hours later, as wide a number of international runners are expected to challenge for some of the biggest prize pots in the sport. You can bet the 2022 Breeders’ Cup online with TwinSpires and try your luck at guessing the winners.
But, what are the ages of the horses that will be competing at the Breeders’ Cup later this year?
The opening day of the Breeders’ Cup is all about the juveniles, with the biggest races being the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. All horses that will compete on the opening day of action will be aged two, and it will give us a first glimpse at runners that we could see targeting some of the biggest prices across the planet in 2023.
The Juvenile on the opening day is likely to include a number of contenders that will have their sights set on the Kentucky Derby next year, while the Juvenile Turf runners are likely to be aimed towards a challenge in the 2,000 Guineas or Epsom Derby in the early part of the summer months in the United Kingdom.
One of the biggest questions that connections will be asking themselves before the Breeders’ Cup is what they are going to do with their three-year-old runners. Some will be looking to immediately land the biggest prizes at the meet, which includes Derby and Preakness Stakes runner-up Epicenter, who looks set for a challenge in the Classic later this year.
However, others may have one eye on the future, and will allow their runners extra time to build strength before taking on the gruelling distance covered in the Classic. One trainer looking to follow the latter path this year appears to be Chad Brown, as his superstar three-year-old Jack Christopher looks set to avoid the Classic and instead compete in the Dirt Mile at Keeneland in 2022.
Many believe that horses reach their peak on the flat when they turn four, which means a number of the leading contenders in the races this year are likely to be that age. That includes Flightline for John Sadler, who will be the heavy favourite to land the Classic in 2022. Other four-year-olds that look solid chances in their respective races include Malathaat and Clairiere in the Distaff.
The one exception to this rule may come in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Yibir was a three-year-old winner of the race last year, and Luxembourg already appears to be a commanding favourite to continue that winning sequence. However, a number of four-year-olds will still remain prominent in the betting heat, with 2021 Derby winner Adayar likely to mount a serious bid for Charlie Appleby, while Yibir may also be back to defend his crown.
The oldest horses that we are likely to see at the Breeders’ Cup later this year will be the horses that are aged five. Many believe by the time that horses reach this age, then their best days are firmly behind them. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth examining should they be declared for the races at Keeneland.
Mishriff may be one of the most interesting five-year-olds to look out for, as the John Gosden-trained runner looks a possible runner in either the Turf or Classic. Happy Saver is another five-year-old that could line-up in the Classic with a very solid chance.
Many will write off the chances of a six-year-old before carefully examining their chances for a particular race. However, we look set to see one of the most exciting horses in training for the final time at the Breeders’ Cup later this year, as Letruska looks to become the second six-year-old winner of the Distaff in four years.
Her form has taken a slight knock already this season after finishing fifth in the G1 Odgen Phipps and third in the G1 Personal Ensign. But, her win at Keeneland in the G1 Spinster last term ensures that she remains a key player.