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Breeders’ Cup Classic Expert Picks for 2022 – Flightline Heavily Favored

Dave Friedman

by Dave Friedman in Horse Racing News

Updated May 16, 2024 · 11:54 AM PDT

Breeders' Cup Classic odds
The $1.000,000 Hill ’N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap Stake, (GR 1), for three year-olds and up going one mile on the dirt, at Belmont Park, on Saturday, June 11, 2022, was won by John Sadler’s Flightline with Flavien Prat in the irons. Cot Belmont Stakes 28
  • The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be run late Saturday afternoon at Keeneland
  • Unbeaten Flightline may be the heaviest favorite in the history of the race
  • Should you bet on Flightline hoping for a small profit, or against him seeking a big one?

As we break down the Breeders’ Cup Classic odds on Saturday, November 5, we’re forced to think about how likely a massive upset could be for our Breeders’ Cup Classic picks and think of other big upsets we’ve seen in sports.

In Super Bowl XXXVI the Patriots, seeking their first title, were 14-point underdogs against The Greatest Show on Turf, Kurt Warner’s Saint Louis Rams. New England pulled the upset. Six years later the unbeaten Pats were two touchdown favorites against the Giants. David Tyree made one of the most unlikely catches in football history, and New York shocked the Patriots. That magnitude of upset would need to take place Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup Classic for unbeaten Flightline to lose. History tells us surprises take place. In fact, the term upset comes from horse racing.

Flightline was bred for $185,000 and sold at auction for $1 million. He has won each of his five races by a combined margin of 62.75 lengths for earnings of $1.4 million. The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be his toughest challenge. Thus far he has dominated his competition. This is his most difficult challenge.

Let’s review the updated Breeders’ Cup Classic odds, and consider what sort of bet makes the most sense,

2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds

Horse Odds
Flightline -167
Epicenter +500
Life Is Good +600
Taiba +800
Olympiad +1000
Hot Rod Charlie +1500
Rich Strike +2000
Happy Saver +3000

Odds as of November 3

Run since 1984, the Breeders’ Cup features the best of the best, and the Classic is the main event. This is the third time it has taken place at Keeneland, in Lexington, KY. Post time is slated for 5:40 pm ET. NBC will televise the race.



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Odds for the Breeders’ Cup Classic have shifted a little over the last month. Both Cigar in 1996 and American Pharoah in 2015 went off at -143. Flightline is likely to be an even stronger favorite and is currently listed at -167. Whether you are betting on or against Flightline, consider the horse racing betting apps to make your bets like TVG and TwinSpires.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic Saturday at Keeneland is likely to feature the biggest favorite in race history. Unbeaten Flightline steps up in competition but has dominated all comers thus far. Can Epicenter, Life Is Good, Taiba, Hot Rod Charlie, Rich Strike, Olympiad, or Happy Saver pull the upset?

Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds Favor Flightline

Some wondered whether Flightline really wanted to go a mile-and-a-quarter, the BC Classic distance before he tried it at Del Mar in early September. At -333, there was an argument to bet against him.

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Suddenly that 30-cent profit on every dollar bet looks pretty good. The competition Saturday is considerably steeper. This is by far the toughest field Flightline has faced. That said, the idea that you could make 60 cents on each buck isn’t so bad if you think he is a generational talent.

There are no knocks on Flightline except for his level of competition is pretty good but not great, and he has run only five times. If you like him to win, an exacta with your next choice behind him could make sense.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders: Epicenter, Life Is Good, Taiba

Lost in a race that Flightline deservedly will get most of the attention is a high-end field. In another year, any of these contenders could be hyped favorites.

Epicenter has made $2.9 million in 10 races and looked absolutely spectacular in back-to-back runs over the summer at Saratoga after finishing second by small margins in a pair of Triple Crown events.

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Though Epicenter has not faced older foes, he was the Kentucky Derby favorite for a reason. He fires every time, and should be rolling down the stretch.

Life Is Good may not have loved the mud in New York on October 1, but he won. Before that, he looked very strong in Saratoga’s Whitney Stakes.

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If Flightline has a problem, it may be Life is Good. A nine-time winner in 11 career starts, Life Is Good has career earnings of $4.4 million.

His only loss came a world away in Dubai, and when his jockey was widely criticized for blowing a race at Saratoga last year. Life Is Good always goes to the lead. He is very fast early on. He may not want a mile-and-a-quarter, but he’ll be gunning it, and what does that mean for Flightline who also always runs up front?

Taiba has been oddly handled. He cost a boatload, $1.7 million. Then because of injury, Taiba didn’t debut until March 5. After not only winning but running incredibly fast in the Santa Anita Derby, he was put into the Kentucky Derby having only started twice. The Run for the Roses didn’t go well, but his two races since are excellent.

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Trained by Bob Baffert, Taiba had to have a different conditioner for the Triple Crown because of Baffert’s suspension. Four of his five starts are excellent. He has made $1.2 million. This is his first race against older horses, and there is little doubt he’ll be rallying quickly in the final quarter of a mile.

Longshots: Olympiad, Hot Rod Charlie, Rich Strike, Hot Rod Charlie

This year Olympiad has six wins in seven tries and has made $1.8 million. He won his only career race at Keeneland and is coming off an impressive score.

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Olympiad’s only loss this year came against Life Is Good, Happy Saver, and Hot Rod Charlie, all horses he faces in the Classic. If you can excuse one bad day, while he hasn’t beaten a field like this, he certainly has run very well.

Hot Rod Charlie beat Rich Strike in one of the stranger races of 2022 last time out.

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Both horses ran huge, but what was Rich Strike’s jockey doing down the stretch?

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Sonnny Leon, who guided Rich Strike to win the Kentucky Derby, was suspended for his conduct in the Lukas Classic. Rich Strike hasn’t won since the Derby, where he beat Epicenter among others, but he has run pretty well. As for Hot Rod Charlie, he was fourth in the Classic last year, and with earnings of $5.5 million, is a pro’s pro.

Breeders Cup Classic Prediction

Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont Stakes is regarded as the greatest horse race ever run. Secretariat is the GOAT. Through five races, Flightline has looked like Secretariat.

If Flightline runs as he has thus far, he is likely to win again. A $100 bet would return a $60 profit, and that isn’t bad.

Secretariat ran 21 times. He lost five of them. Epicenter has been spectacular this year, and Taiba has all the talent in the world. You will not be laughed at trying to find a good price in the Breeders’ Cup Classic odds. That said -167 comes with an implied probability of 62.5%, and it sure feels like Flightline has a 75% (-300) or 80% (-400) chance of finishing first.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Pick: Flightline (-167)


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