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Top Six 2022 Horse Of Year Candidates Are Running In Breeders Cup
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Top Six 2022 Horse Of Year Candidates Are Running In Breeders Cup

by Daniel BenjaminOctober 22, 2022

The Breeders Cup generally impacts the Horse of the Year race. 2022 is no different though the World Championships could play a bigger part in determining the top Eclipse winner as five of the top six contenders for the award are participating in the Breeders Cup Classic.

Top Six 2022 Horse Of Year Candidates Are Running In Breeders Cup

 

The Breeders Cup, an extremely important time in horse racing for several reasons, is just two weeks away. The Breeders Cup is essentially a two-day celebration of the year, as most of the top horses participating in the 14 races will not run again until 2023. It also serves as the World Championship, as the event generally draws the top horses, with the total purse being $29 million.

Not only are some of the horses vying to win the purse and trophy that comes with a victory in the World Championships, but a few of them are competing for the prestigious American Horse of the Year honor. The Eclipse Award is presented to the winner in each division, the top horse overall, and a few other categories. There has not been a horse to win Horse of the Year that has not also won their respective Breeders Cup race.

The following looks at the top six horses still in contention for Horse of the Year. The Breeders Cup will take place November 4-5 at Keeneland Race Course (Lexington, KY).

 

Flightline

Flightline has been so dominant this year, and throughout his short career, he sits atop most Horse of the Year rankings despite the Breeders Cup being just the third time he hits the track in 2022. The 4-year-old colt, No. 1 in the final Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, is coming off an incredible 19-and-one-quarter length victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic Stakes on Sept. 3 as he posted a career-best Beyer figure of 126. Flightline also won his other race this year in convincing fashion, winning the (G1) Metropolitan Handicap by six lengths.

A son of Tapit, Flightline is undefeated in five career races while winning each event by at least six lengths. His wins have come at varying distances as he has two victories at six furlongs, one at seven furlongs, one at a mile, and one at one mile and a quarter.

Flightline is the overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the $6 million Breeders Cup Classic and is projected to go off as the shortest-priced favorite in Breeders Cup history. Flightline is expected to be challenged by Epicenter, Life Is Good, Olympiad, Taiba (33-1), and Rich Strike (64-1), among others.

 

Epicenter

The best 3-year-old male has been incredibly consistent over his last eight races, finishing either first or second in each event. Epicenter (10-6-3-0) enters the Breeders Cup Classic on a two-race win streak and comes off an awe-inspiring five-and-one-quarter-length victory in the Grade I Travers Stakes (Aug. 27), besting CyberKnife, Zandon, and Rich Strike.

Epicenter also has two Grade II wins and finished second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He has proven to be a distance horse, with his last nine events being a mile or longer. Epicenter’s odds of winning the BC Classic is 7-1.

Life Is Good

Talk about consistency, the four-year son of Into Mischief has been the epitome of that. Life Is Good has entered the victory circle in three straight races and four of five in 2022. However, in his last outing, the Grade I Woodward Stakes, he was pushed against a weak field.

Life Is Good (11-9-1-0), a versatile runner, has three Grade I Stakes wins. He is listed at 8-1 in the early going for the BC Classic.

 

Olympiad

Olympiad has had a nice season and a solid career thus far, winning eight of 12 races while also recording a second and third-place finish. But the 4-year-old son of Speightstown only has one Grade I victory, which came in his last outing. That Grade I victory keeps him in the top six for this year. He is 8-1 to win the BC Classic.

 

Nest

The only filly among the top contenders for Horse of the Year is the clear top three-year-old on the female side. The daughter of Curlin has reeled off three straight wins, which includes a monumental effort in the Grade II Beldame Stakes, where she crossed the wire nearly nine lengths before anyone else.

Nest has won five of her seven races in 2022, finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes. She will run in the Distaff at the Breeders Cup this year in what will be the toughest competition that she has faced. Nest is expected to be the third betting choice behind Malathaat and Clairiere.

 

Rich Strike

The surprise Kentucky Derby winner is also a long shot at winning the Horse of the Year as well as the BC Classic. The 3-year-old has proven to be a versatile horse, and worthy of being in the top six, but not sure he is great. Rich Strike has just one win though he has a second-place and three third-place finishes.


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About The Author
Daniel Benjamin