By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS AMGELES (Reuters) – California Chrome, North America’s all-time leading money earner, and Travers Stakes winner Arrogate headed an impressive list of 14 pre-entries announced on Wednesday for next week’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014, is unbeaten this year after romping to victory in all six races in dominant fashion, including the Dubai World Cup on March 26.
Santa Anita Derby champion in 2014, ‘Chrome’ has accumulated career earnings of $13.4 million and is expected to start the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at iconic Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Nov. 5 as favorite to win.
A formidable challenge to California Chrome should come from the late-developing 3-year-old Arrogate, who stormed to victory by a staggering 13 1/2 lengths in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August after setting a track record.
With Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith on board, Arrogate will also offer Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a shot at a third consecutive triumph at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Baffert saddled 2014 champion Bayern at Santa Anita and last year’s winner at Keeneland, American Pharoah.
Other runners of note in the 2016 Classic will be Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Irish raider Found and Godolphin’s Frosted, who earned a coveted berth at Santa Anita with victory at Saratoga’s ‘Win and You’re In’ Whitney in August.
“We are once again privileged to host the all-stars of thoroughbred racing and are very pleased with the overall strength of our pre-entered fields,” Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said in a statement.
“It is a tribute to the Breeders’ Cup and we are looking forward to watching stars like California Chrome, Found, Tepin, Songbird and Beholder.”
The Breeders’ Cup, to be staged at Santa Anita for a record ninth time from Nov. 4-5, is a two-day event which is billed as the world championships of thoroughbred racing.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)