Best Outsider Picks to Challenge Flightline for the Breeders’ Cup Classic

Best Outsider Picks to Challenge Flightline for the Breeders’ Cup Classic

The scene is set for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic, but there is a commanding choice at the top of the betting, as oddsmakers believe that Flightline will etch his name into the history books at Keeneland this year.

The John Sadler-trained runner has been dominant throughout the season, and any doubts surrounding his ability to step up in trip were answered emphatically with a near 20 lengths demolition of Country Grammer in the G1 Pacific Classic.

However, given that Flightline is so short in the betting, there are enough contenders among the Breeders’ Cup 2022 picks for the most prestigious Grade 1 on the American calendar.


One of the best value plays for the Classic this year could come in the form of Bob Baffert’s Taiba. The three-year-old looked like a potential superstar earlier this year after winning on each of his two starts before landing the G1 Santa Anita Derby from then-Derby favorite Messier by two lengths.

However, the Kentucky Derby did not play out as many thought, as Taiba struggled for a position throughout the race at Churchill Downs, and eventually finished way back in 12th.

However, he has been building momentum since then, and his second in the G1 Haskell to Cyberknife was followed by a tremendous ride in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby, eventually beating Zandon by three lengths. It remains to be seen where his ceiling really is, but I’d expect a very bold showing from Baffert’s top chance in the Classic.

Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie was one of the horses last season that punters grew to love, as the Doug O’Neill runner would always give his all in every race that he was involved in.

That has been evident once again this season, as he has finished in the top three on all four starts that he has made. However, wins have been harder to come by, as he has come up short when competing in the most lucrative races.

An example of that was the fact that he finished over two lengths behind Life Is Good in the G1 Whitney at Saratoga in August. But bettors will always get a run for their money with the four-year-old, and there was a glimpse that he could get back to somewhere near his best when beating Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike by a head in the G2 Lukas Classic.

He also has previous track experience at Keeneland after finishing less than a length behind Essential Quality in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2020. His determination is always something that puts him towards the first to finish, and Hot Rod Charlie is likely to be a key part of any Exacta or Trifecta bet at the Breeders’ Cup this year.

Art Collector

Art Collector is another contender that could be a dark horse pick for the Classic this year. It will be his second trip to Keeneland after he was well beaten in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by Knicks Go in 2020. However, he does look more at home over the extended distance.

His bid for Classic glory came up very short last year, as he finished over 14 lengths behind Knicks Go at Del Mar, but Keeneland is a track that could play more towards his strengths.

His form this season has been relatively solid, as he has won twice from three starts in the U.S. His best win was scored at Charles Town in late August, as he finished over four lengths clear of Muad’Dib in the G2 Charles Town Classic.

However, any hope that he could shorten the betting for the Classic was quickly ended after finishing fifth of six in the G2 Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs. That leaves him with a mountain to climb to win the Classic this year, but his previous form at Keeneland offers hope.

One of his standout wins was scored at the track in July 2020, as he landed the G1 Blue Grass Stakes by over three lengths from Swiss Skydiver. While Art Collector does not look like the most reliable win play at Keeneland later this year, he does at least offer some excellent value when it comes to a place or each-way bet in the big race.

GBC Time

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