2023 Breeders' Cup post draw analysis and implications

October 31st, 2023

Post positions for the 2023 Breeders’ Cup were drawn on Monday evening, finalizing the fields for the 14 championship races across Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) is the feature event on an action-packed Saturday card, and the post position draw produced some tough luck for last year’s Clark (G1) hero #13 Proxy (12-1), who risks a wide trip from the outside post.

In between, runaway Whitney (G1) winner #3 White Abarrio (4-1) may find himself racing farther off the pace than in the Whitney after drawing inside of speedier rivals like Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner #6 Saudi Crown (12-1) and Pacific Classic (G1) winner #12 Arabian Knight (3-1). The latter colt has led after half a mile in each of his first four starts and figures to come out of the gate running from post 12, which should ensure an honest pace.

The Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) is a lengthy 1 1/2-mile contest in which post positions shouldn’t play a major factor, even in the 13-horse field. Favored European raiders #9 Mostahdaf (5-2), #5 Auguste Rodin (3-1), and #11 King of Steel (4-1) have all drawn well.

In the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), several talented speed horses are set to face off for the first time. Favored #4 Idiomatic (5-2) arguably got the worst of the draw while landing inside of fellow pace players #5 Adare Manor (4-1) and #8 Randomized (6-1). On the other hand, assuming Idiomatic breaks cleanly, a ground-saving trip on the front end may be in the offing.

The Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) drew a full 14-horse field, and #14 Master of the Seas (7-2) had the misfortune to land post 14 after breaking from the rail when winning the Woodbine Mile (G1) and finishing second in the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1). He’ll need some luck to work out a winning trip, especially after key rivals #6 Mawj (4-1) and #10 Songline (5-2) landed favorable posts.

#1 Goodnight Olive (6-5), reigning winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), must start from the rail in her title defense. But with only nine horses in the field, post positions shouldn’t influence the outcome to any great degree.

The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) starts on a turn, which could potentially compromise the wide-drawn European raiders #11 Lumiere Rock (12-1) and #12 State Occasion (20-1) while lending an advantage to last year’s Filly & Mare Turf runner-up #1 In Italian (4-1), a pure pacesetter who should have no trouble securing the lead from the rail post.

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) drew only nine horses and shouldn’t produce any hard-luck stories based on post positions. Defending Dirt Mile winner #3 Cody’s Wish (9-5) landed post 3 and should work out a fine trip even if he breaks slowly, as has become his tendency.

Nor should post positions play a major role in the outcome of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), which attracted nine horses. Almost everyone drew well for their running style, including reigning Sprint winner #8 Elite Power (9-5) in post 8.

This stands in contrast to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), which drew an overflow field of 16 horses including four also-eligible entrants. #3 Caravel (5-1) wired the 2022 Turf Sprint, but hasn’t shown as much early speed in recent starts and risks getting buried in traffic while breaking from post 3 with pacesetters like #5 Live In The Dream (9-2), #7 Nobals (6-1), and #11 Jasper Krone (12-1) to her outside.

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On Breeders’ Cup Friday, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) kicks things off with a 15-horse field including three also-eligible entrants. Here’s the problem: speedy Queen Mary (G2) winner #1 Crimson Advocate (4-1), her two-time stakes-winning stablemate #2 No Nay Mets (4-1), and the group stakes-winning European raiders #3 Tiger Belle (15-1), #4 Big Evs (3-1), and #5 Givemethebeatboys (15-1) have all shown pacesetting speed, and they’ve landed the five inside post positions. Throw in the speedy Speakeasy winner #11 Slider (8-1) farther outside, and a wild rush for early supremacy could be on the horizon.

In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), runaway Del Mar Debutante (G1) winner #7 Tamara (4-5) drew post 7, right in the middle of a 13-horse field. She got the best luck of the draw, whereas Alcibiades (G1) winner #1 Candied (4-1) must avoid traffic from the rail and Frizette (G1) heroine #12 Just F Y I (8-1) risks a wide trip from post 12.

A total of 16 horses, including two also-eligibles, have entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Cheveley Park (G1) winner #6 Porta Fortuna (5-1) should have every chance for a clean trip from post 6, as should stretch-running Natalma (G1) winner #11 She Feels Pretty (4-1) in post 11. The main question is how fast unbeaten Surfer Girl (G3) winner #13 Dreamfyre (15-1)—who has set the pace in all three of her starts—will have to run to secure the lead from post 13. If she guns for the front, it could speed up the Juvenile Fillies Turf tempo.

In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), unbeaten #2 Prince of Monaco (4-1) might have hoped for a wider draw than post 2, though he won the Del Mar Futurity (G1) after saving ground from the rail post and remains a formidable contender. That said, fellow Grade 1 winners #4 Timberlake (4-1), #6 Locked (7-2), and #10 Muth (4-1) arguably got the best of the draw.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) drew a full field of 14. Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won the race a record five times, and his three entrants #2 River Tiber (3-1), #8 Unquestionable (4-1), and #12 Mountain Bear (12-1) all drew well enough, though Mountain Bear is a bit wide. The unluckiest participant might be #14 Carson’s Run (6-1), who is marooned in the far outside post after breaking from post 2 when winning the Summer (G1).