2022 Breeders' Cup Dirt Contender Rankings

October 28th, 2022

The much anticipated Breeders’ Cup World Championships are nearly upon us, with the two-day extravaganza set to take place at Keeneland on November 4 and 5.

The following contender rankings are not my final selections as of yet, as numerous things can change between now and actual race day, but this is how I currently see the top-three players in each of the seven Grade 1 dirt divisions.


Flightline won in stunning fashion on Sept. 5 at Del Mar with a 117 Brisnet Speed Rating (Photo by Benoit Photography)


  1. Flightline – Unbeaten ‘freak’ is the clear one to beat for Sadler
  2. Epicenter – Standout sophomore sitting on another huge effort
  3. Hot Rod Charlie – Consistently excellent colt likes the Keeneland surface


  1. Malathaat – Genuine filly never runs a bad one
  2. Nest – Superb sophomore gives Pletcher a mighty duo in the affair
  3. Clairiere – Asmussen pupil looms large with her best effort

Dirt Mile:

Jack Christopher winning the Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park (Photo by Joe Labozzetta/Coglianese Photos)

  1. Jack Christopher – Brown trainee is the one to beat if he lands here
  2. Laurel River – Lightly raced colt has room to improve for Baffert
  3. Cody’s Wish – Forego (G1) winner is currently on a roll for Mott


  1. Jackie’s Warrior – Sprint sensation will be formidable with his best showing
  2. American Theorem – West Coast shipper is thriving since cutting back in distance
  3. Elite Power – Vosburgh (G2) hero is peaking at the right time for Mott

Filly and Mare Sprint:

Kimari wins the Madison Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

  1. Kimari – Sentimental pick has been fantastic in her last pair of outings
  2. Echo Zulu – Champion has to be taken seriously from the start
  3. Goodnight Olive – Ballerina (G1) queen has crushed five fields in succession


  1. Cave Rock – Baffert star has yet to be tested from three races to date
  2. Forte – Classy Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner is proven on the surface
  3. Verifying – Champagne (G1) runner-up flying under the radar for Cox

Juvenile Fillies:

  1. Wonder Wheel – Casse trainee was sharp in the Alcibiades (G1) on the course
  2. Chocolate Gelato – Frizette (G1) starlet could be the one to hold off for Pletcher
  3. Chop Chop – Alcibiades (G1) second had an ideal prep on the surface