Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has a chance to exact revenge on Saturday when he hops aboard the Bill Mott-trained Yoshida for the 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Only a few weeks ago, Smith was set to ride the Bob Baffert trainee McKinzie, the 3-1 favorite in the current 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic odds. But after McKinzie finished second in the Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 28, Baffert replaced Smith, the only jockey McKinzie has known, with Joel Rosario. Smith then promptly took the mount on Yoshida, whom Rosario had been riding. Yoshida is listed at 8-1 in the 2019 Breeders' Cup odds. With such an acclaimed field taking the starting gate at Santa Anita, some expert help can go a long way. That's why you'll want to hear what longtime horse racing handicapper Richard Eng has to say before placing any 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic picks of your own.
Not only was Eng the turf editor and handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 20 years, he literally wrote the book on wagering on the sport. He was the author of "Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies," the preeminent book for newcomers to horse racing. Prior to his work for the Review-Journal, Eng worked as a publicist for the New York Racing Association, Garden State Park, Monmouth Park, Santa Anita Park and Turfway Park. He's lived and breathed horse racing and knows a winner when he sees one.
To say that Eng was all-in on Justify early last year would be a massive understatement. He picked Justify when that horse was a huge 100-1 longshot in the Kentucky Derby Futures Book in January 2018, even before the horse made his racing debut. He picked Justify to win all three Triple Crown races, cashing big each time.
At this year's Belmont Stakes, Eng nailed the top two horses, even though Sir Winston surprised the field at 10-1 odds, with favorite Tacitus taking second. He also nailed Seeking the Soul winning June's Stephen Foster, at 9-2 odds. Anyone who has followed Eng's lead is way up.
Now, Eng has handicapped the 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic field and released his horse-by-horse analysis and projected order of finish over at SportsLine.
We can tell you Eng is high on Elate, an underdog at 6-1 Breeders' Cup odds 2019. The five-year-old daughter of Medagalia d'Oro has seven wins and seven second place finishes in 18 career starts. But she is coming into the Breeders' Cup 2019 on a two-racing losing streak, having finished second in the Personal Ensign and Spinster Stakes, two Grade 1 races.
Despite the streak, Eng believes that no other horse in the Classic will enjoy the 1 1/4-mile distance more than Elate. She is a perfect 3-for-3 at 10 furlongs, which includes a driving, four-length romp in the Delaware Handicap in July. In addition, unlike many of the East Coast-based horses in the 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic lineup, Elate was able to get familiar with Santa Anita's new, deep-and-tiring dirt surface, having worked three furlongs there on Oct. 27. Those extra days on the track could make a major difference.
Another curveball: Eng is fading Vino Rosso, the second-biggest favorite of the entire race at 4-1. In fact, Eng says Vino Rosso doesn't even hit the board. In his most recent race, Vino Rosso crossed the finish line first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, also at Santa Anita, but was disqualified and placed second after interfering with Code of Honor. However, Vino Rosso hasn't been able to put together back-to-back winning races this year. In his five starts in 2019, he has finished first, fourth, first, third and first. If that form holds, he is set to run a disappointing race on Saturday.
Instead, Eng is all over an under-the-radar longshot to hit the board hard. If the horse hits as Eng expects, you could be looking at a massive payout at one of horse racing's biggest events.
So who is Richard Eng's 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic pick? And which under-the-radar longshot is a must-use? See the 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Eng's complete leaderboard for the Breeders' Cup Classic, and find out.
Code of Honor (4-1)
Vino Rosso (4-1)
Higher Power (6-1)
Mongolian Groom (12-1)
Seeking the Soul (20-1)
War of Will (20-1)
Math Wizard (30-1)