Mitrovic double helps book Al-Hilal a place in King’s Cup quarter-finals

Arabian Knight early 3-1 favorite for $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic; Bob Baffert goes for 5th win

PASADENA, California: Arabian Knight is the early 3-1 favorite for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic this weekend at Santa Anita.

The two-day world championships drew 205 horses including 59 from five foreign countries to the track in Arcadia. Santa Anita is hosting for a record 11th time on the 40th anniversary of the event.

The Classic will be broadcast Saturday on NBC.

Arabian Knight drew the No. 12 post on Monday in the 13-horse field for the 1 1/4-mile Classic. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Classic four times – all with 3-year-olds, the same age as Arabian Knight.

Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo will break from the No. 1 post as the early 7-2 second choice.

“He’s won from the one (post) before,” trainer Jena Antonucci said after the draw at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Arcangelo hasn’t been to the track the last couple mornings after an irritated left hind foot required a new shoe.

“It seems like everyone is quite stressed about this horse,” said Antonucci, already the first woman to win a Triple Crown race and the Travers this year. “We’ll be patient, always put the horse first.”

The Classic lost Kentucky Derby winner Mage and Geaux Rocket Ride last week. Mage was laid low by a fever and Geaux Rocket Ride got hurt in a workout and had surgery Sunday.

Whitney winner White Abarrio drew the No. 3 post for trainer Rick Dutrow, who has his first Breeders’ Cup runner since 2010. He won the 2005 Classic with Saint Liam. Dutrow is back after serving a 10-year suspension.

Friday’s five-race card features all 2-year-olds, with the winner of the $2 million Juvenile typically tabbed as the winter-book favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

Locked is the early 7-2 favorite for the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile for trainer Todd Pletcher. He has three entries in the field of 11, while Baffert also has three runners.

Other favorites in Friday’s races:

– Big Evs at 3-1 in the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint.

– Tamara at 4-5 in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies.

– She Feels Pretty at 4-1 in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.

– Ireland-bred River Tiber at 3-1 in the $1 million Juvenile Turf.

Saturday’s card features nine races with results figuring into year-end honors for Eclipse Awards.

The $4 million Turf is led by Mostahdaf, the 5-2 favorite bred in Ireland.

Idiomatic tops the 11-horse field for the $2 million Distaff. The 5-2 favorite is trained by Brad Cox.

Japan-bred Songline is the 5-2 favorite for the $2 million Mile.

Other favorites in Saturday’s races:

– Defending champion Cody’s Wish at 9-5 odds in the $1 million Dirt Mile.

– Britain-bred Inspiral at 5-2 odds in $2 million Filly & Mare Turf.

– Goodnight Olive at 6-4 odds in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint.

– Ireland-bred Live in the Dream at 9-2 odds in the $1 million Turf Sprint.

– Elite Power at 9-5 odds in the $2 million Sprint.

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