If Flightline was not running in the Classic, a strong argument could be made for Epicenter as the morning-line favorite based on his eye-catching improvement over the summer. Always highly regarded, he’d won four of six starts racing on or near the lead heading into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, in which he went off as the 4.10-1 favorite. The son of young sire Not This Time stalked the pace in the Derby and took command in midstretch, holding Zandon at bay with every step, only to be overtaken by a surging Rich Strike two paths to his inside (it appeared that Epicenter never saw that foe). After another runner-up effort in the Preakness Stakes, in which he was squeezed early and raced farther back than usual, Epicenter resurfaced at Saratoga in midsummer and took his game up a notch, emphatically winning both the Jim Dandy Stakes and the 1 ¼-mile Runhappy Travers Stakes while establishing himself as the best 3-year-old in North America. He’s been training at Keeneland steadily since the Travers, and Steve Asmussen has expressed confidence that his charge has taken yet another step forward in development as he prepares for the biggest challenge of his career. He’ll need to do just that to pull off the upset as his best finishing times in route races and overall speed figures can’t compare with Flightline’s. Epicenter is a must-use horse in vertical bets such as the exacta and trifecta, however, and if for some reason Flightline fails to show up on Nov. 5, he should be in the right position to take advantage under the skillful handling of Joel Rosario.
Breeders’ Cup Classic history: Rosario has won two out of the last four Classics on Accelerate (2018) and Knicks Go (2021), and he’s also finished second once and third once. Hall of Famer Asmussen won the 2007 Classic with Curlin and in 2017 with Gun Runner (co-owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds), and both of those horses were voted Horse of the Year.
Epicenter NFT Holders can enter to win clubhouse box seats to watch him run in the Breeders' Cup Classic!
And with Epicenter as a leading contender in the race, the OpenStable team is going to make a best effort to arrange a meet-and-greet with Epicenter for NFT holders if he wins. For more information, email the team.