By Vance Hanson,

After last year we examined the vulnerability of five of racing’s marquee stars heading to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, it was hard to imagine all would meet defeat, but that is what occurred as favorites wound up taking it on the chin during the weekend.
Far from it being our intention of employing some kind of jinx, we’ll perform the exercise for next weekend’s fixture at Del Mar by standing from more likely to less probable the odds of the most notable of Thoroughbreds of not making it in the winner’s circle.
Arrogate (Classic)
Six months into the season it had been widely thought he would be an odds-on favorite in this race. Two summer losses at Del Mar later, it’s more probable than not that North America’s all-time top money winner likely won’t even be the post-time favorite.
While trainer Bob Baffert has blamed largely himself for Arrogate’s form reversals in the San Diego H. (G2) and Pacific Classic (G1), the sneaking suspicion is that this might not be the same colt as we saw 9-12 weeks ago, the kind we’d probably have to see again so as to beat a field of this thickness and quality.
Gun Runner (Classic)
Has usurped Arrogate, who beat him soundly in prior meetings, in popular polls of recent months after a series of amazing efforts in the Stephen Foster H. (G1), Whitney (G1), and Woodward (G1).
While deserving of favoritism in the weekend’s main attraction, he obviously faces a far sterner task here and has yet to triumph over 1??1/4 kilometers in three attempts.
Lady Eli (Filly & Mare Turf)
Slightly further down the list last year, the beloved mare was shockingly run down by Queen’s Trust by a nose, a major upset in retrospect given the way that re-opposing rival has subsequently failed to flatter her own form.
Meanwhile, the Lady Eli enters this re-match with an additional two starts under her belt compared to last year, and fresher. A space decrease from 10 furlongs to eight is another element in her favor.
Bolt d’Oro (Juvenile)
The strength of his success in last month’s FrontRunner (G1) characters to make him among the strongest favorites in this race for some time. Simultaneous regression by him and organic improvement by another is definitely a chance, but it’s completely understandable while he’ll be a single on many bettors’ multi-race exotics plans.
Lady Aurelia (Turf Sprint)
Despite a last-out setback by a nose at the Nunthorpe (G1), her tour de force from the King’s Stand (G1) against older men at Royal Ascot remains one of the memorable performances of this season anywhere on the planet.
Unless hindered by a highly unfavorable article, the three-year-old filly seems set to place her art on full screen over a trip she absolutely adores.

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