Trainer Bob Baffert will try to win the Saudi Cup for the first time when he sends out the top two contenders in the 2023 Saudi Cup on Saturday at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 70-year-old Baffert has finished second the last two years – with Country Grammer last year and Charlatan in 2021. Baffert also ran fourth (Mucho Gusto) and 11th (McKinzie) in the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup, in 2020. On Saturday Baffert has two good shots to win the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race. Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba is the 15-8 favorite in the latest 2023 Saudi Cup odds. And after last year’s runner-up finish, Country Grammer is back for a second try and is second in the odds at 7-2 in the Saudi Cup 2023 field.
The 2023 Saudi Cup post time is 12:35 p.m. ET. With 13 of the world’s most accomplished horses set to enter the starting gate on Saturday, you’ll want to see what racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu, who is in Saudi Arabia covering the race, has to say before making any 2023 Saudi Cup picks.
Few people in racing are as well-connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.
Yu also has tremendous handicapping chops. In the 2011 Kentucky Derby, she correctly tabbed Animal Kingdom to win at a hefty 21-1. In the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, she nailed 11-1 long shot Wuheida to win the Filly and Mare Turf. Last year, in a wide-open Kentucky Derby, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1. In last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, she hit the Knicks Go-Medina Spirit exacta for $260.80. And in Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager this year, she suggested a play on All Other 3-Year-Olds, which cashed at a whopping 18-1 when Rich Strike won the Derby.
Since joining SportsLine in November 2021, her picks have cashed in the 2021 and ’22 Breeders’ Cup Classics, Kentucky Oaks, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, among other races. Anyone who has followed her is way up.
Now, Yu has handicapped the 2023 Saudi Cup field, given her horse-by-horse analysis, made her picks and constructed her wagers. Head to SportsLine to see them.
Top 2023 Saudi Cup predictions
One surprise: Yu is bullish on Japanese contender Jun Light Bolt, who is 15-2 in the Saudi Cup odds. A 6-year-old son of King Kamehameha, Jun Light Bolt has spent the majority of his career running on turf and all-weather surfaces. But he has been a different horse since moving to the dirt, with a second and three wins. The three victories have come in his last three starts.
His last start arguably was his best, showing an impressive late kick to run down 2022 UAE Derby winner Crown Pride. “He really likes the dirt, and his closing kick makes him a contender to take the crown home to Japan,” Yu told SportsLine. She is using Jun Light Bolt prominently in her wagers. See which horses to back at SportsLine.
How to make 2023 Saudi Cup picks
Yu’s top choice is a horse who is “dangerous if he’s allowed to set the lead alone.” She also is high on a double-digit longshot who should “get the outside trip he likes.” She’s sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.
So what horse will be dangerous if he’s able to set the lead alone? What double-digit longshot is a must-back? What does Yu think of every horse in the race? And how has she constructed her wagers? Visit SportsLine to see Yu’s picks for the Saudi Cup, and find out.
2023 Saudi Cup odds