McKinzie, with a new jockey replacing Hall of Famer Mike Smith, is the 3-1 favorite for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic this weekend at troubled Santa Anita.
The track is hosting the world championships for a record 10th time Friday and Saturday. A total of 36 horses have died at Santa Anita since December, including two since last Friday.
That hasn’t deterred an international group of horses from gathering to chase over $30 million in purse money.
McKinzie drew the No. 8 post in the 11-horse field for the 1 ¼-mile Classic on Monday. He’ll be ridden by Joel Rosario, who replaced Smith after McKinzie finished second as the favorite in the Awesome Again on his home track last month.
Baffert is going for his fourth victory in the Classic. He won it from 2014-16.
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