Heading into the 2000 Classic much of the talk centered around Fusaichi Pegasus, the Derby winner from that year and the 6/5 favorite to win the Classic at Churchill Downs. FuPeg entered the Classic off of a victory in the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes at Belmont in late September, bypassing the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a traditional Classic prep race. Prior to that, FuPeg hadn't raced since finishing second in the Preakness to Red Bullet. Despite his sparse race record, the crowd flocked to him at the windows and sent him to post as the clear favorite.
Giant's Causeway spent the bulk of 2000 winning about every big race in England on the calendar. He began the season with a victory in Ireland before winning the G1-2000 Guineas at Newmarket. He followed up his Guineas triumph with scores in the G1-St. James's Palace, G1-Coral Eclipse, G1-Sussex, G1-Juddmonte International and G1-Irish Champion Stakes before finishing 2nd in the G1-Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in late September.
If the connections had entered Giant's Causeway in the the Breeders' Cup Mile he would have been a heavy favorite. Instead they decided to take a shot in the Classic and the opportunity to send the Euoropean Horse of the Year out on a exceptionally high note. At the top of the stretch it looked like Giant's Causeway would be the first European trained horse to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Instead, he was a neck second to the first California-bred horses to win the race.
Tiznow, a colt that didn't make his debut until April of his three-year-old season, took a much different path to the Classic than either FuPeg or Giant's Causeway. After breaking his maiden in his third lifetime start, Tiznow went on a run of fantastic form that would carry him for two seasons. He won the G3-Affirmed, finished 2nd in the G1-Swaps and the G1-Pacific Classic before winning the G2-Goodwood Stakes in his final pre-BC race. His strong performances over the summer were ignored by much of the racing public, as indicated by his post time odds of 9/1.