HomeThe ShuffleHow to Bet On the Breeders’ Cup

How to Bet On the Breeders’ Cup

It’s the richest two-day event in horse racing: the Breeders’ Cup, awarding more than $30 million November 1–2 at Santa Anita in California. Get ready to place your bets with advice from Davey B.

The Breeders’ Cup, to be held Friday and Saturday, November 1–2 at Santa Anita Park in California is the betting version of all-you-can-eat. On steroids. Here are some thoughts on navigating:

  • There are five graded stakes on November 1 and nine more on November 2. The most lucrative, the Classic, has a $6 million payout. What does that mean? A horse can win more than $1 million for his connections by finishing second, and fourth place returns $300,000.
  • Massive fields and big money means horses will be overlooked. You might get 7-1 odds on a horse you’d normally figure for 2-1. Bet the win, place and show line with confidence.
  • Organize your bankroll. It would be easy to throw a lot of money at every race, the quality is so exceptional. But you can’t. Figure a certain percentage for normal wagering, some for late-inspiration bets, and a little for a “stab” at a potentially lucrative trifecta or superfecta.
  • Long shots run big in these conditions. Most races, including the $6 million Classic, are competitive and thus wide open.
  • Study how the track plays. Santa Anita is normally blisteringly fast, but recent changes to provide more give for the safety of horses may cause front-end speed to tire late in the races. The first couple races will give a clue.
  • The Breeders’ Cup went PC, sacrificing Hall-of-Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer by honoring Santa Anita’s ban on him. Hollendorfer had four horses suffer catastrophic injuries during the Santa Anita winter meet last year; 34 have died since last December and, with the eyes of animal-rights activists and government leaders on them, track owners wants to appear to be cracking down. The Breeders’ Cup probably could have forced Santa Anita to allow Hollendorfer, but took the safe route. He was expendable.
  • Arcangues won the 1993 Breeders’ Cup as a 133-1 shot, the longest on record. That was the only time a European horse won the Classic. It happened on dirt, at Santa Anita. But European horses excel on the turf. But it can happen again: 20 years ago, the largest Breeders’ Cup superfecta of $692,907 unfolded. Why not now? Why not you?

The Breeders’ Cup is the horse-racing version of reaching Mecca, the Vatican, or the holy city of your choice. Enjoy the ride.

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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for sportsquare.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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