The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are right around the corner. Churchill Downs in Kentucky is set to host this year’s event, its 35th running.
For those who don’t know, the Breeders’ Cup is the annual marquee event in horse racing and is staged at a different US track each fall. These championships have been around since 1984, and as of the 2018 meet, the prize money has reached over $30 million.
Breeders’ Cup 2018 will see the best juveniles, 3-year-olds, and older horses running over everything from 5 1/2 furlongs right up to a mile and 1/2. With some of Europe’s best thrown into the mix, Louisville will be lit up by the world’s most amazing equine talent on November 2 & 3.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST BREEDERS’ CUP RACES?
There will 14 championship races spread across the meet’s two days, but the biggest one is saved until last: the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Run over 1 1/4 miles over the same dirt track and distance as the Kentucky Derby, the idea is that the best of the 3-year-old generation will meet older horses to battle it out and see who’s best over the classic distance.
In a perfect world, we would see a Triple Crown winner in this race, but despite the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes all having been won by Justify this year, injury ruled the superstar out, so the race is wide open.
The penultimate race on the card is the Breeders’ Cup Turf, run over 1 1/2 miles, which with a $4 million purse is the second-most valuable race. Given the distance and racing surface, this race has often been the domain of the European challengers.
Six additional BC races will be worth at least $2 million, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a race of huge importance because whichever horse wins this will go right to the top of most people’s lists for next year’s Triple Crown races.
It goes without saying that horses of varying ages running over different distances and on two distinct surfaces cannot be treated the same way. We need to look out for what works best in each of the individual Breeders’ Cup races and not simply follow one rigid system throughout the meet.
Comparing the relative strength of the different Grade 1 races won by challengers in various states can be tough, but that’s what makes betting on these races such fun!
Breeders’ Cup Classic
This race brings together the best of the best but it’s not always the favorite that comes out on top, so keep that in mind.
Despite that, it’s hard for a genuine longshot to win a race of this quality, and that is reflected in the trends. 11 of the last 14 Classic winners won their last prep ,race and ALL Classic winners have finished in the first three on their last runs before this one, so stay away from runners out of form, no matter how good they’ve been in the past.
Age is a factor, too. These horses have to be at their peak to win this race, hence a handful of 5-year-olds have won, but all other Classic victories have been shared by 3- and 4-year olds. In fact, most years, a 3-year-old has finished in the money somewhere, so watch out for the young guns.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
European horses tend to be bred for stamina and most run on turf, so it’s not surprising that they have dominated this event over the years.
The European angle is definitely one on which to concentrate, and with champion filly and dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable now confirmed for the race, it seems that she will be many players’ banker bet on Saturday.
Look out for horses trained in England, Ireland, or France that have put in their best work over 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 miles this season, especially on firmer ground.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
Once again, there is a good European angle here, especially because the race is run on turf. The overseas horses have a great chance as always, but bear in mind that this year, the only one to stand out in that division, Alpha Centauri, retired due to injury, so now could be the time for the home team.
Try the Pick 6
Try looking for trends in the Breeders’ Cup races that will help you knock out the horses that you think don’t have the right profile for the race in which they are running, and place your bets accordingly.
You could narrow each field down and try placing a Pick 6. This is the most popular bet at the Championships and requires you to pick six straight winners.
The Pick 6 is a pool bet, and in the past, winners have walked away with million-dollar payouts from a minimum bet of $2. Bettors can place multiple bets and place multiple horses in each race on one ticket, or even pay more than the per-bet minimum.
The Breeders’ Cup Pick 6 runs in the final six races of each day: races 4-9 on Friday (Future Stars Day) and races 7-12 on Saturday. You can bet the Pick 6 at the track via the parimutuel system (if you’re lucky enough to be there), or online with betting sites such as TVG.
WHERE SHOULD I PLACE MY BETS?
With fall racing fully up and running, and with betting the Breeders’ Cup right around the corner, TVG is a trusted one-stop destination for legal online wagering, making it the place to go.
You can double your first deposit with TVG. Deposit $100 and TVG will give you a $100 bonus, so you can play with $200 at the Churchill Downs spectacular!