For horseplayers, it all comes down to this: the best horses in the world meet for a 14-race festival in the annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This year, the event will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2.
The Breeders’ Cup is a prestigious event with million-dollar purses, Grade 1 races, and year-end Championship honors on the line. Every year is a new storyline, from Zenyatta beating the boys to the epic Beholder and Songbird stretch duel to American Pharoah becoming the first horse to sweep the Triple Crown races and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
It’s also a time to make some serious cash. Full fields and big pools create massive payouts, from a $269 payout on a single $2 win bet in 1993 to a $2.3 million winning Pick 6 ticket in 2003, the Breeders’ Cup has many opportunities for bettors and fans alike.
Here are the top five ways to make money on this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships:
The best and easiest way to make money on the Breeders’ Cup is to pick up some free money from an online horse racing betting site. Accounts are free and your money is safe and secure, but sites like TwinSpires, Xpressbet and TVG are actively recruiting players this week with offers that are too good to pass up. Here are the top three to check out:
The official wagering partner of the Breeders’ Cup, TVG offers an excellent web and mobile-based product. Sign up and use promo code “FALL” to receive up to a $200 refund of your first straight win bet.
If you refer a friend to sign up, you can earn an additional $25.
TwinSpires, familiar to many as the partner site of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, will give you $100 for free after you have bet $500 within 30 days of signing up for an account.
A third option is Xpressbet, who shares an ownership group with the home of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Santa Anita. A new Xpressbet customer can receive a similar bonus, with a free $20 received for every $100 wagered, up to $100 maximum bonus.
All three sites offer promotions on the races themselves, including money back when you bet a horse to win but it finishes second or third – so after you have an account, take advantage of these wager refunds for a no-lose bet!
There is over $7 million in guaranteed money to be paid out during the Breeders’ Cup in Pick 4s, Pick 5s and Pick 6s alone. That’s in addition to the pools of money in each individual race. Play for your share in one of six guaranteed pools this weekend:
Purse money and prestige attract many top horses to compete in the two-day Breeders’ Cup festival. Horses and their connections don’t shy away from the competition; instead, competing in and winning Breeders’ Cup races against the toughest company can only help horses’ win year-end titles or command higher sale prices or stud fees.
For bettors, this means full fields in many Breeders’ Cup races, and full fields create higher payouts. Remember that the horses’ odds are determined by how much is bet on all horses in the race and what percentage of the total pool is bet on each horse. When there are more horses in a race, the overall pool of a race increases, which can drive up the odds on each individual horse.
In the Breeders’ Cup, you can get better prices on horses, even on favorites, than on those same horses in many of their other races. If you have a horse that you think is a sure thing, it should be available at a higher price than you might expect, so you can make a little more money just betting it to win than you would usually expect.
This also means that you could get better payoffs in exotic wagers. Larger fields mean more combinations of horses, so finding the winning one can pay better than usual.
Recently, we discussed playing multi-race wagers for higher payouts. One strategy offered was playing the daily double, especially during special event racing days where there are doubles that span two different races on two different days. For example, in May you can bet the Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby double, which requires you to find the winner of both the Oaks on Friday and the Derby on Saturday.
The advantage to these special doubles is all about field size. These big races attract bigger fields, so there are more possible combinations of wagers but only one winning bet. In the Oaks-Derby double, there are 14 horses in the Oaks and 20 in the Derby, which means there are 280 possible combinations of the two winners. That can drive the odds up, and that winning double should pay more than two average races with seven horses each and only 49 possible combinations.
This year, the Breeders’ Cup racing festival offers us three special double wagers. Each one includes a race from Friday and a race from Saturday, all with big fields and many opportunities to make money on a sneaky bet that might fly under the radar:
Juvenile Turf-Turf Double
Juvenile Fillies-Distaff Double
Bet one or all of the doubles – pick the horse or horse you like in each pair of races and place your bet before the start of the first of the two races. Each double starts on Friday in the races listed above. These special doubles are in addition to rolling doubles that start in every race all day on Friday and Saturday.
Tip: Find a horse you think will win, then play it alone over all the horses in the other race and hope for longshot. For example, if you think McKinzie will win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, try pairing him with all horses in the Juvenile-Classic Double.
Finally, be sure to take advantage of a unique offer in horse racing wagering. The Breeders’ Cup will offer head-to-head wagers in six races over the weekend. Each head-to-head wager carries a $10 minimum and offers choices of USA vs Europe, East Coast Vs. West Coast, and even two top horses in a head-to-head side wager in the biggest race of the weekend.
To bet, select the day, track and race number on your online account, then select 1 or 2 based on the bet you’d like to make. Here are the options and what to look for in each bet:
Friday, Race 5: Juvenile Turf Sprint
Pay attention to scratches for this bet: the fields start out equal but the USA team has more also-eligibles, horses that may enter the race if another horse scratches. If a European horse scratches, USA will have an advantage in numbers.
Friday, Race 8: Juvenile Fillies Turf
This head-to-head features an even field of seven on each side in a open race. The USA team includes graded stakes winner Sweet Melania, a daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Friday, Race 9: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
You get five horses in the West Coast bet compared to the four horses in the East Coast bet, but the East Coast team includes the much-hyped Dennis’ Moment.
Saturday, Race 7: Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Team USA is sneaky in this spot. Defending champion Sistercharlie is technically Irish-bred but joins team USA because that’s where she made her most recent start. However, the Europe entry outnumbers USA seven to five.
Saturday, Race 9: Breeders’ Cup Mile
Though the European horses often have an advantage in this race, recent Grade 1 winner Bowies Hero is on the USA side, along with two also-eligibles, giving that team the edge in this matchup.
Saturday, Race 12: Breeders’ Cup Classic
McKinzie is a multiple graded stakes winner looking to redeem last year’s disappointing BC Classic effort, this time on his home track. Code of Honor emerged as one of the top 3-year-olds of 2019, quietly building up steam and flying under the radar during all the Kentucky Derby drama.
No matter what you choose, watch and wager for free online, earn your free money bonuses, and don’t miss out on horseplayers’ favorite time of the year. The Breeders’ Cup World Championship starts Friday, November 1 at 2:55 ET/11:55 PT.