How to Bet the Breeders' Cup

The Breeders' Cup is a weekend extravaganza featuring 14 world championship races run over the course of two days. The 2020 Breeders' Cup will be held at Keeneland for the second time in history on November 6th and 7th. The World Championships is an exciting spectacle every year and to get you in the mood, below is a quick rundown of this year's Breeders' Cup and how you can bet on all of the divisional races. Handicaaping analysis, free expert picks and educational tools for handicapping your bets!

Where to Bet on the Breeders' Cup

  • Desktop Website
  • Mobile App
    • Find the TwinSpires native mobile app for iPhone and Android here.
  • On Site
    • Either by cash or voucher, you can bet on races in-person at a Keeneland teller window.

Betting Calculator: A great tool for discovering cost with odds!

Betting Calculator

Breeders' Cup 101 - Bet Types

There are two types of wagers when it comes to the Breeders' Cup: Individual or Vertical wagers and sequence or horizontal wagers.

Individual or Vertical Wagers

  • Win – you bet on one horse to win.
  • Place – you bet on one horse to finish in first or second.
  • Show – you bet on one horse to finish in the top-three.
  • Exacta – Horses must finish in first and second (in exact order).
  • Trifecta – Horses must finish in first, second, and third (in exact order).
  • Superfecta – Horses must finish in first, second, third, and fourth (in exact order).

Individual wagers are your typical win-place-show bets and exacta, trifecta, and superfecta are known as parlays. You can only bet on one Breeders' Cup race with individual wagering. Win, place, and show straight bets are straightforward where you bet on one outcome occurring.

A parlay bet means you wager on multiple horses who have to finish in a specific order to win.

Sequence or Horizontal Wagers

  • Daily Double – A Daily Double bet is when you predict the winner of two straight races before the first race starts. 
  • Pick 3 – A Pick 3 bet is when you predict the winner of three straight races before the first race starts. 
  • Pick 4 – A Pick 4 bet is when you predict the winner of four straight races before the first race starts. 
  • Pick 6 – A Pick 6 bet is when you predict the winner of six straight races before the first race starts.

Sequence wagers include Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 6 bets.

Which Breeders' Cup Races Should I Bet On?

As is tradition, the Breeders' Cup consists of 14 races. Some Championship races feature more star power than others, making them more exciting to bet on. If you're feeling fresh and want to try your hand at Pick 3, Pick 4, or the more adventurous Pick 6, the following Breeders' Cup races should be on your card:

  • Breeders' Cup Mile
  • Breeders' Cup Turf
  • Breeders' Cup Classic
  • Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
  • Breeders' Cup Distaff
  • Breeders' Cup Sprint
  • Breeders' Cup Juvenile

The above seven Breeders' Cup races are worth a combined $18.5 million in purses. If you hit on a Pick 6 betting on the above races you can celebrate in your own winner's circle. Note that the Juvenile is the feature race on 'Future Stars' Friday.

Popular Ways To Bet The Breeders' Cup

The Breeders' Cup is a two day event that takes place at the end of the Thoroughbred racing season. With 14 action packed races and over 150 competitors running during an exciting weekend, there's opportunity all around.

This is truly the moment where the serious horse players come to enjoy the finest in the sport.

Just over $157.5 million was wagered on the 2016 Breeders' Cup from all-sources. This includes the 118,574 that made their way to Santa Anita to bet on the races live. The record for the highest handle still belongs to the 2010 Breeders' Cup, which accumulated a whopping $173.9 million over the course of two days.

The marquee race of the weekend is the Breeders' Cup Classic, which generated $28.21 million in 2016 when California Chrome faced off with Arrogate. This figure reflects action from 2015 when American Pharoah was the star and helped build $28.56 million in wagers.

Focusing on the big races remains one of the popular ways to bet the Breeders' Cup. The weekend begins with the lighter Friday card that has four great challenges including the Juvenile Turf, Dirt Mile, Juvenile Fillies Turf and Distaff. In general, the Distaff is considered the “Classic” for the ladies, and was even called the Ladies Classic for a short time.

On Saturday, the Classic, Juvenile, Sprint, Filly & Mare Sprint and the Mile are the headliners. However, action throughout the second day is usually dependent on the odds in each race. Sometimes there can be a heavy favorite which deters action in general. In 2016, action fluctuated because of a rush of longshots that seemed to make players a bit more nervous than they would've been otherwise. Following the ebb and flow of the World Championships is part of the challenge, and your response to it is completely personal.

There are many ways to bet the Breeders' Cup since the usual options are available. The basic straight bets and well-known exotics are all in play, but there are also some more extravagant plays available.

One of the benefits of having a race card like the Breeders' Cup is the availability of the Pick-6 wager. This is an exotic parlay where you select the winners of six consecutive races. There is also the presence of a Pick-4 pool on the last four races of the day, with a guaranteed pot which attracts some eager players as well. Handle for the Pick-6 was $4.03 million at the 2016 Breeders' Cup, while the Pick-4 drew $4.6 million in action as well.

Most handicappers and horse players enjoy the fever pitch of the weekend. Usually there is only one or two races on a card that can draw heavy action, which is typically the case with the American Classics. But with the Breeders' Cup, there are 13 incredible races with the best talent from across the globe. It makes for an exhilarating opportunity, and one that requires a fair bit of research and some intelligent wagers on your part.

Whether you're playing online or at the track, or prefer betting dirt horses over turf, or have a penchant for the shorter distances, the point is that the Breeders' Cup has something for everyone. Beyond that, there is a full table of wagering options to bet the Breeders' Cup with. It may not have the mainstream appeal that it deserves but one thing is for certain – the Breeders' Cup is where the real players come to play. You can find full Breeders' Cup results here.

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