Casual horse racing fans in America may know all about the Triple Crown races, with their pomp, prestige and history. But, for the hard-core thoroughbred racing enthusiast like yours truly, there is nothing quite like the Breeders’ Cup. And, since that so-called hard-core racing enthusiast is generally a serious bettor as well, that means that the two days of racing, with 14 division championships on the line, is a handicapper’s dream.
The 2018 edition of The Breeders’ Cup takes place on November 2nd and 3rd at the most hallowed track in all of America, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. On those two days, 14 championship races will be contested. Total purses for those two days: $28 million.
That’s not a bad chunk of change. But you, the bettor, can also get in on the action and walk away with a much fatter bankroll then when you started the weekend. There are many Breeders’ Cup betting sites which will be able to take your online wagers, allowing you to bet with convenience and comfort from your own home as the races play out in front of you on television.
So what is it about The Breeders’ Cup that makes it such a true test of the best in horse racing? And why is it that it is such a lure for gamblers looking to make their own big score at the end of the season, much like the horses, jockeys, owners and trainers who are competing? Read on and find out.
Here are the top sites we recommend for betting on the 2018 Breeders Cup:
Why Horse Racing Needed The Breeders’ Cup
Thoroughbred horse racing enjoyed a kind of Golden Age in the 1970’s in America. Year after year during that decade, it seemed that electrifying champions or fascinating storylines would emerge out of nowhere. The attention paid, even by casual fans, to horse racing propelled the sport to new heights of popularity.
There was Seattle Slew, the colt who looked unbeatable on his Triple Crown run in 1977. The following year, Affirmed and Alydar conducted a rivalry for the ages, Affirmed the Triple Crown champ, Alydar the noble runner-up. Standing tall above them all was Secretariat, a performer so dominant that he transcended the sport and became a national symbol of excellence as he destroyed the fields during his record-breaking Triple Crown run of 1973.
But the dawn of the 80’s saw the end of that run of superstars. And horse racing also had to contend with the fact that the sport saw a drastic drop-off in interest after the conclusion of the Triple Crown races in June. Most of the casual fans checked out, leaving the horses who excelled in the second half of the year largely out of the limelight.
On top of that, the Triple Crown races shined the spotlight on a very small portion of the thoroughbred population: three-year-olds who were bred and trained for the two-turn, dirt races. Left out of the equation were two-year-olds, aged horses, mares, sprinters, turf horses, and many more. In essence, many people saw the Triple Crown as the only game in town, which infuriated the owners, breeders, and bettors who knew there was much more.
The Breeders’ Cup To The Rescue
It’s hard to imagine now that there was ever any doubt, considering that the event has become such a tradition. But the Breeders’ Cup was initially met with great skepticism by many horse racing insiders. They feared that the public wouldn’t respond to the event, in terms of attendance, television ratings, or betting handle.
What those doubters failed to adequately understand is that the American sports fan is wired to expect some sort of culminating event at the end of a season. Think about the World Series in baseball, the Super Bowl in football, or the NBA championships in basketball, as just a few obvious examples. All are set up to end all debates about who is the best in a particular sport, as it gets settled on the field or the court.
And that’s what The Breeders’ Cup provided to American horse racing fans. No longer did the fans have to wonder about who the best sprinter or turf horse might have been. One event would settle all of that. The fact that horses from all over the world were encouraged to compete made it an even better test; it was a true international championship setup.
If there was any doubt about how things would turn out, that very first event provided an exclamation point that ensured that The Breeders’ Cup would immediately make an impact. In the 1984 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the showcase event of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup in 1984, a crazy three-way battle in the stretch left long shot Wild Again as a 30-1 winner over favorite Slew o’ Gold and Gate Dancer, that year’s Preakness Stakes Winner. That stretch run both showed the potential of the Breeders’ Cup and delivered on it all at once.
Why Bettors Love The Breeders’ Cup
When it comes to The Kentucky Derby and the other Triple Crown races in America (The Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland and The Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York), casual horse racing fans tend to pump up the betting handle. These are the people who might watch and bet on only one or a few races all year long. And, when they do so, they are often basically taking a stab in the dark at the winner, because they don’t have much handicapping experience.
To the fans who bet every day and night, or at least on a semi-regular basis, the Triple Crown events don’t always represent the best wagering opportunities. The Kentucky Derby, for one, with its 20-horse fields, is notoriously hard to predict, because even the best horses in the field can sometimes get a bad trip. It’s not out of the question that a diehard handicapper might bet every race on the card on the days of the Triple Crown races at Churchill, Pimlico and Belmont without betting on the big three.
The Breeders’ Cup, on the other hand, is tailor-made for the hard-core racing enthusiast and bettor. Each field is stacked with top competitors, making the chance that one heavy favorite might dwarf the field somewhat remote. In addition, the horses in the Breeders’ Cup have been racing all year long when they come into those races, giving handicappers a bushelful of past performances on which they can judge them.
As The Breeders’ Cup has made the turn into the millennium, internet wagering on the races has really pumped up the interest. No more trudging out to your local race track and OTB, battling crowds and traffic. You can just sit at home with your snacks, beverage of choice, a racing form, and your television, watching all of the races and bets unfolding before you.
What To Expect In The 2018 Breeders’ Cup
First, a quick rundown of the schedule. Because of the 14 races that are involved, the Breeders’ Cup is now a two-day event. Friday, November 2 is listed as “Future Stars” day, because all five of the races contested at Churchill that day will be for two-year-olds. The remaining nine stakes races, all for three-year-olds and older, on the Breeders’ Cup schedule will be held on Saturday, November 3.
Here is the schedule:
|Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies||Two||1 1/16 miles||Dirt||Fillies||$2 million|
|Juvenile Fillies Turf||Two||1 mile||Turf||Fillies||$1 million|
|Juvenile Turf Sprint||Two||5 ½ furlongs||Turf||Either||$1 million|
|Juvenile Turf||Two||1 mile||Turf||Either||$1 million|
|Sentient Jet Juvenile||Two||1 1/16||Dirt||Either||$2 million|
|Mile||Three and up||1 mile||Dirt||Either||$2 million|
|Turf Sprint||Three and up||5 ½ furlongs||Turf||Either||$1 million|
|Filly and Mare Sprint||Three and up||7 furlongs||Dirt||Fillies and Mares||$1 million|
|Maker’s Mark Fillies and Mares Turf||Three and up||1 3/8 miles||Turf||Fillies and Mares||$2 million|
|Twinspires Sprint||Three and up||6 furlongs||Dirt||Either||$2 million|
|Dirt Mile||Three and up||1 mile||Dirt||Either||$1 million|
|Longines Distaff||Three and up||1 1/8 miles||Dirt||Fillies and Mares||$2 million|
|Longines Turf||Three and up||1 ½ miles||Turf||Either||$4 million|
|Classic||Three and up||1 ¼ miles||Dirt||Either||$6 million|
As you can tell, just about every possible discipline is well-represented in these 14 races. And just about every possible thoroughbred of renown will fit into one of these categories. That goes also for horses from overseas, as the Breeders’ Cup is truly a worldwide event.
Futures Betting On 2018 Breeders’ Cup
One of the fun bets that you can make on certain big thoroughbred racing events is a futures wager. This is a wager that is held weeks, sometimes months before the event. It allows a handicapper to take a stab at picking a winner of a particular race, even when the fields for the race haven’t been set.
The Breeders’ Cup does allow futures wagering on some of its races. There have already been a few rounds of it that have taken place, and there is still one yet to come. From October 5 through October 7, there will be futures wagering available for both the Longines Turf race and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
So what are the risks and rewards of a futures wager on the Breeders’ Cup? Well, the main risk is that the horse that you choose might not ever get to the gate. If by chance, your choice doesn’t even make the start in the race, you get no refund on your wager.
You could also conceivably pick a horse who gets injured shortly before the race and won’t be in top form. Or the horse in question might start trending downward before the race. In that case, it’s conceivable that the odds you get in the futures pool on the horse could actually be worse than the ones you would get if you bet on it at race time.
On the other side of the coin, a futures pool is the best way for you to lock in a bargain on a horse that you really like. Say, for example, that you are absolutely convinced that a certain horse is a lock to win the Classic, barring anything unforeseen. In this example, the odds that you get in the futures pool could be to your liking, and, therefore, you put some money down on it.
If your suspicions were correct and the horse is indeed much the best heading into the race, the chances are that the odds will be much less beneficial to you if you waited until race time. The odds for the futures pool take into account all of the variables that can take place before the race actually goes off. As a result, you can usually find great value in the futures pool, especially if you have the ability to forecast a little bit down the road.
The Best Breeders’ Cup Sites To Choose
If you are going to wager on the Breeders’ Cup, either with a futures bet ahead of time or during the actual two-day event, it’s a good idea to start the selection process as soon as possible for which site you are going to eventually use. You can play it basic and go with official sites such as TwinSpires.com, which is the official site of Churchill Downs, the location of the event.
The only problem with the affiliated site is that you aren’t likely to get much in the way of bonuses from them, not as you would from a site that is more actively trying to drum up business. In addition, with a site tied to the Breeders’ Cup, you are likely going to be limited to horse racing betting as your only outlet for your gambling activities. Chancer are you might prefer the ability to spread out your wagering money to other sports or even to casino games as well.
We live in an age where internet gambling sites are everywhere. Your best bet, no pun intended, is to find one that has established itself as one that is extremely player-friendly. There really isn’t a need for you to take a chance on an unknown site when there are plenty in the market with well-deserved, excellent reputations among customers.
All the better if you can find a site that is running some sort of promotion centered around the Breeders’ Cup festivities. You should always be looking for the best bang for your wagering buck. Just a little research can make sure that comes your way.
After all, you wouldn’t go into the Breeders’ Cup races blindly and expect to pick winners. So don’t be afraid to use our resources on the best horse racing gambling sites when the time comes.
The Breeders’ Cup is fast-arriving, that championship weekend which separates the legendary horses from the merely great ones. It is an event that the true horse racing fan and handicapper savors every year. Start your preparation now, in terms of checking out both the top horses and the websites that you might use to wager on the event, and your weekend of horse racing just might end up being as lucrative as it is exciting.