Breeders' Cup Betting Guide

How to bet, lines and odds for 2024 Breeders' Cup Classic

The Breeders’ Cup has run every year in November since 1984 and serves as the marquee event of Grade One horse races.

Conceived initially as a single-day race, it has since grown to become a two-day event that draws people from all around the world. The next event takes place on November 4-5, 2022 at Keenland in Lexington Kentucky.

The Breeders’ Cup serves as the championship of championships. Many of the best racers, milers and sprinters from all over come together to compete for this glory. A relatively common matchup in recent years is to see a Triple Crown-worthy horse race against more established champions in the Classic. For many, this race is the high point of the festivities and the best race anywhere.

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Best betting sites for the Breeders’ Cup

Choosing the best horse racing websites to bet upon the Breeders’ Cup is a daunting task for less experienced gamblers.

It’s the biggest horse racing event of the year after all. Consequently, everybody and their mother is going to be offering some way to get you in on the action.

To help you decide, we’ve assembled a list of what we think are the best sites to bet on for the Breeders’ Cup. Even newbies will be able to learn the ropes quickly at these sites. Therefore, they can rest assured that they will be getting their money’s worth and plenty of bang for their buck.

For those living in the US, be sure to check your state’s laws to determine if it is legal to bet on horse races online.

How to bet on the Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is never too far away and, along with it, serving up two days of nonstop horse racing action. We know that you are already in the mood to watch events unfold in Lexington.

Before you take your seat at home or the track though, listen up, as you need to know how to bet on the big race. Thankfully for you, we’re here to explain exactly how you can do that.

These are the three primary ways you can bet on the Breeders’ Cup.

Online betting

For readers living in the US, online horse race betting isn’t illegal at the federal level. With that in mind, the patchwork of laws at the state level can vary quite considerably.

There are nine states that ban online horse race betting altogether, and you can imagine that in-person gambling probably isn’t viewed much more positively. If you are unlucky enough to live in such a state, consider going out of the state to gamble or travel to an Indian reservation. After all, states cannot bar you from gambling outside of state boundaries. Rest assured, however, there are plenty of betting options available to you, even if you live in the most restrictive states.

For most, though, online betting on horse racing is the easiest way to experience the race. Big markets, fast wagers and total comfort; what’s not to love about online betting on the Breeders’ Cup?

Betting at the teller

It’s understandable to be shy if you haven’t bet on horse races before. How will you even know what to say? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back.

Here’s what you need to know when you approach the teller:

  • The racetrack.
  • The race number (If your race takes place at a different track.)
  • The type of wager.
  • The amount you’re betting.
  • The program number of your horse.

If you word it like this, you’ll sound like a professional: “Keeneland, Race Three, $25 to win on No. 11.”

Quinella bets work the same way.

Just make sure you specify the correct number of horses you’re betting on; everything else is identical to nonexotic pools.

Don’t hesitate to put your ticket in a safe place. If it blows away, for instance, you won’t be able to claim your winnings when it’s time to collect.

Off track betting

If you don’t live near a racetrack, you’ll likely have to visit the off-track betting (OTB) site to place your wagers should you not fancy betting online.

Casinos are one typical example of such a place. Not all gamblers are familiar with how OTBs are supposed to work; that’s where we come in. The quality and reliability of these establishments aren’t consistent.

Furthermore, you’re not always going to get the best bang for your buck. With us by your side, you’ll know how to evaluate an OTB site so that you get the quality of service that you deserve. Never settle for second best, especially when it comes time to bet on the Breeders’ Cup.

Is it legal to bet on the Breeders’ Cup?

Yes, it certainly is. There have been no federal restrictions on horse race betting since 1978.

Subsequent amendments to federal gambling laws have thankfully not changed this either. However, some states regulate horse betting in various capacities. Some don’t allow OTBs, while others don’t even allow online betting.

The federal law essentially lets the states decide how to do things. Therefore, you’ll want to check your state’s gambling laws to see what your options are.

If you’re unfortunate enough to live in the minority of states that restrict online horse betting, you still have choices.

A common alternative is to leave the state and bet elsewhere. If that’s too much, consider gambling at a licensed, regulated offshore facility. If it is not based in the US, then it will only be subject to the laws of the country in which it operates.

Only Connecticut and Washington state ban all forms of online gambling. You’re out of luck if you live in these states, and leaving the state to place your wagers will be your only option.

But it’s the Breeders’ Cup, so it’s surely worth the extra effort, right?

Types of bets you can make on the Breeders’ Cup

Chances are, you already know what win, place and show wagers are. Some risk-inclined Breeders’ Cup gamblers prefer to place bets on exotic pools because the potential payout is so much higher. Exacta bets require you to guess the order of the top two finishers correctly.

Trifecta bets require the top three, and so on.

In addition to these popular bets, consider the following options when slapping down a wager on the Breeders’ Cup.

Types of bets at Breeders’ Cup

  • Quinella: This is a far-less risky version of the exacta bet. It’s similar to the exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets, except that the horses can finish in any order. This type is also known as boxing your bets.
  • Daily Double: This involves selecting the winner of the next two races. There are similar successive versions for up to five races, with each paying exponentially higher amounts for the lucky winners.
  • Head2Head: A Head2Head allows bettors to wager on any match-race between two separate groups. These could be as simple as two horses, or more complicated arrangements like Europeans versus Asians. You get to decide how you want to divvy groups up; that’s part of the excitement.
  • Super Daily Double: These are double bets that let you place one bet on a Friday race, and another on a Saturday race.
  • Late Pick 5: A normal Pick 5 bet lets you make bets on the first five races run. A Late Pick 5 lets you bet on races five through nine, with a prize pool of a million dollars. On Saturday, you’ll bet on races seven through 11, with a prize pool of $2 million.
  • Jackpot Super High 5: Winning this wager requires something extraordinary; you have to bet on the top five finishers in the correct order. If you want, you can box the bet. This means horses can place anywhere in the top five.

Plenty of betting choices

Do you want options on how you can wager on the Breeders’ Cup? There you have it; it’s safe to say that from high- to low-risk wagers, you’ll have plenty of ways to place a bet this November. Just make you make them before post-time.

Breeders’ Cup odds

The Breeders’ Cup is one of the most intriguing events on the entire horse racing calendar.

Across two days, you’ll see new faces and much more seasoned horses hit the track in search of glory. Whether you’re looking at Future Stars Friday or the much bigger races on Saturday, you’ve come to the right place if you want to see the best odds.

From favorites to longshot outsiders and everything in between, cast your eye over the table below if you want to know where to get the best odds on the Breeders’ Cup:

1Tripoli Irad Ortiz Jr.15-1
2Express TrainVictor Espinoza20-1
3Hot Rod CharlieFlavien Prat4-1
4Essential Quality Luis Saez3-1
5Knicks GoJoel Rosario5-2
6Art CollectorMike Smith8-1
7Stiletto BoyKent Desormeaux30-1
8Medina SpiritJohn Velazquez4-1
9Max PlayerRicardo Santana Jr.8-1

Past winners of the Breeders’ Cup

Not everybody will agree that the Breeders’ Cup is the “world championship” of horse racing, but it’s undeniable that the race does attract many of the world’s most talented horses, jockeys and teams. It’s a significant deciding factor when the Eclipse Awards ceremony is held later in the year.

Here is a list of the past winners:

2021Knicks GoJoel Rosario1:59.57
2020AuthenticJohn R. Velazquez1:59.60
2019Vino RossoIrad Ortiz Jr.2:02.80
2018AccelerateJoel Rosario2:02.93
2017Gun RunnerFlorent Geroux2:01.29
2016ArrogateMike E. Smith2:00.11
2015American PharoahVictor Espinoza2:00.07
2014BayernMartin Garcia1:59.88
2013Mucho Macho ManGary Stevens2:00.72
2012Fort LarnedBrian Hernandez2:00.11
2011DrosselmeyerMike E. Smith2:04.27
2010BlameGarrett Gomez2:02.28
2009Zenyatta†Mike E. Smith2:00.32
2008Raven's PassFrankie Dettori1:59.27
2007CurlinRobby Albarado2:00.59
2006Invasor (ARG)Fernando Jara2:02.18
2005Saint LiamJerry Bailey2:01.49
2004GhostzapperJavier Castellano1:59.02
2003Pleasantly PerfectAlex Solis1:59.88
2002VolponiJose Santos2:01.39
2001TiznowChris McCarron2:00.62
2000TiznowChris McCarron2:00.75
1999Cat ThiefPat Day1:59.52
1998Awesome Again (CAN)Pat Day2:02.16
1997Skip AwayMike E. Smith1:59.16
1996Alphabet SoupChris McCarron2:01.00
1995CigarJerry Bailey1:59.58
1994ConcernJerry Bailey2:02.41
1993ArcanguesJerry Bailey2:00.83
1992A.P. IndyEd Delahoussaye2:00.20
1991Black Tie Affair (IRE)Jerry Bailey2:02.95
1990UnbridledPat Day2:02.20
1989Sunday SilenceChris McCarron2:00.20
1988AlyshebaChris McCarron2:04.80
1987FerdinandBill Shoemaker2:01.40
1986SkywalkerLaffit Pincay, Jr.2:00.40
1985Proud TruthJorge Velasquez2:00.80
1984Wild AgainPat Day2:03.40

The road to the Breeders’ Cup

September and October are when preparation for the Breeders’ Cup heats up.

People all over the world start getting ready, but it’s at the beginning of October when things kick into overdrive.

Keeneland, Belmont Park and Santa Anita Park all begin final preparation work for the championships. Woodbine also participates, since the Woodbine Mile (held in September) serves as a testing ground for the champions that will race the Cup itself later in the year.

But these do more than setting up the Breeders’ Cup; they also help whet the appetites of gamblers and race fans everywhere as the actual Cup draws near.

Build up to the Breeders’ Cup

In 2018, Oct. 1 was the day when Belmont Park hosted three major events. These were the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, the Vosburgh Invitational and the Flower Bowl Invitational.

Then on Oct. 8 was the Frizette Stakes, the Champagne Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational. These races will tell you a lot about the horses who will make the cut for the Breeders’ Cup races.

Santa Anita Park did its legwork to drum up excitement for the races that lie ahead.

Popular events include the Zenyatta Stakes, the Rodeo Drive Stakes, the American Pharaoh Stakes, the Awesome Again Stakes and the Chandelier Stakes, which are all held on the same day. Keeneland hosts the Fall Stars Weekend to better acquaint racers with the horses in the Breeders’ Cup.

Also held are the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, the Shadwell Turf Mile, the Breeders’ Futurity, the Phoenix Stakes, the Spinster Stakes, the Alcibiades Stakes and the Bourbon Stakes.

Yes, there are a lot of races on the road to the Breeders’ Cup each year. However, it’s well worth keeping an eye on what’s happening as you look for the hot horse to bet on race day.

Two days at the Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is by no means a cut and dry event, as across two days you’ll find wall-to-wall races.

Helping you understand what’s afoot, or should we say ahoof, we’ve broken down the two main days at the Cup to help you know what action you’re likely to see on the track.


To celebrate Future Stars Friday, something that seems like a Breeders’ Cup tradition moving forward, all of the juvenile races are on the same day.

These races are open to 2-year-old horses, and they’re typically the most anticipated races of the season. It is only the second time in the Breeders’ Cup’s history that this has happened.

These races will then lead up to the TVG Juvenile, a $2 million race that will determine a favorite for the next Kentucky Derby.

You can expect to see the biggest names in horse racing all in attendance. Many major stars in racing made their debut at the Breeders’ Cup: Nyquist, Uncle Mo, Unbridled’s Song and Street Sense are a few examples.

Each horse has run in a different juvenile race over the years, and nearly all of them have achieved greater fame.

Make the right bets, and you could win big on horse racing’s next Triple Crown winner. There’s no telling who will win at the next Future Stars Friday.

So, make sure not to pass up the opportunity to place your bets at the next Breeders’ Cup.


Saturday is where the action begins to heat up. The Breeders’ Cup will start with several races on this day:

  • The 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies
  • The Breeders’ Cup Classic
  • The Filly and Mare Sprint
  • The Filly and Mare Turf
  • Longines Turf
  • The Mile
  • The Sentient Jet Juvenile
  • TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint
  • The Turf Sprint

When we said that the Breeders’ Cup delivered a truly loaded selection of races, we certainly weren’t kidding. Many present and future stars will be made at these races, so you won’t want to miss any of them.

Naturally, plenty of profit could potentially be made taking a punt on any of them. But, that’s hardly the extent of the revelry and fun.

The organizers of the Cup at Santa Anita Park have many additional activities on the schedule that you will almost feel bad about leaving them to watch the next race.

The Las Vegas Selfie Station Style Lounge is always a hit with tourists. Likewise, the Longines Prize of Elegance never fails to impress.

Meanwhile, the Westfield Winner’s Circle contains a recreation of life on the racetrack, complete with horses dressed up as famous thoroughbreds. Singers provide musical accompaniment as you enjoy the races. Not to mention, there’s a beauty salon to keep yourself looking picture-perfect throughout your stay.

It is safe to say that a day at the races has never been quite as fun as it is at the Breeders’ Cup.

How to watch the Breeders’ Cup on TV or via live streaming

The Breeders’ Cup consistently draws some of the most significant ratings on TV anywhere. You can typically find the race televised live on NBC or ESPN if you are in the US.

For viewers in Ireland and the UK, you’ll be able to catch the event on Racing UK and At The Races.

If you’re looking to watch the Breeders’ Cup online, then you’ll find that there are plenty of ways to do that, too. ABC and ESPN both have online streaming services, as do Racing UK and At The Races. So, it’s easy enough to catch the action on the go. However, it must be noted that should you be trying to watch from another country, a VPN might be required.

The history of the Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup isn’t particularly historic, having been run only since 1984. What it lacks in history, though, it makes up in excitement.

After all, many of horse racing’s biggest stars get their start here. Similarly, horse race bettors have gotten rich picking future winners here, and you could easily be the next.

The Breeders’ Cup’s $6 million purse has been won by many of horse racing’s most iconic stars of the last 30 years.

American Pharaoh, who was the first Triple Crown winner in more than 30 years, is the most recent example. There is also Tiznow, who is the only horse to have won the race twice, and Cigar, who won the race to finish off a perfect season, Ghostzapper, son of famous Awesome Again, and one of horse racing’s most famous mares, Zenyatta. The list of big-name horses to life the Cup goes on and on and on.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

The Classic is run over the same distance as the Kentucky Derby: 1.25 miles.

In 2015, American Pharaoh was only the fifth winner in Derby’s history to turn the double. Another notable event was the winner of the 1987 classic, Ferdinand. He won handily over Alysheba, who went on to win the Classic the year after.

Following that was Sunday Silence, who beat out Easy Goer to take the 1989 Classic.

The 1990 Derby and Classic were both won by Unbridled, a feat that went unmatched for a quarter-century. That’s until American Pharaoh managed to do the same in his extraordinary 2015 season.

Breeders’ Cup Distaff

The smaller but still-significant Breeders’ Cup Distaff boasts a cool $2 million purse for horse racing’s most talented mares. Horse racers will undoubtedly remember the 1988 season when Personal Ensign overcame a patch of viscous mud to take the lead and finish off the season undefeated. Zenyatta is another famous winner, who won in 2008 and later went on to win the Classic the following year. Other notable names include Ashado, Royal Delta, Bayakoa, Azeri, Dance Smartly and Lady’s Secret.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the only mare ever to win three consecutive Runnings of the Mile, Goldikova.

Before her stunning run on the turf, the French mare, Miesque, and American mares, Wise Dan, Lure and Da Hoss each managed to achieve two wins on the course. Any other mare has never matched her three-win streak.

Then, in 2015, Tepin managed to beat the stallions in the Mile, the first mare with a non-European origin to do so.

Breeders’ Cup Turf

Europeans have undoubtedly dominated the 1.5-mile Turf for most of the race’s history. But that has not stopped other parts of the world from putting up a good fight.

Conduit and High Chaparral have each earned their names in the annals of the sport’s history by winning twice. This trend was not broken in 2015, when the race was led by the UK’s Golden Horn and Ireland’s Found. Found ultimately prevailed, becoming the third mare and first 3-year-old in the Turf’s history to win.

The event was expanded in 1999 when the Filly & Mare Turf was added to the roster of races. The greatest champion of these races is undoubtedly the English champion Ouija Board, who score one for the Brits.

The above names are anything but an exhaustive list. Needless to say, many more notable champions have won the plethora of races at the Breeders’ Cup.

The Cup offers a handicap challenge like no other, providing for consistently exciting races each season. The many international racers that compete make the event that much more impressive each year. Still, it’s hard not to smile when a non-European manages to win one of the races.

Breeders' Cup FAQ

The Breeders’ Cup is consistently held at the same time each year; the first Friday and Saturday in November. Of course, excitement for the race begins to build up well before then, especially as the road to the big race isn’t short on twists and turns.

No more than 14 horses may participate in a single race. So it’s a midsized field when compared to other events of a similar type.

The total purse in the Breeders’ Cup is $31 million, split over different races over the two days of the event. The purse size for individual races ranges from $1 million to $6 million for the Classic. Winnings are paid out to owners, foal nominators and stallion nominators; the owners then split some of their portion with their jockey and trainer.

A considerable number of races happen on Saturday, which is considered to be the race day for fans around the world.

The following races are set to happen at the following times:

  • Race 1 – 10:15 AM
  • Race 2 – 10:50 AM
  • Race 3 – 11:25 AM
  • Race 4 – 12:05 PM
  • Race 5 – 12:40 PM
  • Race 6 – 1:19 PM
  • Race 7 – 1:59 PM
  • Race 8 – 2:38 PM
  • Race 9 – 3:20 PM
  • Race 10 – 4:00 PM
  • Race 11 – 4:40 PM
  • Race 12 – 5:40 PM $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

Quite a few fillies have placed first at the Breeders’ Cup over the years. While several horses have won once, the few that have won twice have genuinely earned their place in the annals of the sport’s history.

Zenyatta and Distaff in 2008, Classic in 2009, Secret Circle and Juvenile Sprint in 2011, Juvenile Fillies and Beholder in 2012, Sprint and Distaff in 2013, and Distaff again in 2016 are all notable double-winning fillies.

It will be cheaper for you to purchase tickets before the race begins. You can buy tickets for $20 apiece online for Friday’s events, the perfect price if you want to catch a glimpse of some future horse racing stars.

Championship Saturday tickets will cost $40, which is to be expected. Ticket prices increase by 50% if you wait until race day to purchase them. You can print your tickets at home, or scan them from your mobile devices, too. So, there’s no reason not to buy in advance.

If you want to sit in the grandstand, expect to pay between $40-$60 for Future Stars Friday. The price range for Championship Saturday is $80-$100. Seats in the grandstand box will cost $160 on Friday and $235 on Saturday. You can purchase a ticket for both days for $395.

Premium seating in the clubhouse box will set you back at least $220, with prices going as high as $670. If you purchase single-day seats on the first floor, you can nab them for $70 on Friday and $150 on Saturday.

Price-wise, you’ll find that the Breeders’ Cup is a little on the expensive side. However, given the number of races, it ultimately provides plenty of value for money.

Unlike some other major horse races, the Breeders’ Cup lasts for a whole two days

The event includes several different horse races, as well as a variety of entertainment options to pass the time between races. Looking at the main race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, you expect it to last two electric minutes.

Ghostzapper sprinted home to victory in 2004 in a time of 1:59.02, setting a Breeders’ Cup Classic record in the process.

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