Breeders Cup Betting Guide

How to bet online, plus odds and predictions for the 2022 championships

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is a series of 14 Grade 1 thoroughbred horse races that run annually, usually beginning in late October and early November.

With the purses of each race ranging between $1 million and $6 million, this event is one of the richest on the racing calendar. It attracts the best horses from around the world, many of which qualify through an extensive challenge series.

The venue for the event changes from year to year. In 2021, The Breeders’ Cup will take place at Del Mar Race Course in California on Nov. 5-6.

This page is a complete guide to the 2021 Breeders’ Cup. Below, you’ll find information on the kind of bets you can place, the individual races, and the history of this event.

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How to bet on the Breeders’ Cup

There are three ways to place a bet on the annual Breeders’ Cup event:

  • At the Track: There is nothing like the buzz of attending the Breeders’ Cup. With 14 incredible races over two days, racing fans will get to see quite possibly the best collection of racing talent. While at the track, head to a booth to place your bets, and hopefully, you’ll be revisiting the booth to collect your winnings.
  • Online Betting Sites: If you’re enjoying the action on TV at home, most states allow the opportunity to bet online. Sites such as BetAmerica, TwinSpires, and TVG allow bettors to sign up and place the same range of bets that are available at the track. These sites offer free past performances when placing a wager, as well as some generous welcome bonuses.
  • Off Track Betting: Off-track betting (OTB) is precisely what it says. It is any location where you can place a bet away from the track. Many other racetracks will offer betting via simulcast. This method allows you to watch the action of the Breeders’ Cup on the big screen, while also allowing you to place bets. As well as racetracks, there are many other OTB sites dotted across the country. Some are set up as turf clubs, others part of casino resorts. Head to a search engine to find an OTB site near you.

Online horse betting: How to sign up and create an account

Signing up and creating a new account to bet on the Breeders’ Cup is simple. The minimum age requirements differ between states, but bettors should be 18 years or older.

If you reside in Arizona, North Dakota, Washington or Indiana, you will need to be at least 21 years old to bet online.

Step 1: Download a horse betting app

Select one of the legal horse betting sites from above to bet on the Breeders’ Cup online. All three betting sites offer a horse betting app compatible with most Android and Apple devices.

Step 2: Create a new account

You’ll need to complete the registration process before you can bet online. The online racebook will require your first and last name, the last four digits of your Social Security number as well as your date of birth and phone number.

Step 3: Deposit and receive the welcome bonus

Now that you’ve verified your account, you can head to the cashier to make your first deposit. You’ll be able to choose from Visa or Mastercard, PayNearMe, PayPal, Neteller, or prepaid card. All of the Breeders’ Cup online betting sites offer welcome bonuses and, in some cases, a free bet offer.

2021 Breeders’ Cup odds

The table below features the latest odds for the Breeders’ Cup Classic race. Pari-mutuel bets are pooled. The amount of money bet on each selection will change the odds. The current odds are only an indicator because a last-minute rush of money on race day could change things significantly.

Breeders’ Cup Classic: A 1 1/4 mile race on the dirt for all 3-year-olds+ with a purse of $6 million.

1Essential Quality TBD2-1
2Knicks Go TBD3-1
3Medina Spirit TBD5-1
4Hot Rod Charlie TBD6-1
5Art Collector TBD8-1
6Max Player TBD8-1
7Stiletto Boy TBD30-1
8Express Train TBDTBD
9Tripoli TBDTBD

How to read the Breeders’ Cup odds

The odds for horse racing bets are usually listed in fractional format.

For example, if you see futures odds of 7-1, you’ll know that a wager of $100 will see a total return of $800 (and a profit of $700). If you see morning line odds of 5-2, this is effectively the same as saying 2.5-1, meaning a total return of $350 for a $100 stake, and a profit of $250.

You’ll notice that the win odds for a selection are higher than the place odds, which in turn are higher than the show odds. Obviously, it’s a lot easier to land a show bet than a win one, so you will receive lower payouts.

Some of the biggest wins will come from exotic bets.

The exacta can pay well, especially when you have an outsider in the first two, while the trifecta and superfecta can pay incredible amounts. The size of these prizes can depend on the fate of the favorite. If the favored horse fails to finish in the first three or four, the payouts will be that much higher.

Types of bets at the Breeders’ Cup

All of the bets you place, whether at the track, online, or at an OTB site, will go into the same pari-mutuel pools, with the following range of bets available:

  • Win: The most straightforward wager of all, you’re simply aiming to pick the winners of the races.
  • Place: Your selection needs to finish first or second for your bet to be successful.
  • Show: If your chosen horse finishes first, second or third, you’ve won.
  • Exacta: Choose the first two in the correct order to win.
  • Trifecta: Pick the first, second, and third to be successful.
  • Superfecta: The toughest of them all, as you’ll need to pick first, second, third, and fourth in order.

The exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets can be “boxed,” meaning that for additional stakes, your selections can finish in any order. Other bets available include Pick 6, where you’ll have to choose a series of winners, and other similar exotic bet types.

Is it legal to bet on the Breeders’ Cup?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to bet on the Breeders’ Cup from most states. Some states still have restrictions; many of them are based on statutes created more than a century ago.

Laws regarding gambling have changed many times over the years, never more so than in 2006 when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) came into force. This act, although not banning gambling, would effectively ban payments to online gambling sites.

Horse racing fans were fortunate due to the fact that “unlawful internet gambling” didn’t include any activity that is allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978. This ruling is a federal law that allows off-track betting on horse racing, which includes online wagering.

Sites like TwinSpires, TVG, and BetAmerica welcome online bets. Simulcast wagering and off-track betting on races across the country are perfectly legal in any state that allows betting within its borders.

How long does the Breeders’ Cup World Championships run?

The Breeders’ Cup is a two-day festival, always starting on a Friday and ending on a Saturday, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic always the final race on Day Two.

The first day is reserved for the best juveniles and features five races, while the action steps up with nine races on Day Two.

There are two ways in which a horse can qualify for a Breeders’ Cup race. The first is for a trainer to nominate his chosen horse for a race. Then they will compete with other entries to earn enough points in graded races. If they gain enough points, they’ll be in the starting lineup.

The second way is to win one of the ever-growing lists of “win and you’re in” races from the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series (detailed below).

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is a series of races run all over the world, with the winner of each race qualifies automatically for one of the 14 races at the two-day festival.

The series began in 2007 with a total of 24 “win and you’re in” races, and this number has grown every year since.

In 2021, there are a total of 84 races in countries such as Argentina, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Canada and Ireland. Most of the challenge races are domestic.

Breeders’ Cup winners

Here’s a list of the winners of the most prestigious race of all in the event, the Breeders’ Cup Classic:

2020Authentic3John R. Velazquez 1:59.60
2019Vino Rosso4Irad Ortiz Jr.02:02.8$6,000,000Santa Anita
2018Accelerate5Joel Rosario02:02.9$6,000,000Churchill Downs
2017Gun Runner4Florent Geroux02:01.3$6,000,000Del Mar
2016Arrogate3Mike E. Smith02:00.1$6,000,000Santa Anita
2015American Pharoah3Victor Espinoza02:00.1$5,000,000Keeneland
2014Bayern3Martin Garcia01:59.9$5,000,000Santa Anita
2013Mucho Macho Man5Gary Stevens02:00.7$5,000,000Santa Anita
2012Fort Larned4Brian Hernandez02:00.1$5,000,000Santa Anita
2011Drosselmeyer4Mike E. Smith02:04.3$5,000,000Churchill Downs
2010Blame4Garrett Gomez02:02.3$5,000,000Churchill Downs
2009Zenyatta†5Mike E. Smith02:00.3$5,000,000Santa Anita
2008Raven's Pass3Frankie Dettori01:59.3$5,000,000Santa Anita
2007Curlin3Robby Albarado02:00.6$5,000,000Monmouth Park
2006Invasor (ARG)4Fernando Jara02:02.2$5,000,000Churchill Downs
2005Saint Liam5Jerry Bailey02:01.5$5,000,000Belmont Park
2004Ghostzapper4Javier Castellano01:59.0$4,000,000Lone Star Park
2003Pleasantly Perfect5Alex Solis01:59.9$4,000,000Santa Anita
2002Volponi4Jose Santos02:01.4$4,000,000Arlington Park
2001Tiznow4Chris McCarron02:00.6$4,000,000Belmont Park
2000Tiznow3Chris McCarron02:00.8$4,000,000Churchill Downs
1999Cat Thief3Pat Day01:59.5$4,000,000Gulfstream Park
1998Awesome Again (CAN)4Pat Day02:02.2$4,000,000Churchill Downs
1997Skip Away4Mike E. Smith01:59.2$4,400,000Hollywood Park
1996Alphabet Soup5Chris McCarron02:01.0$4,000,000Woodbine
1995Cigar5Jerry Bailey01:59.6$3,000,000Belmont Park
1994Concern3Jerry Bailey02:02.4$3,000,000Churchill Downs
1993Arcangues5Jerry Bailey02:00.8$3,000,000Santa Anita
1992A.P. Indy3Ed Delahoussaye02:00.2$3,000,000Gulfstream Park
1991Black Tie Affair (IRE)5Jerry Bailey02:03.0$3,000,000Churchill Downs
1990Unbridled3Pat Day02:02.2$3,000,000Belmont Park
1989Sunday Silence3Chris McCarron02:00.2$3,000,000Gulfstream Park
1988Alysheba4Chris McCarron02:04.8$3,000,000Churchill Downs
1987Ferdinand4Bill Shoemaker02:01.4$3,000,000Hollywood Park
1986Skywalker4Laffit Pincay, Jr.02:00.4$3,000,000Santa Anita
1985Proud Truth3Jorge Velasquez02:00.8$3,000,000Aqueduct
1984Wild Again4Pat Day02:03.4$3,000,000Hollywood Park

History of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships began in 1984.

The idea was first proposed two years earlier at an awards luncheon for the Kentucky Derby Festival by John Gaines, who was a leading thoroughbred owner of the era. Despite much skepticism at the time, the event has gone on to be a huge success.

That same year, the event was held at Hollywood Park, featuring seven races and a total prize fund of $10 million. The Breeders’ Cup generally moves from track to track throughout the country on an annual basis. In 1996, a meeting at Woodbine in Canada was the only event held outside of the US.

Including 2019, Santa Anita has hosted the event a record 10 times, edging ahead of Churchill Downs Racetrack, which has hosted nine times (the last time being 2018).

Up until 2006, the Breeders’ Cup was a single-day event but expanded to two days in 2007. As a sign of the sheer quality of the meeting, three of the Breeders’ Cup races are ranked amongst the top 12 Grade 1 races in the world. In 2021, there will be a total of $31 million in prize money up for grabs.

Breeders' Cup Championships FAQ

The Breeders’ Cup Classic takes place Saturday, Nov. 6, at Del Mar Racetrack, and will air live on NBC.

The host track for the event changes on an annual basis. In 2021, the race returns to Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, CA. The Keeneland Race Course in Del Mar, CA will be the host for the 2022 race.

There is a whole range of pricing options for the Breeders’ Cup, with general admission starting at $20 per pass. For a full rundown of all the different packages available, head to

The entry fees will change based on the quality of the races. To be fully nominated for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, it will cost $15,000, while a full nomination for the Breeders’ Cup Classic will cost $75,000. Of course, this fee doesn’t guarantee participation in a race, as qualification still has to be achieved.

In 2009, Zenyatta would become the first and only filly ever to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, beating a field of 12 including the winners of both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

No, the Triple Crown of US horse racing is made up of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. However, the Breeders’ Cup Classic race is sometimes referred to as the “fourth Triple Crown race.” In 2015, American Pharaoh would become the first horse to win all four races.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic has a total purse of $6 million, of which $3.3 million goes to the winning connections ($1.02 million goes to the runner-up and $540,000 goes to the third-place finisher).

Wayne Lukas is the most successful trainer in the history of the championship with a total of 20 wins. Bob Baffert sits five behind currently with 17 wins.

Mike Smith is the most successful jockey in the history of the series with a total of 26 wins, 8 ahead of his nearest rival, John Velazquez.

Goldikova is the only horse to have won the same Breeders’ Cup race three times, triumphing in the Mile in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The only other horse with three successes is Beholder, who won the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and the Distaff in 2013 and 2016.

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