Breeders' Cup odds: Looking from a bookmaker's perspective

October 15, 2018 01:38pm

With less than three weeks until the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, owners and trainers are making last minute preparations and travel arrangements, while handicappers start to formulate which of their favorite runners they will wager on.

Every year before the Breeders’ Cup, I always look at the odds offered by the top foreign bookmakers on all races, turf or dirt. They are very sharp with the prices they offer and can give a glimpse into runners that might offer value or be overbet on race day. is a wonderful site to compare different odds from various European bookmaking shops on races worldwide.

Breeders' Cup Classic

This year’s handicap division seems to be down after Gun Runner, Arrogate and California Chrome spoiled fans the last few seasons. 
Accelerate looks like a standout in this bunch from a speed figure perspective, but bookmakers and those that wagered in the Breeders’ Cup Futures Pool rate his chances to give John Sadler his first Breeders’ Cup winner at around 3-1. At those odds, he offers tremendous value as he has no problem with the distance or shipping outside of California. In addition, he possesses great tactical speed and his speed figures as a whole tower over his competition.

Interestingly, bookmakers don’t fancy 
Thunder Snow or Mendelssohn’s chances even though they hail from top-notch barns and prepared for this spot for months. Most have them both listed around 12-1. Given their connections and success on dirt, I expected both to be lower. It feels that bookmakers are offering these square prices, but they really don’t rate either a serious chance, though the public will drive their prices lower on race day.

Breeders' Cup Distaff

This figures to be a clash of the last two Kentucky Oaks winners, and while
Monomoy Girl is a deserving favorite based on her accomplishments this year, her odds overseas suggest she will go off around 6-5 come race day. Her main rival, Abel Tasman, threw in a clunker last out when finishing off the board in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. The Beyer Speed Figures Abel Tasman earned in her two starts prior to the Zenyatta (105 and 100) are comparable to those of Monomoy Girl (101 and 98). Most European odds makers are offering anywhere between 7-2 and 9-2 on the 2017 Kentucky Oaks winner. If able to find her mid-summer form, Abel Tasman offers great value over a younger rival that doesn’t hold a tactical or speed figure advantage.

Breeders' Cup Turf

For most
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners the Turf is an afterthought they are ill-prepared for, as evidenced by the fact that no one has won both races. Trainer John Gosden came close in 2015 when Golden Horn was runner up to Found at Keeneland after defeating her soundly at Longchamp. Enable will be fresh as this is only her third start of the year, but at around 3-5 to pull off a feat that hasn’t been accomplished offers no value.

On the other hand,
Cliffs of Moher is a one-run closer that has chased Europe’s finest all year. Offered at 20-1 in most shops, the Aiden O’Brien trainee offers great value given the right pace scenario.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf

In last weekend’s
Prix de l’Opera, Magic Wand, With You and Rhododendron all chased home Wild Illusion, who off of that win, should be the luke-warm favorite at approximately 7-2. Wild Illusion had a rabbit in the race and sat a perfect mid-pack trip, overtaking her rivals when asked. The others making the trip are all listed at around 10-1, but With You is preferred of this group. Rhododendron was the runner up in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf, but appears to have gone off form in 2018. Magic Wand received a dream trip on the rail the entire way and still didn’t pose a serious threat while running second. With You ran fourth in the Prix de l’Opera while racing wide and crowded throughout. Owned by American George Strawbridge of Augustin Stables, look for her to light up the tote board at double digit odds.


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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, Nebraska. From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10. Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for playing the races has risen to a new level. Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch. My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping Pick 4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do. I encourage others to post picks they like, too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions. That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal. Best of luck.

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