California Chrome Odds On in the Breeders' Cup Classic

California Chrome Odds On in the Breeders' Cup Classic
Photo: Melanie Martines

California Chrome has certainly earned the role of favorite in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic. North America’s all-time richest thoroughbred has so far proven unbeatable in his five-year-old season. The 2014 Horse of the Year has won all six of his starts in impressive style. While nine others will line up against him on Saturday, there can be little doubt that California Chrome is the horse to beat.

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Bettors are sure to make the former Kentucky Derby winner the favorite in the $6 million-dollar race. That designation has not always been a good thing in the Classic, though. Only 9-of-32 betting favorites have come through to win the big race. California Chrome will be more than the wagering favorite, though, he will be a heavy favorite.

Still, that does not mean an automatic victory in the richest race on the Breeders’ Cup menu. Since its inception back in 1984, 18 horses have been bet down below the 2-1 mark. Of them, only five have won, for a winning percentage of just under 28%. Take a look at the big names on this list below, all sent off below 2-1, who have more often than not, lost in the Breeders’ Cup Classic…

Slew O’ Gold (3-5) – 3rd 1984

Chief’s Crown (9-5) – 4th 1985

Turkoman (8-5) – 2nd 1986

Ferdinand (1-1) – Won 1987

Alysheba (3-2) – Won 1988

Easy Goer (1-2) – 2nd 1989

Bertrando (6-5) – 2nd 1993

Cigar (7-10) – Won 1995

Cigar (3-5) – 3rd 1996

Skip Away (9-5) – Won 1997

Skip Away (9-5) – 6th 1998

Fusaichi Pegasus (6-5) – 6th 2000

Bernardini (11-10) – 2nd 2006

Curlin (9-10) – 4th 2008

Zenyatta (1-1) – 2nd 2010

Game On Dude (13-10) – 7th 2011

Game On Dude (17-10) – 9th 2013

American Pharoah (7-10) – Won 2015


Until American Phaorah scored a popular victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, favorites, which were bet below 2-1, had been beaten seven consecutive times. Will California Chrome be able to continue a new trend started by the Grand Slam winner in 2015?

Bettors will unquestionably be on his side. In fact, there is a good chance that he becomes only the seventh horse to be sent to post at odds lower than even money. Of course, even favorites bet that low have only won two times in the first six attempts.

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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