Total handle during Breeders’ Cup weekend has exceeded $124 million in each year since the World Championships became a two-day event in 2007, and there have been some excellent payouts every year since that time.

In this piece, I will highlight the top exacta returns for each individual race, as well as shed some light as to why the returns were so rewarding over the past 12 years.

Classic (2011 — $444.80)

In a race lacking a standout, Drosslmeyer rallying to win at 14-1 followed by fellow 14-1 shot Game On Dude spiked the handsome return under the Twin Spires.

Turf (2010 — $172.60)

At Churchill Downs, Dangerous Midge tracked early leader Champ Pegasus throughout and inched clear in the lane for trainer Brian Meehan. The latter held well to be a clear second, while even-money choice Behkabad could only muster third which helped the exacta return.

Distaff (2009 — $171.60)

With 9-5 choice Careless Jewel opening up a huge lead on the backside and caving in the stretch, the Distaff opened up for all contenders. The 8-1 Life is Sweet got the better of Bill Mott’s Mushka, who went off at 16-1 at the Great Race Place.

Filly and Mare Turf (2008 — $449.20)

The exquisite Forever Together rallied for the win at Santa Anita for Jonathan Sheppard as the 9-2 third choice. But it was the surprising runner-up performance by Sealy Hill at 48-1 that made this exacta so rewarding.

Mile (2011 — $1,979.60)

With the legendary Goldikova finishing just third in her attempt for a fourth consecutive Mile tally, the Dale Romans-trained Court Vision pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Breeders’ Cup history. He was the longest shot on the board at a whopping 64-1, with 11-1 shot Turallure capping the bonanza payout beneath the Twin Spires.

Sprint (2009 — $455.80)

At Santa Anita, locally based horses finished one-two when 25-1 chance Dancing in Silks got the better of the 15-1 Crown of Thorns in a thrilling finish. Zensational and Gayego, the top-two choices in the betting, finished fifth and fourth, respectively.

Dirt Mile (2010 — $816.20)

Dakota Phone, the biggest price on the board, spearheaded the substantial exacta for conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer. Sent off at 37-1, he finished atop 5-1 third choice Morning Line by a head at Churchill Downs.

Turf Sprint (2008 — $786.20)

The inaugural running of this race was held at Santa Anita down the hillside turf course. Local hopeful Desert Code had just one horse beaten early but closed best of all under Richard Migliore. The 36-1 longest price in the field was a half-length ahead of third-choice Diabolical, at 5-1.

Filly and Mare Sprint (2017 — $2,060.40)

At Del Mar, Bar of Gold was dismissed at 66-1 odds but rallied from next to last to pull off the biggest upset of the day for John Kimmel. Canadian-based Ami’s Mesa was an unlucky loser at a healthy 18-1, capping the astronomical exacta.

Juvenile (2009 — $334.80)

On the all-weather surface at Santa Anita, Godolphin’s Vale of York stunned 2-1 favorite Lookin at Lucky by a head. The winner was sent postward at odds of 30-1 in his U. S. debut.

Juvenile Fillies (2014 — $1,557.20)


Conditioner D. Wayne Lukas has won numerous races in his lifetime with longshots. But one of his most notable came when the 61-1 Take Charge Brandi wired the field as the biggest number on the board. She beat 5-1 Top Decile by a half-length to spearhead a whopping exacta payout.

Juvenile Turf (2011 — $964.00)

Aidan O’Brien’s Wrote winning the race and returning $25.20 was not the biggest surprise in a wide-open field. The value of the huge exacta came from runner-up Excaper, who led late and held second at a 33-1 price at Churchill Downs.

Juvenile Fillies Turf (2008 — $350.20)

The first edition of this race at Santa Anita gave conditioner Chad Brown his first of five winners of the affair. Maram, at 11-1, topped Heart Shaped at 10-1 in a thrilling finish. The hefty return had much to do with the favored Laragh and second choice Consequence missing the top two.

Juvenile Turf Sprint (2018 — $239.40)

Bulletin led throughout as the 4-1 second betting option, but it was the runner-up performance by Chelsea Cloisters, as the second longest price on the board at 24-1, that keyed the return in its inaugural running.


Juvenile Fillies (2014 — $1,557.20)


Conditioner D. Wayne Lukas has won numerous races in his lifetime with longshots. But one of his most notable came when the 61-1 Take Charge Brandi wired the field as the biggest number on the board. She beat 5-1 Top Decile by a half-length to spearhead a whopping exacta payout.

Juvenile Turf (2011 — $964.00)

Aidan O’Brien’s Wrote winning the race and returning $25.20 was not the biggest surprise in a wide-open field. The value of the huge exacta came from runner-up Excaper, who led late and held second at a 33-1 price at Churchill Downs.

Juvenile Fillies Turf (2008 — $350.20)

The first edition of this race at Santa Anita gave conditioner Chad Brown his first of five winners of the affair. Maram, at 11-1, topped Heart Shaped at 10-1 in a thrilling finish. The hefty return had much to do with the favored Laragh and second choice Consequence missing the top two.

Juvenile Turf Sprint (2018 — $239.40)

Bulletin led throughout as the 4-1 second betting option, but it was the runner-up performance by Chelsea Cloisters, as the second longest price on the board at 24-1, that keyed the return in its inaugural running.

Bulletin photo (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography