Breeders Cup Handicapping & Expert Picks

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Last updated June 28, 2022

Breeders’ Cup Handicapping & Expert Pick Information

The Breeders’ Cup is the richest two day in sports and is a two day seminar for those looking to pick winners! With over $28 million paid out in purses and awards through the entire weekend. A total of 13 Grade 1 races make up the Breeders’ Cup with four on Friday and nine races Saturday, providing handicappers the opportunity to analyze the best horses competing against each other at various distances on both the dirt and turf.

The 2021 Breeders’ Cup will take place Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack, who hosts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Expert Picks for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff from the Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide

Vance HansonKeeler JohnsonKellie ReillyNicolle Neulist
3 Malathaat11 Dunbar Road3 Malathaat3 Malathaat
6 Letruska3 Malathaat6 Letruska5 Clairiere
2 Shedaresthedevil6 Letruska2 Royal Flag6 Letruska

Bet along with James Scully!

Juvenile Turf:      Turf Sprint:Mile:Distaff:Turf:Classic:
4 Tiz the Bomb2 Emaraaty Ana3 Space Blues2 Royal Flag13 Tarnawa4 Essential Quality
8 Glounthaune10 Gear Jockey7 In Love1 Private Mission12 Teona3 Hot Rod Charlie
14 Dubawi Legend8 Caravel6 Mo Forza3 Malathaat11 Gufo9 Max Player

Handicapping Tips to Consider for Picks in the Breeders’ Cup

Win and You’re In pre-race Factors

Handicappers and bettors follow these races and wager on them throughout the year, and gauge the progress of those horses that won along with other strong finishers who may run in Breeders’ Cup races based on another criteria.

How a Breeders’ Cup qualifier matters for horses and picks:

Horses qualify for a Breeders’ Cup race a few different ways.

The first is by winning a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race. This was developed and started in 2007, and there are more than 80 ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifying races in 2017 that award the winner a spot in the starting gate for the selected Breeders’ Cup race.

The second way to qualify is based on a points system where horses are ranked based on their performance in major races (Grade 1, 2, 3) during the year.

The third way to gain entry to a Breeders’ Cup race is to be selected by a panel of racing experts. In a field of 14 for a Breeders’ Cup race, seven of the horses could come from the Challenge races and points system, and the remaining entries are selected by the experts to ensure the highest quality of competition.

The Challenge Races

Of the 13 Breeders’ Cup races, 5 are run on turf and 8 on dirt. Each race has a maximum of 14 entries. The shortest race is the $1 million Turf Sprint covering 5 furlongs. The record time in this BC Turf Sprint is :54.48 seconds by Regally Ready in 2011 at Churchill Downs. However, the Turf Sprint has only been run the most recent nine years in Breeders’ Cup history (dating to 1984), and just twice at 5 furlongs, which is the distance for the 2017 Turf Sprint. A good time depends on the surface and condition, and six other times the Turf Sprint has been run at 6 ½ furlongs with a record time of 1:11.26.

The TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint is run on the dirt, and it’s contested at 6 furlongs (three-quarters of a mile). The record time is a blistering 1:07.08 by Midnight Lute in 2008 at Santa Anita Park. He won the same race the year before in one of the slowest Breeders’ Cup Sprint times of 109.18 with the late jockey Garrett Gomez aboard for each victory.   

The fastest $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (1 ¼ miles) time is 1:59.02 by Ghostzapper in 2004 with Javier Castellano riding at Lone Star Park; its only time as the host track. 

The longest Breeders’ Cup race is 1 ½ miles in the $4 million Longines Turf. The record holder is Little Mike in 2012 with a final time of 2:22.83 at Santa Anita Park.

Where to find expert picks

Betting Blog Breeders’ Cup picks

The TwinSpires Blog is a great source for Breeders’ Cup-related news, handicapping opinions and other features, and account holders can receive free Past Performances and the Insider Picks and Power Plays handicapping report when they wager on the Breeders’ Cup through

Handicappers looking for value love the Breeders’ Cup races with their full fields with competitive horses that ensure some solid prices and more favorable payouts and odds, especially with long shots. For example, the biggest payoff in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was in 1993 at Santa Anita by a horse named Arcangues, which the betting public let him go off at staggering odds of 133/1. Jerry Bailey was the winning jockey and Arcanguest paid a whopping $269.20 on a $2 win bet.

The pick 4 is also a popular and preferred wager for many Breeders’ Cup bettors, and it’s offered three times on the Friday and Saturday race cards. Bettors may wager a minimum of $.50 cents and cash a bigger score selecting the winner in 4-straight races.

With value on the card and more bigger-priced horses winning, the average payout has been solid over the last 10 years of Breeders’ Cup races, averaging $196 on a $2 exacta and $1,870 for a trifecta. A $2 superfecta wager has returned an average of $15,363 picking the top-4 finishers in Breeders’ Cup races.

Expert Picks for this year’s Breeders’ Cup:

  • 2021 Handicapping coming soon

Resources to help formulate your picks:

The TwinSpires handicapping library

How to calculate your wagers with your picks

Learn from the past by our handicapping archives:

Recent Breeders’ Cup Betting Content: