Breeders' Cup Handicapping: Expert Picks & Predictions

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Last updated: March 4th, 2024

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 14 Grade 1 races make up the Breeders’ Cup with five 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 2024 Breeders’ Cup will take place Nov. 1st-2nd at Del Mar Racetrack, this year's host track.


Expert Picks for the Breeders' Cup

Check out the picks from John Mucciolo, James Scully and Vance Hanson for the 2023 Breeders' Cup!

Juvenile Bets and Picks

Distaff Bets and Picks

Turf Bets and Picks

Classic Bets and Picks

BC 2-Day DoublesBC 2-Day DoublesBC Friday P5BC Friday P5All Turf P4All Turf P4
Juvenile/ClassicJuv. Turf/TurfR5: 2, 8, 10, 12R8: 4, 8R4: 2, 6, 5, 9R8: 5, 2, 9, 1
10, 92, 7, 1R6: 7R9: 3, 7, 8, 9R6: 10R10: 5, 9, 10, 11
3,  211R7: 6, 10, 12   

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 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 14 Breeders’ Cup races, 7 are run on turf and 7 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 :54.83 seconds by Regally Ready in 2019 at Santa Anita. However, the Turf Sprint has only been run since 2008, and just five times at 5 furlongs. 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; it's only time as the host track. 

The longest Breeders’ Cup race is 1 ½ miles in the $4 million Breeders' Cup 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 on TwinSpires Edge

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

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.