Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Nov. 7, 2022

November 7th, 2022

A good Monday to you all! Wow, what a weekend. I hope you had as much fun this Breeders’ Cup as I did. I watched all the races from the comfort of Tampa Bay Downs with coworkers and friends and had a blast. There’s obviously a cavalcade of topics we could write about this morning, but I wanted to focus on the BCBC as my favorite thing of the weekend.

Now granted, I didn’t get to see any of it and kind of had to follow it on my own, but I still LOVE following the cash money tournaments. I just wish there was more actual coverage of them because I think they’re one of the most exciting parts of a weekend like the Breeders' Cup. First of all, big congratulations to Drew Coatney, who took down the top prize and a huge haul of cash along with the title. Winning a tournament like that against many of the best horseplayers in the country takes a lot of skill, risk tolerance, strategy, and, of course, a little luck on your side. But it’s a monumental achievement in the world of horseplayers.

In order to win the BCBC, most years a player has to turn their $7,500 live bankroll into over $100,000. Drew turned his $7,500 into a few bucks shy of $140,000, and that’s not counting the first prize pool, which was projected to be about $360,000. I mentioned on my podcast last week to those thinking about playing the contest that in order to win you’re going to have to turn your $7,500 into over six figures. How many of us horseplayers have ever done that? Or ever done even close to that? I know I sure haven’t.

I mentioned risk tolerance above, which essentially means, how much can you tolerate bigger and bigger risks. For the average horseplayer in a tournament like this, even if they run their $7,500 bankroll up to, say, $30,000, that’s an all-time day for them. They’re completely thrilled to win $22,500, as that’s a ton of profit for most of us.

But if you’re going to play for the serious money up at the top of the leaderboard, you have to be willing to put every accrued dollar from the weekend back into the pot and see if you can get the big final hit. I’d wager that a large majority of us weekend warriors out there wouldn’t have the fortitude to put up our $30k on a 4-1 shot in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) that would have gotten us past Drew to win.

I haven’t seen the final plays yet, but I believe Drew had about $100,000 going into the Classic and finished with $140,000 or so. My guess is that he just bet the whole $100,000 on Flightline to win.

Being the leader often changes up the strategy for a tournament like that, and the leader faces a unique challenge of not only trying to bet the race, but trying to beat your opponents who are all coming after you. Many of the folks in behind are making bets on horses they might not even like because they have to bet something that will give them 10-1 or higher on all of their money. Someone with $30,000 going into that last race had to think that they needed to get to around $150,000 or higher to win or finish second, so they needed to get 4-1 or higher on their money to get there. Not easy to do with a likely 2-5 winner up there.

Following the contests and the contest strategy to me is just so interesting. The prize money also gives you other considerations to make. If Drew did just bet the whole amount on Flightline, yes, he got 2-5 at the windows on his $100,000. But he likely knew that unless someone completely crushed the exacta with Olympiad or some other exotic, if Flightline won he was going to get the $360,000 top prize. So he was really risking $100,000 to win $500,000. Getting 4-1 on Flightline sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Once again, congratulations to Drew Coatney and to all those who had a good BCBC!