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How to bet on the Breeders’ Cup

In this guide, we’ll cover how to bet on the Breeders’ Cup, including where you can place your wagers, how to read the odds, and what types of bets you can place. Additionally, we’ll provide a history of the race and briefly analyze the 2024 field.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry
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The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is a series of annual horse races capped by the Breeders’ Cup Classic for thoroughbreds that are 3 years old and older. The races will be held for the 41st time in 2024 with Del Mar hosting the festivities.

Where can you bet on the Breeders’ Cup?

You should always shop around to find the best odds when looking for where to bet on the Breeders’ Cup. We recommend the following options for their reliability and timely payouts.

  • FanDuel Racing: FanDuel Racing is the Official Wagering Partner of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. You can watch many of the races on FanDuel TV, along with The Breeders’ Cup Players’ Show, which provides a betting-focused analysis of the various heats.
  • DK Horse: Naturally, when talking about FanDuel, we need to mention DraftKings as well. DraftKings launched DK Horse in March 2023, making this the second opportunity for bettors to place wagers on the Breeders’ Cup using the new platform.
  • TwinSpires: TwinSpires is one of the oldest online horse race betting sites in Kentucky, first accepting wagers in 2006. Owned and operated by Churchill Downs, TwinSpires offers daily pari-mutuel horse race wagering action from races around the world.

Guide for wagering on the Breeders’ Cup online

Wagering on the Breeders’ Cup online is a rather simple process, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced vet, you’ll find no difficulties in placing your bet. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Pick your betting site: To get started, choose one of the racebooks we’ve listed above and, if you haven’t already done so, register your account with the site. You may be able to access a Kentucky welcome bonus or other Breeders’ Cup-related promo offer.
  2. Choose your horse(s): Depending on how you want to play your betting slip, there are options to bet on a single horse or on multiple horses. Remember to consider all available information when choosing, especially if you consider the jockey, trainer, experience, track conditions, and pedigree of the racer(s).
  3. Select your bet type: We’ll go into more detail on specific bet types below, but this is the next step after choosing your horse(s). Keep in mind the potential payouts will change based on the type of bet you choose, as well as the overall pool for pari-mutuel race betting.
  4. Decide how much you want to wager: Many racebooks will accept wagers as low as $1 or $2 depending on your wager type, though you are certainly welcome to bet more as you see fit.
  5. Sit back and enjoy the race: After all that, you’re free to sweat it out with the other bettors and see who the top finishers are!

What types of wagers can you place on the Breeders’ Cup?

There are many different types of wagers you can place on the Breeders’ Cup, with some more simple and straightforward while others are more intricate and exotic. Here are some of the more common and popular options.

  • Win/place/show bets: Win, place, and show bets are fancier names for the top three finishing spots in a horse race. A win bet is on the horse to win the race outright, a place bet covers a finish in the top two spots, and a show bet pays if your horse finishes anywhere in the top three. Each of these bet types typically carries a minimum $2 wager.
  • Exacta: An exacta bet is one of the more exotic wagers because you’re betting on multiple horses. With an exacta, you’re trying to predict the exact order of finish for the top two spots. However, you can also “box” your exacta, which will result in a winning wager if you pick the top two horses in either order.
  • Trifecta: Building on the exacta, a trifecta is the correct prediction of the top three finishers of the Breeders’ Cup races. In many cases, the minimum wager for a trifecta is $0.50, but this can still lead to a considerable payday even with the smaller stake. This can also expand to the “superfecta,” which is correctly predicting the top four finishers.
  • Double/Pick 3/4/5/6: Starting with the double and going as high as a “Pick 6,” this bet type involves picking the winners of consecutive races. Pick 6 wins tend to carry a jackpot bonus because of their difficulty to hit, but a wager as low as $0.20 could have a payday worth tens of thousands of dollars if you’re lucky and knowledgeable enough to hit.

About the Breeders’ Cup

The flagship race of the Breeders’ Cup is the “Breeders’ Cup Classic,” a 1 ¼ mile race that has been held across the United States and once in Canada. It is typically run in late October or early November and carries a purse of $6 million. We will use “Breeders’ Cup” and “Breeders’ Cup Classic” interchangeably throughout this article, though it is important to note there are 14 total races across the event.

Because of the prestige of the horses running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, it is often one of the hardest races to predict. The Classic has also become the fourth leg of the “Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing,” as it is held after the Triple Crown races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes); American Pharoah became the first and thus far only horse to accomplish the feat, winning all four races in 2015.

History of the Breeders’ Cup

The first Breeders’ Cup race ran in 1984 with the intention of becoming the year-end championship among North American thoroughbreds. In spite of initial skepticism, the Cup saw great success early on to the point where expansion to a two-day event was deemed necessary in 2007.

Here is a brief timeline of significant events in the history of the Breeders’ Cup:

  • 1982: John R. Gaines first proposed the idea of the Breeders’ Cup as a way to clean up the image of thoroughbred horse racing and bring the sport to a wider-reaching international audience.
  • 1984: The first Breeders’ Cup race is held. Wild Again, a 31-1 longshot, wins the Classic after beating out Preakness winner Gate Dancer and betting favorite Slew o’Gold.
  • 1987: The Breeders’ Cup hosts two Kentucky Derby winners, Alysheba and Ferdinand. The race came down to the wire with Ferdinand winning by a nose. At age 57, Ferdinand’s jockey Bill Shoemaker became the oldest jockey to win any Breeders’ Cup race.
  • 1993: In the biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history, Arcangues, a French horse that entered the races at 133/1 odds, won the race in the final yards with a smooth maneuver from the outside. At those odds, a $2 win bet would’ve paid out $269.60.
  • 1995: Cigar becomes the first horse to break the 2:00 mark in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, crossing the finish line at 1:59.58. Only five other horses in Classic history have finished with a better time.
  • 2004: Ghostzapper sets the record for the fastest time at the Breeders’ Cup, winning in 1:59.02.
  • 2007: The Breeders’ Cup changes its format to hold races over two days instead of just one.
  • 2008: The first day of the Breeders’ Cup is dedicated to female horses and purses are up to $25 million in total, leading the New York Post to declare the event “the richest turf festival in the world.”
  • 2009: Zenyatta becomes the first filly to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. As of 2022, she is still the only female horse to win the Classic.
  • 2015: American Pharoah completes the “Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing” with his Breeders’ Cup win.
  • 2019: A black eye for the Breeders’ Cup, Mongolian Groom suffered a broken leg at the Santa Anita racetrack and was euthanized. Mongolian Groom was the 38th horse to die at Santa Anita Park in less than a year.

Notable winners of the Breeders’ Cup

Most Breeders’ Cup winners carry the prestige of winning other important races, especially Triple Crown events. Here, we’ve highlighted a few of the particularly notable winners of the Breeders’ Cup.

  • 1995 - Cigar: Cigar was the first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup with a winning time under 2:00, clocking in at 1:59.58 in the 1995 race at Belmont Park. The time was even more impressive given the muddy track conditions at the park and an outside post position to start the race. The win capped off a perfect season for Cigar, who won all 10 races in which he competed.
  • 2004 - Ghostzapper: Ghostzapper holds the all-time record for the fastest win at the Breeders’ Cup, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:59.02 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, TX. Winning against a crowded field that included 2003 winner Pleasantly Perfect, 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, and other quality horses like Funny Cide, Birdstone, Roses in May, and Perfect Drift, Ghostzapper led from gate-to-wire, taking the race by three lengths.
  • 2009 - Zenyatta: Zenyatta is the only filly to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic after once again showing off her impressive closing speed in the home stretch of the track. Trailing eight other horses at a distance of 6 ¾ lengths with a quarter-mile left in the race, Zenyatta took to the outside and closed the gap, winning the race by just one length.
  • 2015 - American Pharoah: American Pharoah’s 2015 season was the stuff of legend, as he became the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown and the first (and still only) winner of the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing. The Breeders’ Cup performance may have been the best of all, as American Pharoah won by an impressive 6 ½ lengths, breaking the Keeneland Race Course record for the distance in the process.


Which states host the Breeders’ Cup?

The Breeders’ Cup has been hosted at many locations throughout the United States throughout its 40-year history and also was held in Canada in 1996. In 2024, Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego will act as the host site of the two-day event.

Who won the Breeders’ Cup in 2023?

The 2023 Breeders’ Cup winning horse was White Abarrio, who won the race by 1 length.

Is the Breeders’ Cup the most-watched horse race in the country?

No, while the Breeders’ Cup is one of the most-watched horse races around the world, the Kentucky Derby still holds the top spot among United States horse racing viewers. The 2023 Kentucky Derby had more than 16 million viewers while the Breeders’ Cup tallied just under one million U.S. viewers.

Can you bet on the Breeders’ Cup with Caesars?

Yes, you can bet on the Breeders’ Cup with Caesars. Caesars Racebook offers odds for more than 300 racetracks from around the world, including for such prestigious events as the Breeders’ Cup, the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness Stakes, and more.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry