The Pennsylvania Derby winner is one of the favorites in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 6 from Del Mar race track in California. The 1 1/4-mile event sports a field of nine with a post-time of 8:40 p.m. ET.
2021 Breeders’ Cup odds
Here’s a look at the field for the $6 million Classic.
|1||Tripoli||Irad Ortiz Jr.||John Sadler||15-1|
|2||Express Train||Victor Espinoza||John Shirreffs||20-1|
|3||Hot Rod Charlie||Flavien Prat||Doug O'Neill||4-1|
|4||Essential Quality||Luis Saez||Brad Cox||3-1|
|5||Knicks Go||Joel Rosario||Brad Cox||5-2|
|6||Art Collector||Mike Smith||Bill Mott||8-1|
|7||Stiletto Boy||Flavien Prat||Ed Moger Jr.||30-1|
|8||Medina Spirit||John Velazquez||Bob Baffert||4-1|
|9||Max Player||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||8-1|
Breeders’ Cup Classic Overview
- What: 3 year-old males
- Purse: $6 million
- Time: Nov. 6 at 8:40 p.m.
- Distance: 1 1/4 miles
The Classic is the centerpiece of the horse racing industry’s illustrious Breeders Cup weekend. The two-day spectacle is a horse-racing heaven on earth with a $31 million, 14-race assembly of the world’s top horses. Some view it as 14 Super Bowls in two days. There are five races on Friday and nine events on Saturday, all with a minimum purse of $1 million.
The Breeders Cup weekend culminates a year-long circuit for sprinters, distance horses, turf specialists and juveniles throughout the United States and Europe. Their owners have pointed to, and qualified for this high-profile stage. Numerous Horse of the Year honors will emerge from this weekend.
Breeders Cup 2021 predictions
Knicks Go, who set a Keeneland Race course record in winning the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile last year, is expected to set the pace. He’s a blazing front-runner who has three consecutive victories at 1 1-8 miles, all after breaking to the lead. The question is how far he can take that speed. This is his first outing at 1 1/4 miles. Pennsylvania bettors will weigh whether that extra 1-8 of a mile is significant.
Hot Rod Charlie and Medina Spirit should be forwardly placed right behind him. If they push Knicks Go hard on the pace, it will set up for a late run by Essential Quality, a closing horse. Do these horses sound familiar? Medina Spirit won the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Hot Rod Charlie a close third and Essential Quality fourth. Essential Quality later beat Hot Rod Charlie in a thrilling Belmont Stakes stretch duel. Hot Rod Charlie also won the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park in New Jersey before being disqualified for clipping heels with Midnight Bourbon. These are the major contenders.
Full Breeders’ Cup race schedule
- 7:40 p.m: Turf Classic ($4 million) at 1 1-2 miles on the turf
- 7:00 p.m.: Distaff ($2 million) at 1 1-8 miles on the dirt
- 6:20 p.m.: FanDuel Mile ($2 million)
- 5:38 p.m.: Qatar Racing Sprint ($2 million) at six furlongs on dirt.
- 4:59 p.m.: $2 million Makers’ Mark filly and mare turf at 1 3-8 miles.
- 4: 19 p.m.: Big Ass Fans $1 million Dirt Mile
- 3:40 p.m.: $ 1 million turf sprint at 5 furlongs
- 3:05 p.m.: $1 million filly and mare sprint at 7 furlongs on dirt.
Friday’s races are all for two-year olds. They are headlined by the $2 million Juvenile Dirt Mile.
Ways to bet on horse racing
- Win: Your horse must finish first.
- Place: Your horse finishes first or second.
- Show: Your horse finishes in the top three.
- Exacta: The first two finishers in exact order. Always box them. A $2 exacta box costs $4 and the bettor gets both horses in any order. (i.e., a $2 exacta box 5-6 means the bettor wins if the finishing order is 5-6 or 6-5).
- Trifectas: Gamblers must hit the top three horses in exact order. A $1 trifecta box costs $6 and provides three horses in any order.
- A trifecta KEY is creative. Say you like the 5 horse and want to combine him with the 6, 7 and 8 horses in a wager. “Key” the five in the first position and list the 6-8 for the next two spots. It costs $6. The 5 must win and the 6,7 and 8 can combine to fill up the second and third-place positions in any order. You can repeat this strategy by putting the 5 second with these horses. In this case he must finish second, with the combo of other horses hitting the first and third slots. This is an excellent strategy if a bettor likes a couple of longshots and has a good feeling about which horse can finish first or second.
- Superfectas: The top four horses in exact order. Lucrative, but difficult.
Tips for betting on the 2021 Breeders’ Cup
The major contenders all have a good price on the win line this weekend. Because of large fields, gamblers get better odds than normal on most selections. The trifectas and superfectas are alluring, but it’s good to play that win line with the first bet.
You can look at projected exacta payouts before making that wager.
You can’t bet it all. Wager upon what you know, or gain an instinct for by watching previous races on replays. Some fields have 14 horses and can feel like an NFL wagering prop board. Easy to get lost in it. Decide ahead of time which races deserve your bankroll.
A 14-horse field with a favorite of perhaps 5-2 or higher will pay extremely well for a trifecta. But it will take a good amount of seed money to get the right longshots in your ticket. A couple of races like this will be worth the “stab,” but most gamblers can’t afford to do that in all of them. In the big fields, absolutely include longshots. There are no bums in the Breeders Cup.
Lead image John Minchillo AP