2021 Breeders Cup Betting Guide

What began as a seven-race card at Hollywood Park in 1984 has grown into a two-day betting extravaganza, during which $200 million is wagered on Breeders’ Cup bets each year.

The big meeting attracts runners from as far afield as Europe, the Far East, South America and the UAE, so it is no surprise that Breeders’ Cup betting has grown in significance worldwide.

It is particularly popular in Britain and Ireland, which are always well represented, and bookmakers can be expected to roll out a range of special offers as they compete for your business during the biggest global betting event in horseracing.

Breeders’ Cup Betting Offers Today

All of the major bookmakers offer bonuses to customers opening new online accounts. These range from £20 up to £100 but are subject to different conditions. Check bookmakers’ websites for their sign-up offers.

As well as bonuses for signing up, the bookies also offer a range of free bets and special offers on Breeders’ Cup betting. Last year these included extra places for each-way bets (first four instead of first three), price boosts on selected horses and money back as a free bet if your horse finished second. Be sure to hunt around on the day for these offers, which are widely promoted on the bookmakers’ websites.

Most firms also offer ‘best odds guaranteed’ on online Breeders’ Cup bets placed on the day of the race. This concession ensures that if your selection starts at a bigger price than when you placed your bet, you are paid out at the larger odds. If the price shrinks, you are paid at the larger price available at the time you placed your bet.

Breeders Cup Bets’ Guide – Understanding the Facts and Figures


One of the most important factors to consider when placing your Breeders’ Cup bets is whether your horse will perform on the ground at the Breeders’ Cup. European horses running in the Classic for the first time are unlikely to have run on dirt before. But most visitors run on turf, making it easy to check on their past results and see if they have performed well on the sort of ground they will encounter at Del Mar. 

And keep an eye on the weather. A prolonged dry spell, or any late rain, can change the ground – and therefore the complexion of a race – dramatically.

The draw and track

With its tight turns and unusually short run-in, a low draw is often considered favourable at Del Mar. It can be hard to come from far back, so many jockeys prefer to be up with the pace on the inside. The results from the 2017 Breeders’ Cup do support this view – but not overwhelmingly, with slightly more winners coming from the lower half of the draw. What is undeniable, however, is that Del Mar is a track that does not suit some horses, so any decent form at the course is worth marking up.


Certain trainers excel in particular races – and when they do, it is always worth checking their runners out. Bob Baffert has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic more often than any other trainer, with four wins since 2014. What’s more, all of his winners were three-year-olds and two had won the Kentucky Derby. That gives a strong pointer to Baffert’s 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in the big race.


Some punters will simply follow their favourite jockey, particularly at the Breeders’ Cup where they may not be familiar with all the local riders. And if that’s your approach to Breeders’ Cup betting, then Frankie Dettori is definitely your man. He has ridden 14 winners at 11 different Breeders’ Cups, notching doubles in 2006, 2008 and 2018.

Another visiting rider to follow is Ryan Moore, who has amassed nine winners since 2008 and doubled up in 2013 and 2015.

Of the domestic riders, the pair to watch are Mike Smith and John Velazquez, the only two active jockeys to have ridden more Breeders’ Cup winners than Dettori.

Breeders’ Cup 2021 Favourites

Punters who like to back favourites would have enjoyed the 1997 Breeders’ Cup. At that time, the meeting consisted of only seven races – and five of them were won by market leaders.

It is rarely that easy, however. 

In each of the last two Breeders’ Cups, four of the 14 races went the way of favourites, so selectivity is key when backing those at the top of the betting. 

One of the most solid favourites at Breeders’ Cup 2021 is Gamine, the only odds-on shot among the 14 market-toppers. She won the Filly & Mare Sprint by a wide margin last year and is unbeaten in four starts since. She looks the most obvious winner this year.

Palace Pier is the strongest favourite among the European contingent. The outstanding miler is unbeaten in four this season, three at Group 1 level, and will have Breeders’ Cup veteran Frankie Dettori doing the steering.

Others to consider at the head of the market include Jackie’s Warrior, who has proven himself the best dirt sprinter around; Life Is Good, who bids to confirm his star potential in the Mile; and Echo Zulu, who may well outclass her rivals in the Juvenile Fillies.

Race Favourite Price

Classic Knicks Go 7-2

Turf Tarnawa 4-1

Mile Palace Pier 3-1

Filly & Mare Turf War Like Goddess 4-1

Distaff Letruska 2-1

Sprint Jackie’s Warrior 7-4

Filly & Mare Sprint Gamine 4-5

Dirt Mile Life Is Good 5-2

Turf Sprint Golden Pal 7-2 

Juvenile Corniche 4-1

Juvenile Fillies Turf Wild Beauty 6-1

Juvenile Fillies Echo Zulu 4-1

Juvenile Turf Albahr 5-1

Juvenile Turf Sprint Perfect Power 9-2

Where to Bet on The Breeders’ Cup?

The main bookies in Britain and Ireland accept bets in their high-street shops or online. For online Breeders’ Cup bets you will need to open an account.

Another online option is on the Betfair Exchange, a betting marketplace in which you place a bet at a price set by a fellow punter. You can also set a price for others backer to bet at.

Tote betting is the third option open to punters. The Tote operates pool betting in the UK and accepts bets online. It is commonly used for bets unique to the Tote, such as the Placepot and Jackpot.

How to Bet On The Breeders’ Cup?

Ante-post markets on all the Breeders’ Cup races will remain open until the final line-ups are known after the concluding entry stage. If you want to have an ante-post bet, you should compare the prices available with the various bookmakers via an odds-comparison website such as oddschecker.com. Once you have established where to find the best price for your selection, you can open an account with the bookmaker in question and place your Breeders’ Cup bets.

Types of Bets

Win Bet

A single bet on a horse to finish first.

Each-way Bet

A two-fold bet, one on your selection to finish first and the other on your horse to be placed.


A bet with multiple selections where any winnings roll on to the next bet. All bets in an accumulator must win to secure a payout.


An accumulator with two selections.


An accumulator with three selections.


A bet that attempts to predict both the winner and runner-up in a specific order.

Reverse Forecast or Dual Forecast

A bet that attempts to predict the first two horses home in either order.


A bet that attempts to predict the first three home in a specific order.

Combination Tricast

A bet that attempts to predict the first three home in any order.


A Tote bet that requires finding the winner of six nominated races on the same card.


A Tote bet that requires having a horse placed in six nominated races on the same card.

Without the favourite

A market that offers prices on the remainder of the field to finish second to the favourite. Popular in races where there is a short-priced market leader.