Breeders’ Cup is huge draw for race books

Oct 23, 2001 9:39 AM

The 18th running of the Breeders’ Cup, horse racing’s world championship, promises to keep Las Vegas race books hopping this Saturday.

“We’re going to be jam-packed,” said Jimmy Croley, race and sports manager at Bellagio. “We’re expecting a big day ”” the Super Bowl if you will ”” of horse racing.”

Croley said Bellagio is “elbow-to-elbow” for premier racing events such as the Breeders’ Cup because of the world-class facilities for horse players.

“To start with, we have 102 individual stations with their own TV monitors,” he said. “Plus, when the main race takes off, everything is shifted to the huge overhead screen ”” the biggest one in town.”

Like most race books in town, the Bellagio will offer the full complement of on-track bets. They include win, place and show betting on all races, exacta and trifecta betting on all races, plus select Daily Double and Pick Three betting.

There will also be a national Breeders’ Cup Pick 6, featuring a minimum $3 million pool and a $2 base wager, conducted on the last six Breeders’ Cup races.

The races will be televised by NBC beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m., Pacific time.

Across the street, Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas will also be filled to the rafters.

“It’s the biggest day in horse racing, and we’ll be up for it,” said John Avello, race and sports director at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas resorts. “Even though there will be plenty of sports action on Saturday, both our race books will be devoted to horse racing only and we expect every seat to be filled.”

Avello said the dual properties on the Strip will also host a big party in the Paris Champagne Room. Although all general admission tickets are sold out, Avello said space is still available for casino customers.

Bally’s and Paris will also offer a variety of special prop bets, such as head to head match-ups between select horses. “Offering prop bets on the Breeders’ Cup has been a tradition here, one we started in 1990,” Avello said.

Another great tradition on the Strip is watching and betting the Breeders’ Cup at the Imperial Palace. Like Bally’s and Paris, the IP will stage a big bash (for casino customers) in its Legends showroom, as well as a variety of activities in its oversized race book. Part of the action will include raffling off Breeders’ Cup merchandise and other prizes, with players’ losing betting stubs serving as the raffle tickets.

Downtown won’t be left out of the Breeders’ Cup frenzy as Binion’s Horseshoe will host a big Breeders’ Cup Party in “Benny’s Bull Pen.” Doors open at 8 a.m. and the festivities include free snacks, bargain food specials, prize drawings and a free Breeders’ Cup memorial glass with each $15 wager. Throughout the day, 33 prizes will be given away, including his and hers Breeders Cup logo watches.

The locals casinos will once again be a hotbed of Breeders’ Cup activity. The Coast Resorts are going all-out with big parties planned in The Orleans’ Mardi Gras Ballroom, Gold Coast Showroom and Suncoast Grand Ballroom.

Party-goers will be treated to free refreshments, big screen TVs, live betting windows and a free Breeders’ Cup T-shirt with every $20 wager.

Not to be outdone, the Barbary Coast will give away logo T-shirts with every Breeders’ Cup wager. Plus their hot dogs are legendary among race book junkies!

All the Station properties are geared up for a huge Breeders’ Cup weekend as well. “The Breeders’ Cup is a very big day, rivaling the Kentucky Derby,” said Fred Crespi, race and sports director at Sunset Station. “But unlike the Derby, you get eight big races ”” more bang for your betting buck!”

Station casinos around town will feature refreshments and free merchandise with minimum bets in their race and sports books. At Texas, Boulder and Fiesta, players will receive Breeders’ Cup T-shirts and cups.

At Palace and Santa Fe Stations, players will receive T-shirts; there’s a handicapping seminar at Santa Fe; and at Sunset Station, players will receive Beanie Baby horses, appropriately enough.