By Ron Fortune
Horse racing’s version of the "Super Bowl," the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, will be staged on Saturday at Lone Star Park in Prairie, Texas.
A total of eight championship races will be run beginning at 1 p.m. (Eastern time). The races will be broadcast live by NBC-TV.
In addition to watching thoroughbred racing’s best horses compete, the Breeders’ Cup will feature a wide variety of betting opportunities for race fans.
New this year for bettors are the three Pick 4 wagers (pick the winner of four straight races). The first will be on the first four Breeders’ Cup races — the Distaff, Juvenile Fillies, Mile and Sprint races. The second will be on the next four races — the Filly & Mare Turf, Juvenile, Turf and Classic. A final Pick 4 will be offered on the Classic, Lone Star Juvenile, Honeysuckle Rose Stakes and Texas Turf Stakes.
Each Breeders Cup race can accommodate a maximum of 14 horses and wagering interests (the fields will be drawn on Thursday, Oct. 28). Besides win, place and show betting, there will be exacta (the first two horses) and trifecta (the first three horses across the finish line) wagering on all 12 races; and rolling Pick 3 wagers beginning with the first race (a "rolling" Pick 3 begins with each new race).
There will also be four Daily Doubles, Superfecta (pick the first four horses) wagering on all eight BC races, and the very popular Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick Pick 6 with a $3 million minimum guaranteed pool.
Last year, one bettor, Graham Stone, cashed a winning Pick Six ticket worth more than $2.7 million. That payoff almost matched the $3.1 million Ultra Pick 6 payoff in 1999.
"Championship day has become the best betting day in all of sports," said Ken Kirchner, National Thoroughbred Racing Association senior vice president. "With millions of dollars in almost every pool, fans have the opportunity to make a big score in each Breeders’ Cup race."
Because there are so many championship-quality horses entered into every event, handicapping the fields has never been a romp in the park.
Historically, Breeders’ Cup pari-mutuel payoffs have averaged $22 for win bets, $230 for exactas, $2,600 for trifectas and $2,100 for Pick 3s.
This year, the Breeders’ Cup takes a page from Nevada bookmakers’ book by offering head-to-head match-ups between specific horses. Those match-ups won’t be announced until Thursday.