Examining Value in Multi-Race Breeders’ Cup Bets

Eclipse Sportswire

Picking winners at the Breeders’ Cup is usually a herculean task. As proof, consider that in the 13 Breeders’ Cup races last year there was only one winning favorite.

Yep, one, which paid a generous $9.60 for a $2 win bet.

Yet that doesn’t mean it was one unfathomable longshot after another. There were only three winners that paid more than $25 (Champagne Room, $69.20, Tourist, $26.80, and Tamarkuz, $25.80), and six of them paid $11 or less.

Looking over those numbers, it shows that sequence or horizontal multi-race wagers could be profitable, but how far should stretch your luck?

That’s the key question.

While a Pick 6 will surely unlock the door to riches, handicappers with small bankrolls would be wise to focus on doubles, Pick 3s, and Pick 4s, taking advantage of the smaller minimum bet on each on them.

With the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, the minimum wager on daily doubles will be $2, with $1 for Pick 3s and 50 cents for Pick 4s.

Looking back at last year’s Breeders’ Cup, which was held at Santa Anita Park with the same minimums, let’s take a look at what would be reasonable expectations for payoffs on three wagers.

In the doubles, there were 11 of them involving only Breeders’ Cup races, ranging from $713.60 (which was kicked off by $69.20 winner Champagne Room) to $60.20 (with $11 and $9.60 winners).

Even the lone winning favorite, Obviously ($9.60), was linked in a $63 double with a $9.80 winner and $65 double with an $11 winner.

Of those doubles, there were six paying $83.40 or less, one at $100 and then four for $209 or more – all for $2 bets.

As for the $1 Pick 3, there were nine of them and they had a high of $1,602.90 (off $69.20, $18 and $9.80 winners) and a low of $168.90 (off $9.80, $9.60 and $11 winners).

Five of them paid $369.40 or less for $1, and the other four paid $455 or more.

As challenging as a Pick 4 would be, with the 50-cent minimum bet, it allows a player with a smaller bankroll to take a reasonable stab at a payoff of $1,000 or more.

For instance, using three horses in each of the four races a 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 ticket would only cost $41.50 and the reward for being correct would be quite ritzy as evidenced by three Pick 4 payoffs last year of $2,308.35, $7,969.85 and $1,003.25.

Finally, here’s a quick way to look at the value in each wager. If you play three horses in each leg of a double, it would be an $18 bet and between $60 and $83 is a target payoff. Play a Pick 3 with three horses in each leg and it will cost $27 for a range of $168 to $369 and with the Pick 4 it’s $41.50 for $1,003 to $2,308.

Now all you have to do is pick two, three, or four winners.

Yeah, that’s all.

Happy handicapping.

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