Live Longshots and Value Bets for the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Races

Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nakatomi Turf Sprint Roses for Debra Turf Shahryar Mile Gina Romantica Filly and Mare Sprint Three Witches Juvenile Stay Hot Austere Scalable Amidst Waves betting longshots value plays handicapping Santa Anita
Japan-based Shahryar, shown during morning workouts at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 27, carries 15-1 morning-line odds in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and is one of Mike Curry’s longshot plays in this year’s event. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships offers a cornucopia of betting opportunities to the horse racing fan, and a huge part of the allure of the two-day event Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park is trying to uncover a longshot.

Seeing something in a racehorse that others didn’t is a nice boost to the ego and, hopefully, a nice boost to the wallet. At the Breeders’ Cup, you find huge prices on talented horses that for most of the other 12 months of the year are among the betting favorites in major stakes races.

It’s not uncommon for a $2 wager in the Breeders’ Cup to turn into a payout in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. What other sport offers that type of opportunity to its bettors to bet a little and win a potentially life-changing score?

With that in mind, I’ve landed on a selection of live longshots and value bets to consider Breeders’ Cup weekend in hopes of cashing some big tickets. Here are some of my favorite horses entering the weekend along with some insight into how I plan to bet those races.

Friday, Nov. 3

Race 5, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (VALUE BET), 5 p.m. ET

Amidst Waves (Eclipse Sportswire)

#9 Amidst Waves (8-1): Saw her chances compromised a bit late due to traffic in a runner-up finish against males in the Indian Summer Stakes. Plenty of pace should help her chances, as she’s a bit quicker than several other off-the-pace types in this race as one of few stalkers entered. Hoping the presence of a deep group of Europeans plus a couple of highly regarded U.S. turf sprinters drives up her price. My plan is to bet her to win and use her as a key horse in exactas along with another longshot in #5 Givemethebeatboys (15-1).

Race 6, $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (LIVE LONGSHOT), 5:40 p.m. ET

#3 Scalable (20-1): Still a maiden, you could do a lot worse at 20-1 than the Grade 2 Chandelier Stakes runner-up from the barn of Todd Pletcher, plus elite jockey Jose Ortiz. She finished well in the Chandelier and appears to be on a promising trajectory. I’ll bet her in an exacta with expected heavy favorite #7 Tamara.

Race 7, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (VALUE BET), 6:20 p.m. ET

Austere (Coady Photography)

#10 Austere (12-1): I was surprised to see that European runners have only won three of the previous 15 editions of this race. In fact, Meditate’s win for trainer Aidan O’Brien last year at Keeneland snapped a string of eight straight wins for U.S. runners. That solidified my selection here of Austere, who is 2-for-2 and figures to get a terrific stalking trip just in behind probable pacesetter #13 Dreamfyre. I love the way she finished at Kentucky Downs in winning the $487,500 Global Tote Juvenile Fillies Stakes by three lengths. I’ll bet her to win and box her with #6 Porta Fortuna (5-1), #7 Gala Brand (12-1), and #12 Hard to Justify (6-1) in exactas and trifectas.

Race 9, $1 million Prevagen Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (LIVE LONGSHOT), 7:40 p.m. ET

#6 Stay Hot (20-1): He took a big step forward when switching from dirt to turf while also stretching out from a sprint to this one-mile distance for red-hot trainer Peter Eurton. He's bred to be a turf horse and his final quarter-mile in :23.34 in that maiden win serves as strong evidence of that. This is a major class test coming out of a maiden race, but at 20-1 I’m willing to take the risk. I’ll make a big win bet the main focus and maybe pair him with trainer Aidan O’Brien’s #2 River Tiber (3-1) and #8 Unquestionable (4-1) in an exacta box. O’Brien has won five of the previous 16 editions of this race.

Saturday, Nov. 4

Race 5, PNC Bank Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (LIVE LONGSHOT), 3:50 p.m. ET

Three Witches (Eclipse Sportswire)

#8 Three Witches (30-1): She has really come to hand late and won the Grade 3 Princess Rooney Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park from off the pace last time out in her stakes debut. There should be sufficient speed to set up her closing kick. She won last two starts at this tricky seven-furlong distance and faces a major class test here. I expect her to run well at a big price. A win bet is my standard play but I might also box her with probable pacesetter #7 Society in an exacta.

Race 6, $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (VALUE BET), 4:30 p.m. ET

Gina Romantica (Eclipse Sportswire)

#2 Gina Romantica (12-1): Trainer Chad Brown used the First Lady Stakes path to a win in the Breeders' Cup Mile with Uni in 2019. While I have tremendous respect for the international contingent in this race, Gina Romantica has a chance to follow in Uni's hoofsteps after winning the First Lady Stakes Presented by UK HealthCare with an explosive final quarter-mile in :22.75. I think she should get a terrific trip from an inside post tucked in just behind #6 Mawj and #9 Astromomer and get a jump on the closers. Mawj will be game on the front end, but the Mile historically has been tough on speed horses, so I’ll bet Gina Romantica to win and box her with #6 Mawj, Japanese invader #10 Songline, and locally-based longshot #12 Exaulted in exactas and trifectas.

Race 8, Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (LIVE LONGSHOT), 5:50 p.m. ET

#1 Shahryar (15-1): His last two races don't look good on paper, hence the 15-1 odds, but he has run some huge races on firm turf against elite competition, winning the 2022 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and running second last fall in the Japan Cup, beaten by less than a length. When he's right, he's very good and he's well rested for this race. I’ll take a shot on him to win at a big price and key him in some exactas and trifectas as well.

Race 10, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (VALUE BET), 7:25 p.m. ET

Roses for Debra (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

#9 Roses for Debra (12-1): The Breeders’ Cup is all about capitalizing on opportunity and my best guess is you'll never get a price like this again on Roses for Debra, who had won four straight and seven of nine overall before finishing third on yielding ground in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Stakes at Parx Racing. There is no rain in the forecast for California, so we should see her at her best on firm ground. She is worthy of a nice win bet and I’ll key her in multi-race bets as well.

Race 11, $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (LIVE LONGSHOT), 8 p.m. ET

Nakatomi (Eclipse Sportswire)

#1 Nakatomi (15-1): There is quite a bit of speed in here and the Sprint historically has been a good spot to hunt longshots, especially at Santa Anita Park. This is not an elite field for the Sprint compared to most other years so I'll take a shot on a 4-year-old gelding who seems to be peaking at the right time. He'll need to run the race of his life, but he could really spice up the exotics at a price. I’ll try him in exactas and trifectas with #2 Dr. Schivel, #6 The Chosen Vron, and #7 Speed Boat Beach.

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