Breeders’ Cup 2020 Tips, Classic Picks & Longshots To Back
For bettors, one of the best things about the Breeders’ Cup is you don’t need a high batting average to be successful. Hitting just one or two exotic wagers in 14 races gives you a chance to earn a profit in thoroughbred racing’s premiere international event.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup races will be run Friday and Saturday at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, without fans due to Covid-19 precautions. But at least the races are going off as originally scheduled, unlike the scrambled Triple Crown races, which were delayed, run out of order and produced three different asterisk-ridden winners.
To the credit of the Breeders’ Cup, most of this year’s fields are full and competitive, with 37 international competitors, an impressive feat considering 2020 travel restrictions. The horse racing betting menu is vast. All it takes is a longshot or two to make your day(s).
A mix of our Breeders’ Cup picks, best bets and longshots:
2020 Breeders’ Cup Best Bet
Yaupon (7-2 morning line) in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is the most likely winner on the two-day card. The 3-year-colt trained by Steve Asmussen in unbeaten in four career races and fits the profile of a Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner.
In a race in which early speed is the key tactical advantage, Yaupon is likely to be quickest out of the gate and could be long gone if he shakes clear. The last eight BC sprints were won by horses on or close to the early lead.
Morning-line favorite Vekoma (3-1) has a more accomplished resume, but hasn’t raced in four months due to a foot injury and may need more ground to catch Yaupon.
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Who Will Win The 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic?
The $6 million Classic is the richest Breeders’ Cup race and one of the best betting races on this year’s card. A legit case can be made for at least six in the 10-horse field.
Tom’s d’Etat (6-1 morning line) is the oldest horse in the race, stumbled in his last start and isn’t one of the three horses from the powerful Bob Baffert stable. But ignore this 7-year-old at your own peril. He won five races in a row before a poor start compromised his chances in the Whitney at Saratoga last time out. He’s the pick to run them all down late.
Tiz the Law (3-1) won the Belmont Stakes and Travers before falling a length shy in the Kentucky Derby at 3-5 odds. His best race is good enough to win this.
Baffert has quality and quantity with his trio of Improbable (5-2), Maximum Security (7-2) and 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic (6-1). All are capable of winning this race, with Improbable coming off three consecutive dominant victories. By My Standards (10-1) is a longshot with a chance.
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Breeders’ Cup Favorite Most Likely to Win
Unbeaten Aunt Pearl set a Keeneland track record in winning the Jessamine Stakes last time out and offers solid value if sent off at her 3-1 morning-line odds or higher in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Aunt Pearl is fast out of the gate, has already won at the mile distance and drew a good post position in a crowded 14-horse field. She has led in every call of both of her career starts but may be tactical enough to win from just off the pace if needed.
While European horses must always be respected in turf races, the Euros continue to struggle in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, with no wins since 2013.
Breeders’ Cup Favorite Most Likely to Lose
Ivar (4-1) is up against it the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The 14-horse field may be the deepest on the card, and while Ivar is coming off a win in Keeneland’s Shadwell Turf Mile, he appears a cut below at least a handful of others, including all three of trainer Chad Brown’s entrants Digital Age, Raging Bull and defending Mile champion Uni.
Throw in a handful of talented European entrants and the Mile is a difficult puzzle to solve. At the very least, it’s a race to demand value, which Ivar is not likely to provide.
Best Breeders’ Cup Longshot
Let’s start Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup schedule with an upset by Speech (6-1) in the Filly and Mare Sprint.
Gamine and Serengeti Empress will vie for favoritism and the early lead in the 7-furlong race. Several others in the field are also need-the-lead types. If there’s a pace meltdown, Speech is the one to take advantage.
The 3-year-old filly won the Ashland in Keeneland in July and her most recent fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks was better than it looked. Speech was bumped around at the start and raced wide around the first turn. She’s worth a play at 6-1 and will likely go off at higher odds than that.
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Best Breeders’ Cup Longshot II
The European entrants appear to have the upper hand in Friday’s Juvenile Turf, but which one? At double-digit odds, why not under-the-radar Go Athletico?
Go Athletico has done all of his racing in France with two wins and three seconds in five career races. From a speed figures standpoint, each of his starts was better than the last, and he twice finished ahead of Sealiway, who is also in the 14-horse field.
Go Athletico is accustomed to running on softer French turf courses. If he can handle the firmer ground at Keeneland and a little added distance, he could be a serious contender at a big price.
Best Breeders’ Cup Matchup
Swiss Skydiver vs. Monomoy Girl in the Distaff
Swiss Skydiver (2-1) is the 3-year-old filly who beat the boys in the Preakness last month. She has Grade 1 or Grade II stakes victories at five different racetracks this year. A win in the Distaff could earn Swiss Skydiver 2020 Horse of the Year honors and end trainer Kenny McPeek’s 0-for-31 streak in Breeders’ Cup races.
Monomoy Girl (8-5) has won 10 consecutive starts including the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs. Sidelined by injury in 2019, the 5-year-old mare returned to the races this year and has been unchallenged in three starts.
Both have similar running styles, with Swiss Skydiver likely setting or close to the early pace and Monomoy Girl just behind, ready to pounce. Don’t expect much of an exacta price if they finish 1-2 in either order.
Breeders’ Cup Best of the Rest
No trainer has won the same Breeders’ Cup race four years in a row. Peter Miller has a chance to do it in the Turf Sprint with Texas Wedge, a 30-1 shot who has a better chance than his odds would suggest.
Whitmore is making his fourth consecutive appearance in the Sprint. His previous finishes were eighth in 2017, second in 2018 and third last year.
Of all Breeders’ Cup races, betting favorites fare the worst in the Dirt Mile, winning only 15 percent of the time and finishing in the money only 31 percent. Three of the last four winners paid more than $20 to win.
The late Pick 5 (Races 6-10) on Friday’s card offers a $1 million guaranteed pool. That’s a warmup for Saturday’s late Pick 5 (Races 8-12) and late Pick 4 (Races 9-12) wagers, which both offer a $2 million guarantee.
Breeders’ Cup Schedule
- 2:30 p.m.: Juvenile Turf Sprint
- 3:10 p.m.: Juvenile Turf
- 3:50 p.m.: Juvenile Fillies
- 4:30 p.m.: Juvenile Fillies Turf
- 5:10 p.m.: Juvenile
- 12:02 p.m.: Filly & Mare Sprint
- 12:39 p.m.: Turf Sprint
- 1:18 p.m.: Dirt Mile
- 1:57 p.m.: Filly & Mare Turf
- 2:36 p.m.: Sprint
- 3:15 p.m.: Mile
- 3:54 p.m.: Distaff
- 4:33 p.m.: Turf
- 5:13 p.m.: Classic
(All times Eastern)