Ask any handicapper and they’ll tell you nirvana in horse racing is actually spelled B-R-E-E-D-E-R-S-C-U-P.
It’s unquestionably the best two days of the year when it comes to shopping for value and chasing some gargantuan payoffs.
Yet, to be frank, those big paydays can be very elusive. So, come Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park, while there should be no fear in betting those 20-1 shots, there are times when betting the favorites makes all the sense in the world – especially in the sequence, or horizontal, wagers.
As much as $4 payoffs for a $2 bet are a tad vanilla, because of the larger fields in the Breeders’ Cup – and the willingness of some gamblers to go deep in some races searching for a live longshot – sometimes a very logical sequence will pay more than it would on a typical Wednesday at your favorite racetrack.
Let’s look at last year’s Breeders’ Cup as a guide.
But if you played them in the Pick 3 with Mile winner Expert Eye ($13.80) then your Pick 3 return was a much better $99.60 for a $2 bet. If you used them to start the Pick 3 and concluded with Accelerate ($7.40) in the Classic your payoff was $75.60 for $2.
Again, these prices are hardly huge but attacking these sequences does not take a thick bankroll and accounted for a rather nice profit.
Beyond that, extending the length of the sequence does magnify the reward.
The Pick 4 with those four winners paid $631.80, which is great for ticket that included three winners that paid less than $8.
And if you took those three standouts in the final three races, added a handful of horses from the Mile and started with another three or four from the Sprint, including the victorious Roy H ($7.40), the Pick 5 returned $2,254.40.
There will be rolling doubles and Pick 3s, plus Pick 4s on the Filly and Mare Sprint, Turf Sprint, Dirt Mile, and Filly and Mare Turf; the Dirt Mile, Filly and Mare Turf, Sprint, and Mile; and Mile, Distaff, Turf, and Classic.
There’s also a Pick 5 with the Sprint, Mile, Distaff, Turf, and Classic.
Given some solid favorites such as Come Dancing or Covfefe (Filly and Mare Sprint), Omaha Beach (Dirt Mile), Sistercharlie (Filly and Mare Turf), Mitole and Imperial Hint (Sprint), Midnight Bisou (Distaff) and Bricks and Mortar and Magical (Turf), there are certainly plenty of opportunities to stay in your comfort zone and assemble a ticket that will not empty your wallet and will allow you to head home with a satisfied feeling that you turned a profit on racing’s biggest day.
And you did it without hitting a $50 winner.
Yes, it can happen. Even in the midst of the nirvana for handicappers.
Even in the midst of the Breeders’ Cup.
Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 2 from 3:30-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 8, NBC from 8-9).