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How the Early Breeders' Cup Betting Markets are Shaping Up

The world-famous Breeders' Cup Championships is traditionally held at different race tracks every year, with Santa Anita hosting a record nine. That tally will be matched by Churchill Downs in 2018, with the curtain going up on the racing extravaganza at the Kentucky course in November.

Launched in 1984, the prize money has risen considerably since with up to $6 million on the line for the winners of the festival’s biggest race. Dirt Mile, Filly and Mare Sprint, Sprint, Turf Sprint, Mile and Classic are just some of the races that’ll attract a worldwide audience, with staggering sums of money wagered on the outcome of each leg.

It’s a great time to be a lover of the sport of gentlemen but dedicated followers with a keen eye on the build-up can get their opinions in early in the hope of securing a better price. Major bookmakers are offering ante-post odds on the week’s best with plenty of bonuses and special offers to come as we approach the off.

Below you’ll find some of the early race favourites and who traders think you should keep onside in the coming months…..

Source: My Racing Tips via Twitter


This nine furlongs dirt race is open to fillies and mares aged three years old and above. Forever Unbridled landed the prize last year under the ride of jockey John Velazquez and the market seems certain on who the 2018 champion will be with Unique Bella marked as short-price favourite with all major betting firms.

The four-year-old filly is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer who has never tasted success in this race but looks to have a fantastic opportunity this time out. Unique Bella started the year with an impressive victory around Santa Anita back in February when claiming the Santa Maria Stakes, a one-mile contest on dirt. He built on that with success at the same track in June, beating a talented field with plenty to spare.

He was odds-on favourite that day showing the faith traders have in him and that’s not about to stop when stepping up in class. A form runner he’s sure to attract a fair share of shrewd money on approach.

Filly and Mare Turf

Rhododendron - the pride of Aidan O’Brien’s pack – is penned in to fly the Irish flag at the Breeders Cup meeting and odds-makers are scrambling over each other to keep this stunning filly close. Punters will find her at the head of the betting list with every recognisable firm worth their salt and 6.00 seems to be the general feeling at the time of writing.

The four-year-old bay is a product of the great Galileo line and has already proven her worth by winning the group one Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, holding off runner-up Lightning Spear by a short-head in what was a tense finish. That positive boosted winning efforts in the Prix De L’opera Longines at Chantilly and Fillies Mile around Newmarket. A gutsy beast who seems to save her best for the big occasion. The Irish money will come down in support, that’s for sure.

Turf Sprint

Followers of international horse racing will know this American-bred filly from securing victory on both sides of the Atlantic. The Wesley Ward sharpened four-year-old appeared in the winner’s enclosure at Ascot in the Queen Mary Stakes over 5f a couple of years ago and paid a visit to England to raid the King’s Stand Stakes last summer with John Velazquez holding off nearest finisher Profitable and James Doyle by three lengths.

The team haven’t had things as fair of late however and finished second at Keeneland earlier this year despite lining up as a 1.36 favourite, priced like losing wasn’t an option. She had to eat humble pie that day, beaten by Triple Chelsea and that may just have left a bad taste in the mouths of backers. They couldn’t be blamed for being a bit wary about the current odds.


Justify will be the winner of this year’s renewal if traders are to be believed and there’s no better than 3.00 chalked up on the betting board going into what promises to be an interesting summer. Many firms are much shorter.

Owned by the China Horse Club this 3yo won the group one Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in May of 2018 and that followed a jaw-dropping, career-best Kentucky Derby the same month, beating Good Magic. Backers who like to side with recent form need look no further than Bob Baffert’s show-stopper.

Source: Bob Baffert (fan page) via Twitter

Dirt Mile

The ante-post Dirt Mile betting is a rather more open affair with the money men struggling to nail down a jolly. The best they can do at present is Bee Jersey but even then it’s far from convincing with prices ranging from 6.00 to 8.00. Steven Asmussen’s colt is pushed by Audible who can be backed at anything between 7.00 and 11.00, with a range of bonus bets available to punters via Oddschecker.

Bee Jersey completed a hat-trick when winning at Belmont Park in the summer but Audible has a CV of his own that’s worth shouting about. The bay won four on the bounce including the Florida Derby over 1m 1f in March at Gulfstream. When two evenly matched horses bring confidence to track it may just be worth taking a punt on the bigger price and enjoying the race.


Imperial Hint is the one to side with here according to the current betting charts and those looking to duck in early to secure the ante-post value will find 5.00 as a market best price. Tight, but it’s difficult to deny him the jolly tag as he looks to be in the form of his career.

2017 finished with a runner-up spot behind Roy H in the Breeders Cup Sprint at Del Mar in November but he hit the ground running in 2018, winning at Tampa Bay over the snappy six furlongs trip and then again at Belmont Park in the True North Stakes over the same trip. He was a 2.63 fav that day and followers will be hoping the market has him spot on again.