Being asked “what was the best Breeders’ Cup Classic bet” is a bit like being asked what was the best baseball home run ever – something that will be different depending on what team you like, what era you hold most dear, etc.
For most players, the answer is very personal to them – most likely their best winning bet. If your only good memory of playing the Classic was a winning ticket on American Pharoah at 7-10 odds, it’s totally fair for that to be your answer.
It’s not easy, therefore, to be objective. But there’s a few ways to try.
You could argue that the best bet in Classic history was a win bet on Arcangues in 1993. No horse has won a Breeders’ Cup race at longer odds than his 133-1 price. Punters who got that right did better than anyone who placed a win bet in the race.
However, this was a horse that had never run on dirt, with a pedigree that screamed “turf”, and with form below the best in Europe. Detecting his previously dormant dirt talent was hardly easy.
My favorite way to judge “best bet” is to look at one that logically had a good chance of success, and that you knew had a reasonable prospect of returning a better dividend than it should have been worth.
Given there was a good chance of a horse at decent odds filling that place, a field exacta anchoring Cigar to win, which cost $20 at the minimum $2 wager, was a wise bet. The 51-1 outsider L’Carriere finished second, and the exacta paid $85.50.