How to bet the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Distaff

October 29th, 2019

Saturday, November 2 is going to be a fantastic day for horse racing fans and bettors alike.

On a huge afternoon at Santa Anita Park, the best fillies and mares in North America will take the spotlight in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), while colts and geldings (plus one brave mare) will square off in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Which horses will bolster their championship credentials in these season-defining tests of speed and stamina? And if you want to have a rooting interest in the action, which horses should you favor in your wagers?

If these questions are on the tip of your tongue, ponder no longer! BetAmerica has you covered with a pair of $50 spot plays for the championship races:

Race 10: Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1)

#4 Midnight Bisou has been spectacular this year, compiling a perfect seven-for-seven record. All of her victories have come against graded stakes company, and she’s demonstrated the versatility to win from pressing, tracking, or deep-closing positions.

But Midnight Bisou has also been on the go since January and really hasn’t taken a meaningful break at any point since her debut in October 2017. In terms of Brisnet speed figures, she doesn’t hold much of an edge over her Distaff rivals, and she had to work a bit harder than expected to put away #6 Wow Cat in the September 28 Beldame Stakes (G2).
So while Midnight Bisou is a deserving favorite, I’m not sure she offers any value at 6-5 on the morning line. Instead of relying on her to win at a short price, I’ll key her in the exacta with #3 Street Band and #5 Dunbar Road. Three-year-old fillies have a strong record in the Distaff (at least one has cracked the exacta every year since 2010), and these two talented sophomores appear to be the best of their age group.

The late-running Street Band capitalized on a fast pace to score a decisive victory in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx, a key prep for the Distaff in recent years, while Dunbar Road defeated Street Band in the historic Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga before tackling older mares in the Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
In the Spinster, Dunbar Road endured a tricky inside trip on a day when the rail seemed dead. Despite this obstacle, Dunbar Road fought on to finish third, less than a length behind runner-up and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) entrant Elate. With a clean trip over a fair track on Saturday, Dunbar Road could show significant improvement.
  • $16 exacta: 4 with 3,5 ($32)
  • $9 exacta: 3,5 with 4 ($18)

Race 12: Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

#8 McKinzie is the 3-1 morning line favorite, but I’m leaning against this son of Street Sense. Yes, he was an impressive winner of the Whitney Stakes (G1) during the summer, but he’s just two-for-six overall this year and has lost a handful of races he was widely expected to win. Part of me wonders if 1 ¼ miles could be pushing the stamina limitations of this obviously talented but occasionally frustrating colt.

Instead, the horse I want to play is #7 Higher Power. A bad stumble at the start of the September 28 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) hurt the chances of this usually speedy colt, and he was further compromised by trying to rally into slow fractions over a speed-favoring track. Higher Power had every excuse to throw in the towel, but instead he finished a decent third behind front-running longshot #9 Mongolian Groom and McKinzie.
Two starts back, Higher Power employed pace-pressing tactics to score a dominant victory in the 1 ¼-mile Pacific Classic (G1), leaving Mongolian Groom 5 ½ lengths behind in third place. The 110 Brisnet speed figure he posted ranks as the fastest earned by any Classic contender save McKinzie, who counts a 112 as his career-best.
As a son of Medaglia d’Oro out of a Seattle Slew mare, Higher Power is bred to thrive running 1 ¼ miles and should relish the return to this distance for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. With an alert start, he can secure a perfect trip stalking #4 War of Will through the early stages of the race. When the real running begins on the far turn, I expect Higher Power’s stamina to win the day.

Let’s bet Higher Power to win and key him in the exacta with #10 Vino Rosso and #11 Code of Honor, the top two finishers in the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1):
  • $20 to win on #7 Higher Power
  • $5 exacta: 7 with 10,11 ($10)
  • $10 exacta: 10,11 with 7 ($20)
Good luck!