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Breeders' Cup picks: The best two betting days of the year

By Dave Tuley  ( senior reporter) 

November 2, 2017 02:37 PM

LAS VEGAS – Welcome to Breeders’ Cup Weekend . . . or what I believe are the two best betting days of the year.

All year long when focusing more of our attention on sports betting, we talk all the time about looking for value and making educated wagers. Well, that’s never illustrated better than on Breeders’ Cup Weekend – held this year for the first time at Del Mar Race Track on Friday and Saturday –  when the best horses in the world get together for two days of championship racing.

Screen_Shot_2017-11-02_at_1.12.52_PMEven with top-quality horses filling every field, the public still tends to over-bet the favorites and let great horses go off at prices they never have the rest of the year. And unlike your regular run-of-the-mill cards held all year long, you don’t have to worry that you’re betting on a glue-factory candidate with three legs. Also, if you are betting chalk, you don’t have to worry that the connections are really just prepping their horse for an upcoming race – this is that upcoming race!

I’ve had a lot of success over the years with my top picks in Daily Racing Form, on Vegas radio stations over the years, on my website and at ESPN Insider (heck, just the other day I had someone thank me for giving him Volponi in 2002). The accompanying chart is from 199 BC races since 199 in which I’ve shown a return on investment (ROI) of $3.02 for every $2 wagered ($398 in wagers with payoffs totaling $601.60).

But, full disclosure here, I’ve blanked the last two years; however, my last winner was in 2015 when I had Take Charge Brandi as my top pick in the Juvenile Filles as she went wire-to-wire and paid $125.40 for a $2 win bet. Now, if you’re good at math, you know that makes up for a lot of losing tickets, nearly five years’ worth of BC races, so we’re still playing with house money. Besides, even if I don’t have a winner, every time another longshot wins a race, it validates that I’m betting these races the right way because that’s where the value is.

Having said all that, I understand my way of betting isn’t for everyone, so I’m going to break down each BC race starting with the top contenders in each race. I’ll give my thoughts on who the best horse is among those top contenders. But while I’m doing that to help chalk-eating players at least make good value bets, I have an ulterior motive as I’m trying to figure out who I’m going to include with my longshots in vertical wagers (exactas, trifectas, superfectas in that given race) or horizontal wagers (multi-race bets like doubles, pick 3s, pick 4s, pick 6s).

VSiN's experts pick every Breeders' Cup race

So this betting guide is meant to give some input into what horses you’re including (or throwing out) in building your own tickets. Personally, I’m going to mostly bet my top picks to win (also to place if they go off at least 10-1) and box my 1-2-3-Longshot picks in exacta and trifecta boxes. As for my longshot pick, I’ll be more likely to also bet those to win (especially if they go off higher than the odds stated here) rather than my lower-priced No. 2 or No. 3 picks, and also looking to include a horse to increase those exotic payoffs. There’s been several years where I didn’t have a single winner on top but was able to “connect-the-dots” and save my day(s) by hitting an exotic or two.

So let’s get started with Friday’s four-race BC card, which are races 6 through 9 at Del Mar:

BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (Del Mar Race #6)

Estimated post time: 5:25 p.m. ET/2:25 p.m. PT

Top contenders: When looking at races on the turf, we usually start with the European invaders, but U.S. bred-and-raised Rushing Fall is the 7-2 morning-line favorite and then we have the top invaders in Happily (9-2), September (6-1) and Capla Temptress (6-1). Happily is the most-likely winner and biggest threat to my longshot plays with three Group wins in Ireland and France though I like Capla Temptress’ resume nearly as much.

My value pick and other horses to include: 

#8 Significant Form (8-1): This filly is in Chad Brown’s barn along with Rushing Fall, and I’m not so sure we’re not getting the better filly at the better price. Like Rushing Fall, she’s 2-for-2 on the track though she was DQ’d from her first win, even though she was much the best, and then vindicated herself with a win in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont. Compare her times at 1 1/16 miles to others in the field and you’ll see she fits. 

#2 Happily (9-2): She beat the boys in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere when stretching out to this distance for the first time (she had previously just run 7 furlongs like a lot of these young fillies) and I would have made her the favorite.

#7 Capla Temptress (6-1): She won her last races at Woodbine up in Canada, but she’s really a European import and should be closing from the clouds. 

Longshot: #13 Juliet Capulet (12-1): I almost used this as my top value play (and will regret it if she wins, though cashing some tickets could ease my pain). Anyway, she’s not as highly regarded as some of the other Europeans, but she won her first Group race in the Shadwell Rockfel at Newmarket on Sept. 29 to earn back her €235,000 (Euros) purchase price with Frankie Dettori in the saddle and now ships over for this.

BC Dirt Mile (Del Mar Race #7)

Estimated post time: 6:05 p.m. ET/3:05 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Mor Spirit is the 3-1 morning-line favorite off three wins this past spring with each being better than the last – but if you want to back him you have to trust Bob Baffert with the nearly five-month layoff. Accelerate (7-2) and Sharp Azteca (9-2) are the other two top contenders and it’s hard to separate these for use in vertical and horizontal wagers.

My value pick and other horses to include: 

#9 Battle of Midway (10-1): He’s had an interesting 3-year-old year. He was an unsung third in the Kentucky Derby and was given some time off before returning with a win in the Grade 3 Affirmed at Santa Anita. He was a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, but then won over this Del Mar track before running second in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. I believe his odds should be lower and we’re getting a value on the best colt with an upsetter’s chance – and I love having a win over the track.

#8 Accelerate (7-2): Speaking of “horses for courses,” Accelerate is 3-for-4 at Del Mar with the only loss in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic last time out. In addition to all that, I like the cut-back in distance.

#6 Mor Spirit (3-1): I wish I could throw him out with the 5-month layoff, but he’s already won twice in his career after layoffs of more than a month, so Baffert should have him ready as he’s always leading his stable up to the Breeders’ Cup.

Longshot: #4 Gato Del Oro (30-1): He’s finished right behind my top pick, Battle of Midway, in each of his last two races, which isn’t too uncommon if horses are running on the same circuit, but one was at Del Mar and the other was in the Oklahoma Derby. Anyway, there are some other front-runners in this field, but he might prove to be the speed of the speed and have a chance to steal this at huge odds. Shortening up to a mile could also help.

BC Juvenile Turf (Del Mar Race #8)

Estimated post time: 6:50 p.m. ET/3:50 p.m. PT

Top contenders: This is a huge 16-horse field with no superstar favorite as Masar is the top choice at the lukewarm price of 9-2. James Garfield (6-1) and Beckford (8-1) are the other highly regarded invaders along with another five horses – yes, five more for a total of six – listed at 8-1, so this race is obviously seen as very wide-open. It’s hard to separate all those relatively evenly matched horses, but I’ll try after first looking at my upset pick . . . 

My value pick and other horses to include: 

#14 Rajasinghe (30-1): Shhh! Don’t spread word on this too much, but this is the biggest longshot I like on Friday’s card. He had two wins, including the Group 2 Coventry at the Royal Ascot meet, and a third in his first three career races before finishing 11th of 12 in the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park. His trainer has since said Rajasinghe didn’t take to the soft turf that day and is drawing a line through the race (aka “tossing it out”). Obviously, his connections weren’t concerned with that no-show as they still shipped him over to take on this field. He might not win, but I’m sure he’ll outrun his odds.

#12 Hemp Hemp Hurray (8-1): Oftentimes, a horse will disappoint as a favorite and the betting public goes against them the next time, and then they return to form and disappoint everyone again LOL! That could be the case here as Hemp Hemp Hurray was going for a 3-for-3 start to his career last time out in the Grade 2 Summer at Woodbine, but lost by a neck as the 8-5 favorite. If he had won, I’m guessing he might be the favorite here, so the way I see it we’re getting value at 8-1.

#6 Masar (9-2): The morning-line favorite has alternated first- and third-place finishes in his short four-race career; he’s “due” for a win but I’ll pick him third as I just want to make sure I don’t leave him out of my tris and supers.

Longshot: #15 Tap Daddy (15-1): As if Rajasinghe isn’t a big enough longshot, I want to share this one in case my top pick doesn’t fire. Tap Daddy is another horse that failed as the chalk in his last race in the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland, but he should fit here if he returns to his winning form from his previous race at a much nicer price. 

BC Distaff (Del Mar Race #9)

Estimated post time: 7:35 p.m. ET/4:35 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Stellar Wind is the 5-2 morning-line favorite with Elate (3-1), Forever Unbridled (4-1), and Abel Tasman (4-1) all being given big chances. Paradise Woods (9-2) is being mentioned by a lot of handicappers as the likely pace-setter, but with the other top contenders all having tactical speed, I think this could set up a speed duel and set up the race for a closer. So, while I’m not throwing out all the early speed horses, I do like Forever Unbridled best among this group.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#8 Romantic Vision (15-1): She is coming off a win in the Grade 1 Spinster. I know some are going to not give her too much credit for that as it was on a sloppy track, but I’m more interested in the fact it was also her second straight race since Brian Hernandez returned to the saddle and I see a mare peaking at the right time heading into this race. She should also be in a good spot off the pace and have a shot to circle the field down the stretch.

#6 Forever Unbridled (4-1): If I like Romantic Vision, then I also have to like Forever Unbridled (plus see the comments above). She is the most consistent closer in the field and the most likely winner in my mind but just not offering as much value as my top pick (but I’ll be happy if they run 1-2 in either order).

#2 Stellar Wind (5-2): We can’t totally throw out the morning-line favorite. She hasn’t run in three months, but look at her other performances off layoffs and you won’t be deterred

Longshot: #3 Mopotism (30-1): I nearly made this my top value play as she should also be running off the pace like Romantic Vision at even better odds, but she hasn’t been consistent enough for me to call my best value play. However, I certainly like that she has a big-race trainer in Doug O’Neill and he’s recruited the best big-race rider in Frankie Dettori which certainly upgrades any horse’s chances.


BC Juvenile Fillies (Del Mar Race #4)

Estimated post time: 3 p.m. ET/noon PT

Top contenders: If this was March Madness, we would say Moonshine Memories (7-2) is the No. 1 overall seed and top seed from the West Regional after two Group 1 wins in California, Separationofpowers (4-1) is the No. 1 seed from the East Regional after winning the Grade 1 Frizette and Heavenly Love (9-2) is the No. 1 seed from the Midwest after winning the Grade 1 Alcibiades. I give the edge to Moonshine Memories with home-court advantage as one of her Grade 1 wins was over this track in the Del Mar Debutante.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#6 Stainless (20-1): This is a pick I’m pretty sure you won’t see anywhere else, but it’s the kind of play that’s worked for me countless time. Stainless only has a maiden win and her only route race was on the turf (this race is not). That’s going to score a lot of people off, but it looks like this is going to be a very fast pace and I’m looking for a closer. Look at her last race (again, on the turf): she rallied from 13th in a 14-horse field and 10 lengths back to finish second. Yes, she came up short, but certainly forgivable for her first turf effort. And it’s not often you get such long odds with trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez. I just hope their fans don’t hurt our odds. 

#11 Wonder Gadot (8-1): In our March Madness scenario above, we didn’t have a fourth regional, so I suggest we take off to the Great White North Regional (that’s a Bob & Doug McKenzie reference, probably lost on our younger readers) with Wonder Gadot and her Grade 3 win in the Mazarine at Woodbine (that’s in Canada for the horse racing newbies). Among the potential front-runners, I like her the best to not rush to the lead and rate being the pacesetters.

#9 Alluring Star (6-1): This filly could be the speed of the speed. Overall, I hope she is part of a suicide speed duel that wears out all those on the front end, but if she gets out she could steal this; but ultimately I think she gives up the lead late like she did in the Chandelier to Moonshine Memories (though, this time I hope it’s one of my longshots).

Longshot: #12 Caledonia Road (15-1): Here’s another off-the-pace runner that I expect to be blowing past horses down the stretch. The dream scenario is her and Stainless battling it out to the wire (with all of us holding an exacta box ticket!), though I’ll be using her with my other choices as well.

BC Turf Sprint (Del Mar Race #5)

Estimated post time: 3:37 p.m. ET/12:37 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Lady Aurelia is 5-2 on the morning line and a deserving favorite. Marsha is the second-choice at 7-2 and beat Lady Aurelia by a nose in August. Both should be a factor and worthy of being included on many tickets, and I also like third choice Disco Partner (9-2). If it wasn’t for trying to find a value horse on top, I would expect this race to be pretty chalky so I probably will be betting less than usual on exotic combinations.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#9 Mongolian Saturday (20-1): I have a soft spot for horses that have previously won BC races (she won this race at Keeneland in 2015) as 19 of them have come back to win a second time. Now, I don’t believe that the horse knows how to win a BC race or puts out any extra effort – but I do think the connections know how to get ready to win a BC race and make it their primary goal (I mean, how can they not view any other race as a prep to get back to the BC?). She’s certainly not in the best of form, but her closing style should fit well here.

#3 Lady Aurelia (5-2): I certainly want to beat Lady Aurelia, but I’m not foolish enough to throw her out. There’s no reason she won’t be right in the mix and it would be a shame to not have an exotic payoff because we didn’t use her.

#1 Disco Partner (9-2): While most of the pre-race attention is on Lady Aurelia, Disco Partner is having a stellar year that includes four wins in five races with the only loss being on a yielding course.

Longshot: #11 Bucchero (12-1): He pulled off the upset in the Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland at 26-1 for his fourth win in six starts this year, but isn’t getting much more respect here.

BC Filly & Mare Sprint (Del Mar Race 6)

Estimated post time: 4:14 p.m. ET/1:14 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Unique Bella is 4-for-4 this year with all wins in graded stakes, so I understand her being the morning-line favorite, but there’s too much talent in this field to warrant being as low as 9-5. Skye Diamonds (5-1) is 5-for-6 this year and Finley’sluckycharm (6-1) is 4-for-5 and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg in this wide-open race.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#8 Constellation (15-1): This filly makes her first start in the Bob Baffert barn and comes in trying to cure a case of seconditis (four straight runner-up finishes), but that’s why we’re getting 15-1. She should be right in the mix at a fair price.

#12 Skye Diamonds (5-1): If you like Constellation, then you have to like Skye Diamonds who has run down the former in their last two races. The last victory also made her 2-for-2 over this track.

#11 Unique Bella (9-5): I can’t throw out the favorite completely as it would be the shame to have the rest of the horses in a tri or super but not have her.

Longshot: #13 Princess Karen (20-1): She is the likely pacesetter and has given up the lead twice in her last three starts, but if no one pushes her on the front end, she could steal this wire-to-wire at a decent price (I can see her doing that more than once if they were to run this race 20 times – and that’s basically all you’re asking of a 20-1 shot to warrant a bet).

BC Filly & Mare Turf (Del Mar Race #7)

Estimated post time: 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Sentimental favorite Lady Eli (overcame a life-threatening case of lamitis) is also the morning-line favorite at 5-2 as she’s won her last three races, all graded stakes at a mile and a sixteenth (this race is 1 1/8 miles). Grand Jete (6-1) and Cambodia (8-1) are the only other fillies or mares at single-digit odds and none are easy throw-outs.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#10 Queen’s Trust (12-1): Here’s another former BC winner (she nosed out Lady Eli in this race last year) at a decent price. She hasn’t run this year, but she’s faces a lot of tough competition and I’m trusting her connections’ goal all along (and they get the services of Frankie Dettori, who hasn’t ridden her in a race since last year’s BC) has been for her to peak at this time to defend her crown. At this price, it’s worth a shot.

#9 Lady Eli (9-2): There’s no reason not to expect Lady Eli to come with her best effort in her career finale and it makes sense to have an exacta box for this rematch (I just hope everyone doesn’t have the same idea).

#14 Rhododendron (8-1): Bounced back from two subpar performances to win the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly in France in her last race so she’s a major threat.

Longshot: #5 Wuheida (20-1): She finished fourth to Rhododendron in that last race, but was beaten by just half a length, yet we’re getting 20-1 as opposed to 8-1? I’ll take that.

BC Sprint (Del Mar Race #8)

Estimated post time: 5:37 p.m. ET/2:37 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Drefong won this race last year at Santa Anita and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite to repeat despite only racing twice this year (losing his rider in one race and then romping as the favorite in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga). She has a lot of competition with Roy H (7-2), Imperial Hint (9-2), Takeful (5-1) and Mind Your Biscuits (6-1) with half the field in this 10-horse race at 6-1 or lower.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#9 Ransom the Moon (12-1): As you would expect from the Sprint championship, there’s a ton of early speed in here, so I’m looking at horses that should be coming off the pace. Ransom the Moon is my pick as the best value play. He didn’t fire in his last race at Santa Anita (which is why we’re getting decent odds here), but his previous race was a win in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby over this course.

#5 Whitmore (15-1): I debated making Whitmore my top value play as he’s actually a more consistent closer and I wouldn’t fault anyone for betting this one instead. The tiebreaker for me was Ransom the Moon’s race over this track.

#8 Roy H (7-2): He beat both of my top two choices, so I have to respect him here. He’s used to stalking a hot pace and will be a challenge for my longshots to get by as he should have first run on them (but I’m sure I’ll be holding a trifecta box including all three so I’d love to see them heading down the stretch together).

Longshot: #10 Imperial Hint (9-2): This is the shortest “longshot” I’ve ever listed, but I used my best two above. Drop Whitmore here if it makes you feel better (though I prefer him in the No. 2 spot on the off-chance that Ransom the Moon scratches for some reason). Anyway, Imperial Hint could be the speed of the speed and steal this, so I want to use him in case he sticks around and fills out the exotics.

BC Mile (Del Mar Race #9)

Estimated post time: 6:19 p.m. ET/3:19 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Ribchester is the 7-2 favorite after running well in 2017 all over England, France and even Dubai. There is tons of world-class talent in here including World.Approval (9-2), Heart to Heart (6-1), Suedois (6-1) and Roly Poly (6-1).

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#1 Midnight Storm (15-1): Most people will be looking for a closer (and a Eurpean closer at that), so that’s when I look for a horse to steal it on the front end. Midnight Storm should bolt to the early lead from the No. 1 post with Tyler Baze in the saddle. Midnight Storm hasn’t won since January, but that’s why we’re getting such generous odds. He is 5-for-7 at Del Mar and I’ll take my chances that does the trick for him as I expect him to be leading this field into the stretch and hopefully he’s pulled far enough ahead to hold off the calvary charge of closers.

#10 Ribchester (7-2): What’s not to like with this world traveler. It’s hard to leave him off any tickets (and 7-2 is actually a decent price if it holds).

#12 Roly Poly (6-1): Trainer Aidan O’Brien preferred the Filly & Mare Turf for his 3-year-old star filly, but that field was oversubscribed and she lands here against the boys. Unfortunately, the morning linemaker didn’t set her odds higher as that might have led more bettors to dismiss her unless they notice that she beat Persuasive at Newmarket and then Persuasive went on to beat Ribchester at Ascot.

Longshot: #13 Blackjackcat (15-1): Granted, it’s been against lesser competition than he faces in this race, but Blackjackcat has won four straight races in California, including the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap over this track. He should be sitting off a pretty fast pace and have first run on the other stalkers – we just need to see if he can do it from there. I’d take that chance at 15-1 (and I suspect he goes higher with so many foreigners attracting attention).

BC Juvenile (Del Mar Race #10)

Estimated post time: 6:58 p.m. ET/3:58 p.m. PT

Top contenders: We have another March Madness analogy with Bolt D’Oro the No. 1 overall seed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite, plus the 10-1 Kentucky Derby favorite) and top seed in the West Regional after winning the Del Mar Futurity here and the Grade 1 Frontrunner at Santa Anita, Free Drop Billy (5-1) as the Midwest No. 1 after winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and Firenze Fire (6-1) the East No. 1 for winning the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont. All are very talented, but 2-year-olds that didn’t blossom as early as those are improving at an accelerated rate so it pays to look elsewhere.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#7 The Tabulator (20-1): He won the Grade 3 Iroquois at Keeneland back on Sept. 16 to improve to 3-for-3 lifetime but hasn’t raced since. A repeat of that last race might not get the job done, but assuming he’s continued to mature (and he’s improved in each race he’s run), there’s no reason to think he’s reached his peak performance yet. At 20-1, I’m willing to find out.

#1 U S Navy Flag (6-1): He sure sounds like an American horse (and he was bred in Kentucky), but he’s done all his racing overseas. He’s had the most experience by far as his 10 career starts are more than double any other entrant and he’s peaking at the right time with three straight wins this summer and fall in Group races in Ireland and Britain. Trainer Aidan O’Brien also considered him for the Juvenile Turf, but I trust in expertise in moving him to the dirt.

#11 Bolt d’Oro (9-5): It’s hard to ignore that 2-for-2 record over the track and blowing away the field in the Front Runner by seven lengths.

Longshot: #12 Hollywood Star (15-1): He hasn’t won since his maiden victory and comes into this race off a pair of runner-up finishes; however, he was actually the 6-5 favorite in the Iroquois that was won by my top choice and only lost by three-quarters of a length. All of that is why we’re seeing 15-1 on the morning line, but I see his chances as better than that.

BC Turf (Del Mar Race #11)

Estimated post time: 7:37 p.m. ET/4:37 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Europeans usually dominate this race and are well-represented in the morning line with Ulysses (7-2) and Highland Reef (5-1), who won this race last year at Keeneland. Beach Patrol (4-1) slips in for the American contingent off of two Grade 1 wins, including the Arlington Million. Ulysses ran a well-beaten fourth to Highland Reef last year at Santa Anita. Was it the track or a dislike of the climate? Either way, it’s enough for me to throw him out.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#1 Talismanic (15-1): French trainer Andre Fabre knows how to bring horses across the pond as he has four Breeders’ Cup wins (anyone else have Arcangues at 133-1 in the 1993 Classic?). Talismanic isn’t as highly regarded as the other Europeans, but note that all his losses this year were on soft turf while winning both on “good” courses. I see him doing even better on the firm Del Mar course at a fair price.

#3 Highland Reel (5-1): We have to use the defending champ, even though he’s come up short in his last two races. I have no doubt Aidan O’Brien will have him ready Saturday.

#12 Beach Patrol (4-1): I was planning to just include Europeans in my exacta and trifecta boxes, but I can’t throw out this consistent American. He has race all over the country; I wish he had a few more races at Del Mar, but his second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last December is good enough for me.

Longshot: #10 Fanciful Angel (12-1): If not for the Andre Fab angle, I might have put this horse on top. He’s a foreign horse though his last two races were in the states, finishing second to Beach Patrol in the Arlington Million (at 73-1!) and Joe Hirsch Turf, so he fits with there.

BC Classic (Del Mar Race #12)

Estimated post time: 8:35 p.m. ET/5:35 p.m. PT

Top contenders: Everyone is waiting to see 9-5 morning-line favorite Gun Runner, winner of three straight Grade 1 stakes, and 2-1 second-choice Arrogate, the defending Classic champ and victor over Gun Runner in the Dubai World Cup renew their rivalry. Some are calling for the upset from West Coast (6-1) or Collected (6-1), but let’s see if we can blow up the toteboard.

My value pick on top and other horses to include: 

#10 Pavel (20-1): I’ve heard a lot of people talking about this late-developing 3-year-old (didn’t race until the Triple Crown season was over) and how he’s going to pretty good when he’s older, but I believe in betting horses like this before everyone is on the bandwagon. His win in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones and his time in finishing third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup put him pretty close to the other contenders but at a much nicer price (that I’m betting you’ll never get on him next year).

#11 Collected (6-1): I nearly made him my top choice, but I would have needed a higher price. Of course, he beat Arrogate last time out in the Pacific Classic over this course and has won four straight races, so I guess we’re lucky he’s not lower (though that shows how much respect Gun Runner and Arrogate are being given). He should be on the lead and could steal this.

#5 Gun Runner (9-5): I could just as easily put Arrogate in this spot when trying to fill out my vertical wagers (using either or especially both in horizontal wagers devalues any ticket as the vast majority of bettors will be doing that), but he has been the more consistent horse and has been crushing his competition.

Longshot: #6 Mubtaajhij (12-1): Mubtaajhij is the highest odds of Bob Baffert’s four entrants, but he’s the one I wouldn’t be stunned if he pulls the upset. I know he didn’t make a run on Arrogate and Gun Runner in Dubai, but he did finish second to California Chrome in the 2016 World Cup and more recently I’m encouraged by his come-from-behind win in the Grade 1 Awesome Again on Sept. 30.

Ron Flatter previews the Breeders' Cup on the new Ron Flatter Racing Pod.

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