Handicapping the Breeders' Cup [Breeders' Cup]

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Kentucky is well known for events rich in prestige and tradition: University of Kentucky basketball at Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, and the Sweet Sixteen Tournament all make Kentucky a wonderful place to be a sports fan.

The Breeders’ Cup has neither that tradition nor prestige, but what it does have is big money. ESPN calls it The Richest Event in all of Sport, and that money includes not only the $25.5-million up for grabs to the connections of winning horses but also the more than $150-million that will be wagered on 15 World Championships races November 4-5 at Churchill Downs.

Those lucky enough to have tickets can easily bet at Churchill Downs, and others in Louisville can visit some of the off-track betting parlors in the area, but for those of you watching the races at home between football games, TwinSpires.com offers legal, safe, secure wagering through the internet. That’s right. You can bet online.

The betting is the easy part. Who to bet is the harder part.

The action starts at 4:10 p.m. EDT on Friday with the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. The horse to watch here is Secret Circle, who comes from the barn of three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert. Most of these horses probably will not move forward enough to become potential Derby horses, but Secret Circle is the exception. At 6-to-5 he is a heavy morning line favorite, but of all 15 races, Secret Circle is easily one of the most likely winners.

Speaking of likely winners, the most interesting race from a storyline perspective is the Breeders’ Cup Mile at 6:07 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Goldikova will be going for her fourth consecutive win in the $2-million race, which is one of those records that not only is unprecedented but also unlikely to ever be replicated.

Goldikova was born in Ireland and does most of her training in France, so shipping to the U.S. three years in a row and winning one of our top prizes is no small feat. Goldikova is another short favorite at 7-to-5 on the morning line, but she is fun to watch and is just better than the other horses she’s facing.

So those are the favorite; who are some of the possible longshots? In the Filly And Mare Turf, Harmonious will be overlooked off consecutive losses, but she is as fast as the top contenders here, and at odds of 20-to-1 is worth a wager.

The Marathon kicks off Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup festivities and features a live longshot in Pleasant Prince, who races for popular owner Ken Ramsey and is definitely worth a wager at around 10-to-1.

The big enchilada, of course, is the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic—the richest race in North America and among the most prestigious races in the world. Havre de Grace and Uncle Mo will get the most attention in, and the former has a better chance to win than the latter at a likely better price. The two horses I like most to make some noise at decent odds are To Honor And Serve and Ruler On Ice. I will likely box those two horses in an exacta (top two finishers) with Havre de Grace.

The above are some helpful guidelines on certain races, but betting the horses is the most fun when you have your own opinions and cash in on them!

Ed DeRosa is director of marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and an avid horseplayer. He is captain of the TwinSpires.com Player’s Pool, which bets $100,000 on Breeders’ Cup races. Visit his blog at blog.twinspires.com and BRIS at Brisnet.com