2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic Betting Trends

Breeders' Cup Classic

Gun Runner wired the field in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup)

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) closes out the two-day championship event with a stellar field lining up this year.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert picked up his fourth Classic win last year with the three-year-old Authentic, who in a topsy turvy year due to the pandemic made his final prep in the Preakness Stakes (G1) which was run in September.

The first Breeders’ Cup Classic to be contested at Del Mar went to Gun Runner, the Steve Asmussen trainee who took the field gate to wire and returned his backers $6.80. Collected completed a $2 exacta that paid $34.00.

Gun Runner’s final prep was a win in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga while Collected prepped over the Del Mar surface by winning the Pacific Classic (G1). The third-place finisher was West Coast, a three-year-old who had won the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) in his prior start for Baffert.

Knicks Go is the betting favorite in early Breeders’ Cup Classic betting odds.

Betting Trends for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic

Classic by the Digits: (last 11 years)
Avg. Win payoff: $12.15
Avg. Exacta payoff: $127.35
Avg. Beyer Speed Figure: 112.7
Betting Favorites All time: 10 for 37
2020 Winner: Authentic ($10.40)
$2 Exacta: $45.40  $1 Trifecta: $335.90
Winner final prep: 2nd Preakness (G1)
Runner up: Improbable
Runner up final prep: Won Awesome Again (G1)

We saw four consecutive single digit payoffs from 2015 through 2018 including American Pharoah paying just $3.40 in 2015. That streak was snapped with Vino Rosso paying $11.20 in 2019 who was the third choice and Authentic ($10.40) was the co-third choice last year. The highest priced winner over the past 18 years is Drosselmeyer at $31.60 in 2011.

Trainer Bob Baffert won the Classic three years in a row from 2014-2017, each with three-year-olds and did it again last year with Authentic. The sophomores have won 13 times, four-year-olds have won the Classic 15 times while five-year-olds have accounted for nine Classic wins. No horse six or older has won the Classic.

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The key preps for the Classic continue to be the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park which has produced nine winners (including Vino Rosso in 2019) and the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita with seven. New York has been key, as 7 of the last 11 Classic winners had the final prep in the Big Apple.

Pleasantly Perfect (2003) was the last Classic winner to win without having a previous Grade 1 victory. Only three other Classic winners had not won a Grade 1—Concern, Alphabet Soup and Volponi.

13 Classic winners have tried to repeat with only Tiznow getting the job done.

Since 2007 the time between the final prep and the Classic has ranged between 27-35 days in 10 of the last 15 years. Over that time Bayern had the longest time between his final prep and Classic win at 70 days in 2016.

We have seen 10 Classic winners take the field gate to wire. Included in that total was Gun Runner over the Del Mar surface in 2017. Five of the last nine winners were wire jobs.

Gun Runner Wires Field in 2017 Classic at Del Mar

Arcangues was the biggest price of all of the Classic winners at $269.20, but the exacta with Cat Thief (20-1) and Budroyale (26-1) in 1999 actually paid more, returning $1,209.60.

The smallest exacta of all time in the Classic was in 2016 when Arrogate topped a payoff of just $10.00.

Zenyatta is the lone female to beat the boys, winning the 2009 Classic over a synthetic surface.

Post positions two and five have fared best, each producing five Classic winners. Outside posts have fared well with 11 winners coming from the 10 post and outward including two that broke from the 14 post.

Trainer Bob Baffert is 4 for 26 in the Classic. Brad Cox has had just one previous starter in the Classic, Owendale in 2019 who finished 10th. Doug O’Neill is 0 for 5, Steve Asmussen is 2 for 5, Bill Mott 2 for 18, and John Shirreffs 1 for 6.

Breeders’ Cup Betting Trends
JuvenileJuvenile FilliesSprintFilly & Mare Sprint


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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