2021 Breeders’ Cup Turf Betting Trends

Breeders' Cup Turf

Euros have had the edge in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (Photo credit: Matt Wooley/Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM).

The $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) is a challenging race for handicappers, with a good mix of U.S. based turf runners taking on a group coming from across the pond.

The Euros hold an edge with Tarnawa becoming the 22nd invader to take home the top prize. The Euros also took the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar with Talismanic winning and paying $30.20.

Talismanic came into the 2017 Turf off a third-place finish in the Qatar Prix Foy (G2) at Chantilly. Beach Patrol was the runner up for trainer Chad Brown. He had won the Arlington Million (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in his two previous outings.

Euros have fared pretty well in Southern California in the Turf. Other winners include Highland Reel in 2016, Magician in 2013, Conduit in 2008 and 2009 and High Chaparral in 2003.

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Betting Trends for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Turf

Turf by the Digits: (last 11 years)
Avg. Win payoff: $16.92
Avg. Exacta payoff: $83.72
Avg. Beyer Speed Figure: 106.6
Betting Favorites All time: 11 for 37
2020 Winner: Tarnawa ($11.40)
$2 Exacta: $36.20  $1 Trifecta: $142.20
Winner final prep: won Prix de l’Opera (G1)
Runner up: Magical
Runner up final prep: 3rd in Champion Stakes (G1)

Euro invaders making their last start across the pond have accounted for 22 of the 38 winners (there was one deadheat) of the Turf including 17 of the last 22. Last year’s winner Tarnawa won the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1) at Longchamp.

Of the Euro winners it is often not the “obvious” one that wins the race. Among the highly regarded Euro invaders to lost to a fellow invader were Magical (2-1 in 2020), Highland Reel (7-5 in 2017), Golden Horn (4-5 in 2015), The Fugue (3-2 in 2013) and Behkabad (6-5) in 2010.

The betting favorite has won the Turf 11 times in the 37-year history of the race. We had back to back chalk before Tarnawa paid $11.40 last year. The 2018 winner Enable was the shortest price in history, returning just $3.60 and topping a $2 All Euro exacta that paid $26.80. She was the first betting favorite to score since Conduit ($3.80) in 2009. Bricks and Mortar paid just $4.00 in 2019 for trainer Chad Brown.

The betting favorite has landed in the superfecta 12 years in a row, in the trifecta in nine of those years.

The top exacta in the history of the Turf was in 1989 with the Neil Drysdale trained Prized (8-1) and Sierra Roberta (25-1) combing for a $818.00 payoff.

In 10 of the last 14 years the Turf winner had a previous win at 1 ½ miles.

The outside posts have fared well recently, the 11-post winning twice and the 12 post once in the past eight years. Found and Bricks and Mortar each broke from the nine post.

Tarnawa Upsets in 2020 Breeders’ Cup Turf

Aiden O’Brien has won the Turf six times from 27 starters including three times in the last eight years. Three of his winners have come with three-year-olds.

The Arc has produced a dozen Turf winners, with Enable in 2018 the lone winner that actually won the Arc.

Horses prepping at Belmont Park have fared very well, eight using the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and four having run in the Man O’ War (G1). The Irish Champion Stakes (G1) has produced four Turf winners.

There have been nine three-year-olds that have won the Turf, the most recent being Found in 2015. Seven of the nine were Euro based. The exceptions were Manila in 1986 and Prized in 1989.

Five fillies have won the Turf, and they too were all based overseas: Tarnawa (2020), Enable (2018), Found (2015), Miss Alleged (1991) and Pebbles (1985).

Only four Turf winners have taken the field gate to wire, the most recent being Highland Reel ($9.60) at Santa Anita in 2016.

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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