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2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic Betting Trends

Breeders' Cup Classic
Knicks Go won the 2021 Breeders' Cup Classic. (Photo: Matt Wooley/Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland will close out this year’s championship event and let’s take a look at a few betting trends.

Knicks Go won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic for trainer Brad Cox, returning $8.40 as the co-second choice in a  field of eight. Essential Quality was the beaten favorite, checking in third at 9-5.

Overall the betting favorite has won 10 of the 38 editions of the Classic. The last betting favorite to win was Accelerate at $7.40 in 2018.

The Classic has actually been the most formful Breeders’ Cup race over the past dozen years. The average win payoff is $11.83. Since Volponi paid $89,00 in 2002 we have only seen two winners pay $30 or more: Pleasantly Perfect (2003) returning $30.00 and Drosselmeyer (2011) paying $31.60.

Classic by the Digits: (last 12 years)
Avg. Win payoff: $11.83
Avg. Exacta payoff: $122.17
Avg. Beyer Speed Figure: 112.7
Betting Favorites All time: 10 for 38
2021 Winner: Knicks Go ($8.40)
$2 Exacta: $65.20  $1 Trifecta: $83.90
Winner final prep: Won Lukas Classic (G3)
Runner up: Medina Spirit
Runner up final prep: Won Awesome Again (G1)

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The two Keeneland Classic winners were American Pharoah ($3.40) in 2015 and Authentic ($10.40) in 2020 and they both were frontrunners. Horses up front have fared well in recent years, winning six of the last 10 runnings.

Top 10 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won the Classic three years in a row from 2014-2017, each with three-year-olds and did it again in 2020 with Authentic. The sophomores have won 13 times, four-year-olds have won the Classic 15 times while five-year-olds have accounted for 10 Classic wins. No horse six or older has won the Classic.

The key preps for the Classic are the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park which has produced nine winners and the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita with seven. New York has been key, as 7 of the last 12 Classic winners had the final prep in the Big Apple.

Arcangues was the biggest price of all of the Breeders’ Cup Classic winners at $269.20 in 1993, 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.

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.

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 27 in the Classic. John Sadler is 1 for 6. Brad Cox is 1 for 3. Steve Asmussen has a Classic record of 2 for 6.  Doug O’Neill is 0 for 6. Todd Pletcher is 1 for 14.

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