Friday Breeders’ Cup 2021 Betting Picks, Exotics: Our Favorite Outright, Exacta, Trifecta Bets
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Horses compete in a race at last year’s Breeders’ Cup.
- Odds for the 2021 Breeders' Cup Friday card are on the move, and Jeremy Pond lays out below how he's playing a handful of races, starting with Race 6, which begins at 5:50 p.m. ET.
- He's betting some exotics and outrights in one of racing's biggest days of the year.
*Editor’s note: Juvenile race favorite Jack Christopher has been scratched from the race. Selections for that stakes event have been updated, as well as exotic wagers that include the late Pick 4 ticket.
The 2021 Breeders’ Cup, a 14-race thoroughbred showcase spanning two days at Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, Calif., begins Friday with five stakes races for 2-year-old horses.
Opening the weekend slate will be the Juvenile Turf Sprint, with a 5:50 p.m. EST scheduled post time.
Racing continues with Saturday’s nine-race card, highlighted by the $6 million Longines Classic that will feature some of the world’s best 3-year-old horses and older. The Classic is slated to go off at an estimated post time of 8:40 p.m. ET to close the festivities.
Coverage will be featured both days on NBCSN, with the Classic being aired Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
Let’s take a look at the exciting races, along with my top betting selections.
Friday Breeders’ Cup Schedule & Picks
*(includes full race card and wagering options)
*Graphic courtesy of breederscup.com
Race No. 6 — Juvenile Turf Sprint
5:50 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Typically, these “baby” races are pretty wide open. However, I think trainer Wesley Ward has the class of the field via stablemates No. 8 Averly Jane (5-2) and No. 6 Twilight Gleaming (4-1) in this five-furlong dash on the grass.
Averly Jane, who will have regular ride Tyler Gaffalione aboard, is unbeaten in four starts. The talented filly set a track record last time out in win at Keeneland, setting her up for potentially another big performance. She’s the daughter of former Juvenile winner Midshipman, so the bloodlines don’t hurt.
Twilight Gleaming might not be at her caliber, but she’s pretty damn close. The Irish-bed daughter of National Defense has finished no worse than second in four career starts, including a stakes in France that came after a second at Royal Ascot. I tend to lean toward the European invaders in these turf events, but think she’s just a notch below Ward’s other charge.
If you’re looking for a couple of longshots, target No. 1 Twilight Jet (15-1) and No. 11 Derrynane (12-1) as potential upset winners. Another Irish bred, Twilight Jet gotten better in four consecutive races across the pond. He won a Group 3 event at Newmarket last time out, so a quick start from the rail could let him set tone and potential steal this one on the front end.
As for Derrynane, the filly by Quality Road ships in from Canada after a win in the Woodbine Cares Stakes. It was the second win in her three-race career, but it was her first try on grass and she more than excelled on the surface. Her 92 Equibase speed rating was 19 points better than her other two numbers. She gets Joel Rosario — maybe the world’s best turf rider — in the saddle.
The Picks: 8-6-11-1
Race No. 7 — Juvenile Fillies
6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Unlike the rest of the stakes events, this is a one-horse race in my opinion. And the lone star is No. 6 Echo Zulu (4-5), who’s the heavy morning-line favorite. The daughter of former Classic winner Gun Runner has demolished her foes in three lifetime starts, winning by a combined 16 3/4 lengths.
This will be her first time navigating two turns, but I don’t think that will be an issue facing five other ladies in this $2 million 1 1/6 mile event. She also gets Rosario in the irons, which could get New York-based pilot off to a huge start.
Assuming Echo Zulu, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, should get some competition from No. 5 Juju’s Map (5-2), but I just have the confidence the Brad Cox trainee can stay with the favorite down the stretch.
The Picks: 6-5-2-3
Race No. 8 — Juvenile Fillies Turf
7:10 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Welcome to the most wide-open stakes race on the card.
There are 14 fillies — nine of which I could see hitting the winner’s circle — set to enter the gate in this mile jaunt on the Del Mar grass. Trainer Chad Brown sends out five horses, but it’s trainer Christophe Clement who has the “favorite” in No. 1 Pizza Bianca (5-1) breaking from the rail.
Owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, Pizza Bianca had some traffic issues in her second-place effort in the Natalma Stakes (G1) at Woodbine last time out, so she had an excuse. I’m going to use Clement’s charge in my exotics, but I’m looking for a better price and have settled on No. 5 Bubble Rock (8-1) as my top selection.
The daughter of champion sire More Than Ready, Bubble Rock stretches out for Cox after a win in the Matron Stakes (G3) on Oct. 9 at Belmont Park. Cox, who won this race a year ago with Aunt Pearl, has stellar sprint-to-route numbers and has Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. That’s a deadly combination in this type of race when traffic trouble can come at any moment.
I will also use No. 3 Cachet (12-1), No. 7 Consumer Spending (8-1), No. 9 Koala Princess (6-1) and No. 13 Mise En Scene (6-1) in my exotics.
Let me tell you: If there was a race to spend a little extra on in your exotic wagering, this is the one you want to target. Getting the right combination of horses could really pad your account going into Saturday’s slate.
The Picks: 5-7-9-13
Race No. 9 — Juvenile
*Editor’s note: Race favorite Jack Christopher has been scratched from the race and will not run.
7:50 p.m. ET, NBCSN
This is race usually gives our Kentucky Derby betting front runner and that honor will likely fall on morning-line favorite No. 1 Jack Christopher (9-5), who crushed in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Jack Christopher put up a 102 Beyer Speed Figure in that victory that marked the fastest juvenile number in four years.
Brown’s standout might get a run for his money from No. 12 Corniche (5-2), who has the Hall of Fame combination of jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert in his corner. The son of Quality Road, who sold for $1.5 million, has the pedigree and a brilliant win in the American Pharoah (G1) on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park on his résumé.
However, Corniche has a brutal draw on the outside and will have to be used early to get position in this stacked field. He’s never been behind another horse in his light, two-race career, so if Smith is unable to navigate his way past the other 11 entrants it could be a problem.
As for others to keep an eye on, take a look at the rest of the outside horses in No. 8 Barossa (10-1), No. 9 Pinehurst (8-1), No. 10 Commandperformance (5-1) and longshot No. 11 Tough To Tame (30-1) for you vertical wagers.
The Picks: 12-9-10-8
*Editor’s note: New order of picks reflect defection of Jack Christopher
Race No. 10 — Juvenile Turf
8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
This is the other crapshoot of a race on the opening slate. We have 16 horses entered in this $2 million event, scheduled for 1 1/6 miles on the grass. And chances are we’re going to catch another price in the finale, with the lowest odds sitting with favorite No. 14 Dubawi Legend (4-1) as of writing.
The colt is coming off a second-place effort in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1) at Newmarket last time out, but that was over seven furlongs. The stretch out isn’t as much of a concern as is the outside draw that will compromise him. Needless to say, that has me looking elsewhere, specifically toward the inside.
With that in mind, I’m giving a slight edge to No. 2 Albahr (6-1) in this affair. Trainer Charlie Appleby has sent his talented charge out five times, with him coming back with four wins. He took down the Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine, so he should be top form entering this race.
I’m going even further inside with another Appleby standout in No. 1 Modern Games (5-1), who is a perfect 2 for 2 in his brief on European turf. The Godolphin-owned star is going to be forced to go early, but the fact Appleby’s other horse is drawn to his outside means he will have a cushion in the first quarter mile and not be forced to gun to the front.
Throw No. 3 Dakota Gold (8-1), No. 4 Tiz the Bomb (8-1), No. 6 Mackinnon (8-1) and No. 10 Portfolio Company (6-1) in your exotics, especially if you’re into boxed exacta and trifecta wagering.
The Picks: 2-1-10-6
My Friday Breeders’ Cup Bets
Race No. 6 Juvenile Turf Sprint
$20 Win | Place | Show: No. 8 Averly Jane
$4 Exacta: 6-8-11 over 1-6-7-8-11
Race No. 7 Juvenile Fillies
$10 Exacta: No. 6 Echo Zulu over 1-2-3-4-5
Race No. 8 Juvenile Fillies Turf
$8 Win | Place | Show: No. 5 Bubble Rock
$1.50 Exacta Box: 1-3-5-7-9-13
$0.50 Trifecta Box: 1-3-5-7-9-13
Race No. 9 Juvenile
$10 Win | Place | Show: No. 12 Corniche
$1 Trifecta : 9-12 | 4-8-9-10-11-12 | 4-8-9-10-11-12
*Editor’s note: New order of picks reflect defection of Jack Christopher
Race No. 10 Juvenile Turf
$1 Trifecta Box (play for $0.50 for a smaller investment): 1-2-3-6-10-14
Pick 4 (Races 7-8-9-10)
Wager: $0.50 for $80 investment
Race 7: 6
Race 8: 1-5-7-9-13
Race 9: 8-9-10-12
Race 10: 1-2-3-4-6-10-14-15