2021 Breeders’ Cup Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets & Exotic Wagers, Including The $6 Million Classic (Nov. 6)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Essential Quality and jockey Luis Saez.
Racing continues Saturday at the 2021 Breeders’ Cup, with nine more stakes events on the docket and highlighted by the Classic that will feature some of the world’s best 3-year-old horses and older.
The $6 million race is set to go off at an estimated post time of 8:40 p.m. ET to close the festivities at Del Mar Racetrack in California.
Coverage will be featured on NBCSN from 2 p.m-8 p.m. ET, with the Classic being aired Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
We opened the annual thoroughbred showcase, which attracts entrants from around the world, on Friday with five stakes races featuring 2-year-old horses. And we opened it in style, hitting the late Pick 4 via a $0.50 wager. The total investment of $80 returned $419.25, which was good for a $339.25 profit.
So, let’s hope we can find similar success during the second day of racing action. Now, let’s take a look at my top picks for some of the biggest races on the card and see where we can uncover some betting value.
Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Picks & Schedule
*(includes full race card and wagering options)
*Graphic courtesy of breederscup.com
Race No. 9 — Mile
6:20 p.m. ET, NBCSN
This was easily the hardest race to handicap on the entire two-day, 14-race card. And the biggest reason was the fact there are a whopping 15 horses scheduled to leave the starting gate on the turf course.
That said, I think the European invaders hold an edge over their North American counterparts. Leading the shippers is No. 3 Space Blues (3-1), trained by Charles Appleby and ridden by William Buick. He won a Group 1 event at Longchamp in France in his most recent start and looks to be sitting on another big race.
I’m going to play Space Blues across the board in Win-Place-Show wagering, but will box him in exactas with No. 1 Master of the Seas (12-1), No. 6 Mo Forza (5-1), No. 9 Mother Earth (8-1), No. 10 Blowout (8-1) and No. 12 Pearls Galore (12-1) in this affair.
The Picks: 3-9-6-1-12
Race No. 10 — Distaff
7 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has the class horse off this 11-horse field in No. 6 Letruska (8-5), who’s the deserved favorite in this $2 million event set for 1 1/8 miles on Del Mar’s dirt track.
The classy lady could get a run for her money from No. 3 Malathaat (4-1) — winner of this year’s Alabama and Kentucky Oaks — and No. 8 Shedaresthedevil (4-1), but I think she’s just too good for this field to handle.
Throw in No. 1 Private Mission (8-1), No. 5 Clairiere (12-1) and No. 11 Dunbar Road (15-1) underneath in your array of exotics.
The Picks: 6-8-3-11
Race No. 11 — Turf
7:40 p.m. ET, NBCSN
This is another extremely difficult race to handicap, with 16 horses going for the victory in the $4 million, 1 1/2-mile jaunt on the grass. Initially, we had 18 contenders entered in the field, but United and Domestic Spending were both scratched by their connections.
We have a solid favorite in No. 13 Tarnawa (9-5), who won last year’s Turf event. However, she’s going to be hampered by the brutal post draw and will have to work out a perfect trip if she’s going to defend her title. She also prefers a softer ground compared to the firm turf she’ll encounter at Del Mar.
That said, I’ve landed on No. 12 Teona (8-1) to pull off the upset. The Irish standout. She will be looking for her third consecutive win after stunning Epsom Oaks (G1) winner Snowfall in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (G1) on Sept. 12 at Longchamp. I love the fact she’s only 3 years old, which means there’s less mileage on those legs. Take a shot on this classy European visitor.
The Picks: 12-13-7-11
Race No. 12 — Classic
8:40 p.m. ET, NBC
Trainer Brad Cox sends out the two top betting choices in this year’s $6 million Classic, including morning-line favorite No. 5 Knicks Go (5-2). However, I’ve got my circle around the other Cox charge — No. 4 Essential Quality (3-1) — and made him my top pick.
The talented 3-year-old gray colt, who finished fourth in this year’s Kentucky Derby, has victories in the Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy and Travers Stakes on his decorated résumé. The son of champion sire Tapit has earned six wins in seven career starts, and should be able to work out an ideal trip in this two-turn race going 1 1/4 miles.
I fully expect the Goldolphin-owned horse to sit on or right off the lead among a group featuring Go Knicks, No. 8 Medina Spirit (4-1) and rival No. 3 Hot Rod Charlie (4-1) before jockey Luis Saez makes his move as they hit the top of the stretch.
Chances are his odds won’t drift much either way, so I’d pounce on this number while it’s there. Bottom line, Expect Essential Quality to back up his bullet drills/workouts ahead of this huge battle of champions and secure the victory by a couple of lengths.
The Picks: 4-3-5-8
My Saturday Breeders’ Cup Bets
Race No. 9 Mile
$8 Win | Place | Show: No. 3 Space Blues
$2 Exacta Box: 1-3-6-9-10-12
Race No. 10 Distaff
$10 Win | Place | Show: No. 6 Letruska
$2 Exacta Box: 3-6-8 | 1-3-5-6-8-11
$0.50 Trifecta Box: 3-5-6-8-11
Race No. 11 Turf
$10 Win | Place | Show: No. 12 Teona
$2 Exacta : 7-12-13 | 7-8-10-11-12-13
Race No. 12 Classic
$20 Win | Place | Show: No. 4 Essential Quality
$1 Trifecta Box (play for $0.50 for a smaller investment): 1-3-4-5-8
Pick 4 (Races 9-10-11-12)
Wager: $0.50 for $75 investment
Race 9: 1-3-6-9-12
Race 10: 6-8
Race 11: 7-10-11-12-13
Race 12: 1-3-4-5-8