Breeders’ Cup Betting – Adding Head-to-Head Match-ups to Your Wagering Fun



The Breeders' Cup is one of the richest days in racing and for seven races over two days there are head-to-head match-ups . . . and betting.

Head to Head horse racing match-ups available for Breeders' Cup betting

I’m on site as credentialed media at Churchill Downs for the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships. It’s been overcast and cool in the 50’s and rained much of the day Thursday as the track came up sloppy. But Friday has limited precipitation with cloudy skies and Saturday should be clear of rain (hopefully) as the world’s best thoroughbreds take to the track in one of the biggest days in racing. The race betting will be robust, and you don’t have to have much of a bankroll to enjoy the races while adding a few wagers of interest to your fun.

This link shows the added head-to-head match-ups, which provide another wagering opportunity while limiting your choices and not having to pick the winner of the race.

Similar to sports betting, the head-to-head match-ups provide potential racing newcomers or those that enjoy sports betting an opportunity to pick the winner between two horses; a theoretical 50/50 chance of winning.

I’m a professional sports handicapper, and don’t study the racing form or profess to be any horse racing expert. I don’t wager much on the horses, and you won’t see me laying hundreds of dollars or more chasing an exotic score. It’s a tough game to beat this Sport of Kings, and the takeout from the track along with so many racing variables and horse racing luck make it such that the less informed have virtually no chance of winning over the long run. If you bet the races and are more serious, at least consider some of the professionals who put in the time and effort to dig deeper into the handicapping of horse racing and even spend time reviewing race replays and understanding the many aspects of racing and handicapping.

Breeders Cup head to head bettingThat’s where I’ve been fortunate to connect to some respected race and sports handicappers and sports betting experts. And one thing always comes forward for those top pros that look for an edge and advantage – they search for value and make bets accordingly, and let the chips fall where they may.

There are seven races at this year’s Breeders’ Cup that offer head-to-head wagering. Pick the winner of the match-up and you cash. Minimum $10 bet with just a 10% takeout, and you can focus more on these two horses in both your handicap and setup of the race, and when watching as they sprint down the stretch and you watch the finish unfold. However, with four of the head-to-head features pitting the U.S. horses against European entrants, you’ll have to have a little more insight into the style of racing and starters for more horses.

Friday, Nov. 2
Race 6 - Juvenile Fillies Turf: USA (1) vs Europe (2)
Race 8 - Juvenile Turf: USA (1) vs. Europe (2)
Race 9 - Sentient Jet Juvenile: Complexity (1) vs. Game Winner (2)

Saturday, Nov. 3 
Race 6 - Maker's Mark Filly and Mare Turf: USA (1) vs. Europe (2)
Race 8 - Mile: USA (1) vs. Europe (2)
Race 10 - Longines Turf: Enable (GB) (1) vs. the Field (2)
Race 11 - Classic:  Mendelssohn (1) vs. Thunder Snow (2)

Bet Breeders' Cup horse matchups at one of these Elite-rated sportsbooks!

Let’s take a shot at the three features which offer head-to-head betting on individual match-ups between two horses with one of those pitting one colt (Enable) against the entire field.

Friday’s $2 million Sentient Jet Juvenile has the morning line favorite as No. 9 Game Winner (8-5), who will be one of the most popular bets of the day. But we’ll side with No. 6 Complexity (5-2), who has been untouchable at both Saratoga and Belmont, as well as sprinting and routing. He should relax at this 1 1/16 mile distance and have a good kick when the real running begins down the stretch. No. 11 Code of Honor has been scratched from the race.  
Match-up Pick: Complexity

Saturday’s two richest races offer match-up wagering on the $4 million Longines Turf and the $6 million Classic.

The Longines Turf match-up features the magnificent mare Enable (1-1), an even money favorite against the field. Much can go wrong in a horse race, and favorites win about one in three races. At last year’s Breeders’ Cup, just one favorite won in 14 races. Enable has won 9-of-10 lifetime starts, but makes her U.S. debut at Churchill Downs in the biggest race of the year. Not easy picking against arguably the best horse in the world, and Enable beat the boys in her second start this year following an 11 month layoff in the Oct. 7 Group 1 Arc de Triomphe. Still, prove it again against the best turf horses including last year’s Longines Turf winner Talismanic.
Match-up Pick: Field

The Breeders’ Cup Classic is most anticipated, and two European runners are featured in this head2head match-up. Mendelssohn is familiar to this year’s followers of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and he was a major flop as the co-second betting choice while finishing last in the Derby. He makes up for it the Breeders’ Cup, as he’s in good form and finished in the money in each of his U.S. races since the Derby. That includes a 2nd place finish in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga. Fairways’ facts note that each of the last eight Breeders’ Cup Classic winners competed at Saratoga. Mendelsson (12-1) doesn’t have to beat the top older horses to win our bet, including favorite Accelerate or West Coast. Mendelssohn jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aiden O’Brien give us an edge over Thunder Snow (12-1) connections, and O'Brien says Mendelssohn has had two big bits of work as they've pointed this massive $3 million colt towards this Breeders' Cup race and he's moving forward in his development. Thunder Snow has started just 2 of 20 lifetime races in the U.S. A flop in the 2017 Kentucky Derby when he had a troubled start and did not finish, and a 2nd place finish just in front of Mendelssohn in the Belmont Jockey Club Gold Cup at this same 1 ¼ mile distance Sept. 29. Thunder Snow is a year older and finding his stride, but we side with improving Mendelssohn, who will need to relax and keep from pushing to hard in a faster pace to have something left down the stretch.  

Matchup Pick: Mendelssohn

FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay