11/05/2009 2:35PM

The BC Jockey Bet


The Breeders' Cup is dipping a toe into proposition wagering this year by offering a new bet on which jockey will win the most Cup races Friday and Saturday. My initial inclination was to dismiss it is a silly distraction, but the wager might be more interesting than it first appears.

One word of warning: The bet won't be available everywhere -- New York, Arizona and a few individual tracks including Canterbury and Emerald Downs won't offer it. Also, especially with the bet having received little publicity and its closing at post time for the Marathon, the pool could be very small and prices skewed.

Here's how it works. You bet on which of 13 pre-selected jockeys, or an "all others" mutuel field that's the 14th and final betting interest, will win the most out of the 14 races over two days. If there's a tie -- let's say three of the 13 selected riders each win two races -- there are no tiebreakers and it pays off as a dead heat.

Here are the "entries" for each of the 14 betting interests this year including the Breeders' Cup's morning- line odds on the proposition. Garrett Gomez, who has a Cup-high 11 mounts (plus one also-eligible) is the 3-1 ML favorite:

(Program betting numbers were assigned at random; it might be better to list the riders alphabetically in the future, the way horses are in prop bets such as the Derby Futures.)

If I could bet into the morning line, I would leave the Empire State and make my biggest bet of the weekend on the mutuel field at 8-1, which I think should be the clear favorite over any of the 13 individual riders. And I'm not just saying that because a surprising 6 of my 14 "picks" are in it. It's a 54-horse entry (50 if you don't count the also-eligibles) with representation in all 14 races, 13 horses at 4-1 or less and four morning-line favorites (Blind Luck, California Flag, Zensational, Goldikova.)

As a group the 13 individual riders rate to win a majority of the races, but the field seems to me to have a better chance of winning more than any one of those 13. You obviously have to win more than one race to be the winner -- the chances of a 14-way tie and a $2.10 minus-pool payoff are astronomical -- and that could be tough for some of the individuals.

Mike Smith, for example, is listed at 12-1 on the strength of riding Zenyatta in the Classic, but even if you love her to win the race, what are the chances of Smith's scoring with any of the six other longshots he's riding? If I were looking for an individual to back, I'd say Ryan Moore at 20-1 is a better bet to win two races than Smith at 12-1, because Conduit will be heavily favored in the Turf and Zacinto is the legitimate second or third choice to Goldikova in the Mile.

"The bet is a way for the Breeders' Cup and racing to extend our efforts into prop bets," said Ken Kirchner, who oversees Cup wagering. " We've done horses with Head2Head, Future Bets, and this is an extension of that.  Why cede this territory to the bookmakers and off-shores?  We don't expect a lot of handle but we want to establish that we can do it."

The bet may at first seem silly if you think of it as wagering on the "best" jockey; this is horse racing. If you think of it as a derivative of the results of those races, it could be a wager that offers some value. To me, 8-1 on the field would be the best bet of the weekend.

[Update 6 pm: For the six commenters who wrote to say that I misunderstood the bet and that ONE rider from the field would have to win the most races: No, it's cumulative for the entire field, which I just verified with Ken Kirchner. If five different jockeys in the field ride one winner each, that's five winners for #14.]

AReasonablySmartMan More than 1 year ago
I agree with s_metcalf. This was an ill-conceived bet administered by "dunderheads" at BC. How could Julian Leparoux be declared the winner of the Shoemaker Award (for jockey with most wins) on the TV broadcast and have the stupid rules in place confusing us bettors. Maybe I'm just too old to understand but as a forty year plus racetrack fan...I'm disgusted with BC management who evidently can't get out of their own way.
s Metcalf More than 1 year ago
Well, the "commentors" wont the only ones who got it wrong.. I confirmed with 4 different PM clerks, and the people in the information windows, that the Jockey with the most wins would win. I asked, if G Gomez won 3 races, and 4 of the jockeys not listed won once, who would win, and all 6 people said Gomez. I then placed a $10 win on Leperoux, only to be told the new rules by the PM department after the classic. Just what racing needs, a shell game. It will be 20 more years before I'll ever return to Sanata Anita, or trust horse racing officials.. Oak Tree doesnt qualify to run donky racing, yet alone a Breeders Cup
Bruce Friday More than 1 year ago
One can calculate "fair odds" in the jockey race based on the M/L of the horses they are riding. The only overlays based on this calculation are Rosario at 50:1 and "Other" at 8:1. Here's the list of fair odds: Jockey.......M/L...Fair Odds Gomez........ 3....... 8 Castellano... 50 ..... 57 Bejarano.... 40 ..... 49 Desormeaux. 10 .... 18 Murtagh ..... 6 ..... 14 Dettori ...... 6 ..... 12 Velasquez .. 15 .... 18 Moore ....... 20 .... 27 Rosario ..... 50 .... 40 Smith ....... 12 .... 37 Leparoux .... 6 .... 13 Garcia ...... 30 .... 35 Maragh ...... 15 .... 17 Other ........ 8 ...... 2 8:1 on "other" would be a gift on a 36% probability outcome. Does anyone know what the "vig" is on this bet?
ponyman More than 1 year ago
41.4 for a half--Cal Flag blows them away. The only thing faster might be a Lamborghina. Joe Talamo take it to them. Great racing to all--Only playing the weeds-except for. classic. RVW at the line.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
I like Gio Ponte too, but one does have to be realistic about his chances on the artificial stuff. His win was a G3 off-the-turf affair. In his only race where he was pointed toward the synthetic, he was fifth to Cowboy Cal who would probably be 40-1 in here.
bobm toga More than 1 year ago
on bc cards i will be playing the following longshots in exotics etc.. if a few can hit the board i could have a good few days.. bc juv turf.. la nez (20-1) improving filly who ran within a head to blind luck, who is one of the favorites in the juv filly. if she can take to the turf she can run well, trainer is also hot at this meet.. juv filly... number 12 biofuel (15-1) likes poly and ran within a few lengths of negligee in canada and that one came back to win at keeneland. his last race looks good and he is working well.. he is closer so the outside post should not hurt. ladies classic... rainbow view (6-1)..to me the only horse who can upset the top 2 as she has run within a few lengths of goldikova and 1 1/8 could be the right distance.. juv turf.. codoy (15-1). if the last race is to be believed he has a chance and you get gomez . terrific tomlinson . will play with the euros.. turf sprint.. lord shanakill (8-1).. proven miler running against best in the world overseas. working great .. crazy race. hoping to get higher price than 8 to 1.. juvenile.. aikenite (8-1) have followed him since his maiden win at the spa. awful trip in hopeful and nice stratch run at keeneland, hopefully showing he can run on the poly.. like his closing kick.. also give the euro vale of york a shot at 20-1.. mile turf.. justenuffhumor (10-1) could not be as bad as his last race and deserves another shot. will play with the favorite and hope for the best.. classic. einstein (12-1) is a very consistent horse and can run on the poly at this track as he did winning the big cap in march.. think he will get a nice midpack trip and will be in front in upper stretch.. heres hoping he can hold on for the victory.. good luck to everybody.. i am definitely playing way less then a normal breeders cup. between the track and the way the races came up lacking in big competitive fields in like the turf/sprint/ladies etc..
J.C. More than 1 year ago
Steve or anyone: I hold a strong opinion that Zenyatta will finish out of the money in the classic, what would be some interesting ways to play the Classic holding this view - box 3 or 4 horses other in the exacta, maybe make my first show bet in many years as Breeders' Cup show pools can be interesting? It seems everyone I talk to is head over heels over Zenyatta. And although she has home track advantage as usual, I'm guessing she will be a huge underlay. And as Steve noted earlier in the blog, she has more to lose than gain in the risk - reward scenerio. Also in her last 8 races she was sent off at less than even money. I'm leaning toward Rip Van Winkle, Twice Over, Summer Bird and Quality Road.
Robert More than 1 year ago
Betting is never silly. A true gambler will bet on ants racing across the sidewalk.
Ogygian23 More than 1 year ago
Ahhh, what's the takeout on this less than intriguing wager?
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
tom_mcdonough "so,what is the real story about rip van winkle's feet" i'm no racist,but i say beware of irishmen talking down there horse b 4 a big race...bad foot my arse! looking 4 some odds now,perhaps,are ye laddie?