09/23/2010 7:13PM

A Better Betting Cup


The Breeders' Cup today announced the race schedules and betting menus for Nov. 5 and 6 at Churchill Downs, and there's a lot for horseplayers to like, particularly when it comes to betting minimums, guaranteed pools and even field size.

As the charts below illustrate, trifectas, pick-3's and pick-4's will all be available in 50-cent minimums for the first time this year, and five pick-4 and pick-6 pools will be guaranteed at a total of $6 million. Also, all Breeders' Cup fields will accomodate up to 14 starters, whereas some races had been limited to 12 starters in the past:


The 50-cent minimums, a good idea in general, are particularly welcome on the Breeders' Cup, where the races are so full and contentious that many everyday horseplayers have felt priced out of their usual comfort zone in playing multirace and multihorse bets.

The other huge advantage of these minimums is that they will subject fewer payoffs to IRS withholding and reporting. So even if you want to play tris, pick-3's and pick-4's for more than 50 cents per combination, you'd be wise to buy multiple tickets at the lower minimums.

Perhaps the BC's endorsement of fractional betting will awaken the few major jurisdictions (primarily New York) that have yet to offer the lower-minimum bets. If they still stubbornly don't want to change the minimums on their own daily product, they will at least have to secure regulatory approval and reprogram their totes to accept Breeders' Cup bets at the same minimums as the rest of the country.


--I'll be in Toronto this weekend doing a couple of seminars: Saturday from 11 am to noon at Woodbine, on the third floor of the grandstand, and Sunday at the Greenwood Teletheatre from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

I'll talk about some stakes races but the best part of these gatherings is taking questions from the audience, so we'll talk about whatever you'd like.

Greenwood is hosting a live-bankroll handicapping tournament Sunday (click here for rules) with the top two finishers earning berths in the 2011 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.