Updated on 09/17/2011 11:02AM

Three weekends to get down early


Betting on the first round of this year's opens on Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern, with bets being accepted all weekend on four of the Breeders' Cup races.

The betting will open almost three months to the day from the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup at Oak Tree at Santa Anita in Southern California. The four races being offered on the initial weekend are the Classic, Turf, Distaff, and Sprint.

Minimum bet for the wager is $2, and takeout will be 15.43 percent. Because of the nature of future betting, no refunds will be issued. Betting closes at 9 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, allowing handicappers to digest the weekend's action in both the United States and Europe.

As in last year's Breeders' Cup future wager and the Kentucky Derby future bet, each race includes 23 individual horses and a field entry. Payouts will be based on the parimutuel odds at the close of betting Sunday.

The Classic field was hit with a late scratch on Wednesday, reducing that field to 22 individuals, when Dollar Bill was removed from the betting. His trainer, Bobby Frankel, was quoted in published reports as saying the horse would be laid off for two or more months because of an undisclosed injury.

Breeders' Cup tweaked the future bet somewhat this year by grouping four races on three weekends, rather than have three races on four weekends. Bettors will have a chance to wager on the Classic, Turf, Distaff, and Sprint once again on the weekend of Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

The other four races on the Breeders' Cup card will be offered only once, over the weekend of Sept. 19-21. Betting that weekend will feature the Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Filly and Mare Turf, and Mile.

Last year, total betting over the four weekends was $530,541, a total that was a bit disappointing to Breeders' Cup. This year, Breeders' Cup officials are hopeful that scheduling the first wager on the opening weekends of both Del Mar and Saratoga Race Course will help boost the wagering totals.

Breeders' Cup officials have said that the bet will be offered at nearly every parimutuel wagering outlet in the country. Bettors should ask for the Breeders' Cup future bet, and then name the race number and the betting number of the horse. The Classic will be designated race 1, the Distaff will be race 2, the Sprint will be race 3, and the Turf will be race 4. Betting numbers for individual horses are available at a number of online sites and in Daily Racing Form.