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2021 Breeders’ Cup Best Bets: Essential Quality Offers Solid Value

SI Betting handicaps some of the top races from Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup from Del Mar, including the latest odds and best bets.

Horse racing fans will be treated to arguably the biggest weekend of the year with the Breeders’ Cup taking place Friday and Saturday at Del Mar. Several races among the 12 featured on Saturday's card offer tremendous betting opportunities.

Before you head to the betting window this weekend, you need to pay attention to these Best Bets from Sports Illustrated’s top horse racing handicapper Frankie Taddeo.

Our Senior Gambling Analyst and Vegas Insider nailed Medina Spirit ($26.20) as his top choice in the Kentucky Derby, which also served up the exacta at odds of 251/1! His top long shot Rombauer ($26.50) won the Preakness Stakes, helping all SI Betting members hit the exacta (49/1) and the ‘bomb’ trifecta play (162/1)!

Let’s dive right in!

Check the Odds from SI Sportsbook

Breeders' Cup Distaff

Racetrack: Del Mar; San Diego, Calif.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
Purse: $2,000,000
Distance: 1 1/8 F, Dirt
Race: 10
Post Time: 7 p.m. ET

According to the oddsmakers, Letruska (8/5) is the prohibitive favorite to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff for trainer Fausto Gutierrez. The daughter of Super Saver has drawn the six hole in an expected field of 11.

She has looked superb this year, winning six of seven starts, including four Grade 1 victories—including most recently the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10.

One of the biggest threats to Letruska is Shedaresthedevil (4/1), who is four for five in her career working for trainer Brad Cox. Among her wins include a victory over Letruska in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March. However, the classy Letruska turned the tables in the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park in June, beating Shedaresthedevil by more than 10 lengths.

Dunbar Road (15/1) is an intriguing play after finishing second to Letruska in the Spinster Stakes. This son of Quality Road for trainer Chad Brown will be looking to break his maiden in his fifth career race with jockey Jose Ortiz in the saddles.

Who will cross the finish line first? Let’s take a look at the odds and dive deeper.

HORSES OF NOTE: Listed by post number, name, and odds

#6 Letruska (8/5) - The formula suggests this gal, one of my best bets of the entire Breeders’ Cup weekend, is simply the best horse in this race and drawn in perfectly. BEST BET

#11 Dunbar Road (15/1) - This maiden must be respected on all tickets and is a legitimate contender to win the race. Chad Brown has this boy training great, and at these double-digit odds he is a solid choice to juice up the exacta. THREAT

#8 Shedaresthedevil (4/1) - This gal has a victory over Letruska, but I believe what we witnessed in June will show a repeat in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. UNDERNEATH

Distaff Formula Rankings

SI Recommends

  • #6 Letruska
  • #11 Dunbar Road
  • #8 Shedaresthedevil
  • #2 Royal Flag
  • #3 Malathaat
  • #1 Private Mission

BY THE NUMBERS : EQUIBASE TOP SPEED FIGURES

distaff

Breeders Cup Distaff Betting Breakdown

There are vulnerable favorites all over the Breeders’ Cup weekend cards, but I do not see it in the Distaff. My top play and my BEST BET for Saturday is #6 Letruska (8/5) who I will be betting to win and then keying on top of #11 Dunbar Road (15/1) and #8 Shedaresthedevil (4/1).

WIN BET: #6

Exacta Part-Wheel: 6 /1,2,3,8,11

$1 wager: $5

TOP Trifecta Part-Wheel: 6 with 2,8,11 with 1,2,3,8,11

$1 wager: $12

All wagers display ticket cost. All bettors should adjust wager amounts based upon bankroll


Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

Racetrack: Del Mar; San Diego. Calif.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
Purse: $1,000,000
Distance: 1 Mile, Dirt
Race: 6
Post Time: 4:19 p.m. ET

According to the oddsmakers, Life Is Good (4/5) is the prohibitive favorite to win the Dirt Mile for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Into Mischief will be breaking from post No. 5 in a field of eight. He has been dominant this year and might just be the best horse in the country.

According to my model, Silver State (7/2) for trainer Steve Asmussen is easily the biggest threat to Life Is Good. He has improved in each of his last three starts, including a third-place finish to Knicks Go in the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga in August.

Eight Rings (10/1) is an intriguing addition to exotic tickets as he looks to be in peak form for trainer Bob Baffert.

Who will cross the finish line first? Let’s take a look at the odds and dive deeper.

HORSES OF NOTE: Listed by post number, name, and odds

#5 Life Is Good (4/5) - The formula suggests this son of Into Mischief, one of my best bets on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup card, is simply the best horse in this race. BEST BET

#1 Silver State (7/2) - This colt must be respected on all tickets and is a legitimate contender to win. Steve Asmussen has this boy training great and we know he always brings a solid effort evidenced by hitting the board in all six career races. THREAT

#8 Eight Rings (10/1) - Baffert should always be respected on big race days, and any time you find a ‘live’ entry at double-digit odds you need to include it on all exotic wagers. UNDERNEATH

Dirt Mile Formula Rankings

  • #5 Life Is Good
  • #1 Silver State
  • #8 Eight Rings
  • #3 Ginobili

BY THE NUMBERS : EQUIBASE TOP SPEED FIGURES

mile

Dirt Mile Betting Breakdown

One of my top plays for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup card is #5 Life Is Good (4/5) who I will be betting to win, and then keying on top of #1 Silver State (7/2), #3 Ginobili (4/1) and #8 Eight Rings (10/1).

WIN BET: #5

Exacta Part-Wheel: 5 / 1,3,8

$1 wager: $3

TOP Trifecta Part-Wheel: 5 with 1,3,8 with 1,3,8

$1 wager: $6

All wagers display ticket cost. All bettors should adjust wager amounts based upon bankroll


Breeders' Cup Classic

Racetrack: Del Mar; San Diego, Calif
Date: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
Purse: $6,000,000
Distance: 1 ¼ M, Dirt
Race: 12
Post Time: 8:40 pm ET

The morning-line favorite is Brad Cox’s Knicks Go (5/2) colt, who will be looking to make it four consecutive wins. Knicks Go, a son of Paynter, comes into the Breeders' Cup Classic off wins in the Lukas Classic Stakes and the Whitney Stakes

According to my model, Essential Quality (3/1) for trainer Steve Asmussen is easily the biggest threat to Knicks Go. As the second-overall betting choice, bettors find solid value on possibly the Horse of the Year if he can find the winners circle like he did in the Belmont Stakes.

The pace of the race should be hot and heavy as Hot Rod Charlie, Knicks Go and Essential Quality should all be forwardly placed and vie for the early lead. The discussion as to who will be able to gain the early lead and become the lone pacesetter is up for debate.

Who will cross the finish line first? Let’s take a look at the odds and dive deeper.

HORSES OF NOTE: Listed by post number, name, and odds

#2 Essential Quality (3/1) - The post-time favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby ran a disappointing fourth for all chalk players. This son of Tapit, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a two-year-old, has since earned wins in the Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy and Travers Stakes earlier this year. Cox has this horse, who has won six of seven career races, posting bullet workouts leading up to the race. At odds of 3/1, Essential Quality offers immense value in the Classic. TOP CONTENDER

#4 Knicks Go (5/2) - This colt must be respected on all tickets and is a legitimate contender to win the race. Asmussen has this boy training great and we know he always brings a solid effort evidenced by winning three straight races. THREAT

#3 Hot Rod Charlie (4/1) - The son of Oxbow was last seen winning the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 25. In 2020, he shocked many people when he finished second to Essential Quality in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at odds of 94/1. Off a top career number (120) in the Pennsylvania Derby, the connections of Flavien Prat and Doug O'Neill must be included on all exotic tickets. UNDERNEATH

Dirt Mile Formula Rankings

  • #2 Essential Quality
  • #4 Knicks Go
  • #3 Hot Rod Charlie
  • #6 Art Collector
  • #9 Max Player

BY THE NUMBERS : EQUIBASE TOP SPEED FIGURES

classic

Classic Betting Breakdown

The Classic is easily the best race of the entire Breeders’ Cup weekend and I believe it will be won by either #2 Essential Quality (3/1) or #4 Knicks Go (5/2). I will key both on top of #3 Hot Rod Charlie (4/1), #6 Art Collector (8/1) and #9 Max Player (8/1)

TOP Exacta Box: 2-4

Exacta Part-Wheel: 2,4 / 2,3,4,6,9

$1 wager: $10

TOP Trifecta Part-Wheel: 2,4 with 2,4 with 2,3,4,6,9

$1 wager: $6

SPREAD Trifecta Part-Wheel: 2,4 with 2,3,4,6,9 with 2,3,4,6,9

$1 wager: $24

PROTECTIVE Trifecta Box: 2-3-4-6-9

¢50 cent wager: $15

All wagers display ticket cost. All bettors should adjust wager amounts based upon bankroll

Good Luck!

Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.

Check the Odds from SI Sportsbook

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