Breeders Cup Betting

The Breeders’ Cup World Championship is the most prestigious and popular betting event of the year. Outside of the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Cup is arguably the most popular horse racing betting event of the year for US race fans.

Horse racing can be quite intimidating to bet on if you are new to the sport, but the main thing is that it can be a lot of fun too! Our experts have pulled together all the essential information you need to know about betting on the Breeders Cup.

About Breeders’ Cup

Every sport has its year-ending event at which the champions are crowned. For horse racing, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the culmination of the season worldwide, and it is distinguished by the six million dollar Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The history of the Breeders’ Cup goes back to 1982. In 1982, a group of horse racing leaders fronted by John R. Gaines, the founding father of the Breeders’ Cup and former owner of Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, met in the wake of the first running at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.

The group envisioned a vehicle to promote their sport. They wanted to showcase all of the best elements of the sport, and they wanted it to be a grand finale for the racing season.

The inaugural Breeders’ Cup took place in 1984 at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California, and was filled with 64,254 spectators to see the event. It was an instant hit and has become the flagship event of the year, hosting championship racing that benefits owners and breeders alike.

Today, the purses for the fifteen races total $30 million, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic purse a staggering $6 million, with a winner’s share of over $3 million.

After Hollywood Park, the Breeders’ Cup moved to a different venue every year. As a result, the event has been hosted at the following North American venues:

  • 2020 – Keeneland
  • 2019 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2018 – Churchill Downs
  • 2017 – Del Mar
  • 2016 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2015 – Keeneland
  • 2014 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2013 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2012 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2011 – Churchill Downs
  • 2010 – Churchill Downs
  • 2009 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2008 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2007 – Monmouth Park
  • 2006 – Churchill Downs
  • 2005 – Belmont Park
  • 2004 – Lone Star Park
  • 2003 – Santa Anita Park
  • 2002 – Arlington Park
  • 2001 – Belmont Park
  • 2000 – Churchill Downs
  • 1999 – Gulfstream Park
  • 1998 – Churchill Downs
  • 1997 – Hollywood Park
  • 1996 – Woodbine Racetrack
  • 1995 – Belmont Park
  • 1994 – Churchill Downs
  • 1993 – Santa Anita Park
  • 1992 – Gulfstream Park
  • 1991 – Churchill Downs
  • 1990 – Belmont Park
  • 1989 – Gulfstream Park
  • 1988 – Churchill Downs
  • 1987 – Hollywood Park
  • 1986 – Santa Anita Park
  • 1985 – Aqueduct Racetrack
  • 1984 – Hollywood Park

At the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, horses come from all over to compete. And they’re no small-time competitors. Horses have come from Japan, Ireland, France, and Germany to compete in the championships. The races are televised on both NBC and ESPN and are broadcast in 25 countries.

The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships are sure to go down as one of the most memorable. For the ninth time, the event was held in the majestic San Gabriel Mountains of Santa Anita Park before a record two-day crowd of 118,484 spectators.

Each year the popularity of the events seems to grow with punters. The 2021 Breeders Cup saw a total of $182,908,409 wagered, beating the previous record of $174,628,986, set in 2019.

The Breeders’ Cup has achieved what its founders set out to do and more. The now-iconic event has become the most successful showcase of horse racing champions globally after 32 successful years.

Key Races

There are many Breeders’ Cup races over two days; here are the major ones to look out for.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

The Classic is by far the most significant event on the Breeders’ Cup card. Prize money of $3.3 million goes to the winner, and the total purse is $6 million. Again, US-bred horses are usually the most successful.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

A European horse has been dominant in this race; the last 6 winners have all been trained in Europe except for Chad Brown’s Bricks and Mortar, who won in 2019. This race is a 12-furlong sprint and has a prize pool of $4 million.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

Run a mile on the Juvenile Turf course, restricted to male two-year-olds, and you might find a future superstar. The Juvenile Turf is seen as the perfect preparation as many of these horses often come back as three-year-olds to compete in the Breeders’ Cup.

Fire At Will won in 2020 for American trainer Michael Maker, but it is a race that Europeans have exploited in recent years. Charlie Appleby took the 2018 renewal with Line Of Duty, while Mendelssohn won in 2017 for Aidan O’Brien.

Breeders’ Cup Mile

From 2008–2010, Goldikova, a famous thoroughbred racehorse, dominated the mile. She is the first horse to win three consecutive renewals of a Breeders’ Cup race.

Two horses that have won the event in recent years are John Gosden’s Expert Eye and Aidan O’Brien’s Order of Australia.

Breeders’ Cup Sprint

One of the most exciting races of Breeders’ Cup weekend, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is a six-furlong race for speedy horses.

Only two horses have won this race more than once, Roy H and Midnight Lute. Bob Baffert has also won the race five times.

Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Turf

The European raiders have swept the last few years in this race, with three of four winners from the UK or Ireland. Wuheida and Iridessa took it in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

How To Pick An Online Breeders Cup Betting Site

A good betting site will offer various races to bet on while keeping the experience simple and clean. An excellent betting site will also have good odds, which we cover in-depth in our reviews section.


Before gambling on an online site, make sure they’re licensed. All of the sites we feature hold valid licenses to provide online gambling services.

Deposit Options

To find the best site for betting, sites have a wide selection of deposit and withdrawal options. In addition, mobile betting is becoming more popular, so find sites that allow you to make deposits on your mobile.

Welcome Offers & Bonuses

One of the most significant advantages to gambling online is that many betting sites will give you a welcome offer when you signup for an account with them for the first time. These offers are a great way to place a free bet on your favorite race at the Breeders’ Cup.


When choosing a betting site, take note of the browser compatibility. A good website is always reliable and has an easy-to-navigate interface. Mobile-friendly websites are also important because they are easy to use for newcomers.

Customer Service

Choose a site that is customer-friendly and offers 24-hour support to its users. A good betting site offers all those things that a user can’t get in the offline sportsbook. So, choose one where you can get an email and a live chat facility. 

States Where It is Legal to Bet on the Breeders’ Cup

The legality of online and off-track horse racing betting is decided at the state level. Some states regulate it, others prohibit it, and many have little to say about the matter one way or another. The main thing about online and sports betting apps that are legal is the ability to place advanced deposit wagers (ADWs).

As a result, not all betting websites are available for everyone. However, if you’re interested in betting on the Breeders’ Cup online, check out the information below to see where an online or mobile betting operator is available.


There are no legal sportsbook websites in Alabama that take bets from state residents, but you can bet on horse racing events. So that means you can bet on all the races from the Breeders’ Cup. In addition, the State has numerous advance deposit wagering (ADW) platforms for you to use at your convenience.

Pari-mutuel wagering is permitted in Alabama, and racetrack operators are issued licenses by the state government.


You can’t bet on horse racing or gamble online in Alaska. The only legal alternative to betting is daily fantasy sports.


2021 saw the launch of sports betting in Arizona. Mobile betting and retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos and some sports stadiums are permitted by state law across the State. In September 2021, the first sports betting apps in Arizona went live.

Arizona has a rich gambling scene. Besides daily fantasy sports, the other options are tribal casinos, pari-mutuel horse racing betting, and the state lottery.


Until now, betting has been limited to horse racing, dog racing, and fantasy sports. Two different race tracks host live events and take bets on all upcoming horse races for those who want to place a bet in person. However, the best option for those looking to place an online bet is to visit a licensed horse racing website.

There is only in person sports betting available, so it means a trip to the casino if you wpari-mutuele a bet on the Breeders Cup.


California currently has daily fantasy sports and horse racing betting available in-state. For in-person gambling, there are tribal casinos, racetracks, card rooms, and the state lottery.

Unfortunately, there are no legal online gambling establishments in California.


Fans can bet on horse races online through licensed betting websites. All Colorado horse racing betting sites, called advance deposit wagering providers, or ADWs, must hold valid Racing Division licenses to offer their services to Colorado residents.

Colorado residents can bet on horse races in person at OTBs, and at live events at the State’s single racetrack, Arapahoe Park in Aurora.


Residents of Connecticut can wager on horse races legally through a mobile app, online, or at one of the 16 off-track betting facilities. Unfortunately, the State no longer has any live horse racing tracks, so your betting options are OTBs and ADWs.

So residents can legally bet on the Breeders Cup and other major horse racing events.


Delaware residents and visitors can bet on sports, including horse racing, and gamble online. Not only is sports betting legal in Delaware, but horse racing is also a longstanding part of the gambling industry there. Visitors can place wagers at racetracks or use US-based websites.


Florida is a pari-mutuel betting state that does not regulate ADW horse race betting sites. However, horse racing is legal to bet on in Florida, and numerous ADW (horse racing online betting sites) cater to Floridians.

Florida has a great relationship with horse racing. Florida Derby, for example, is one of the sport’s most significant outside of the Triple Crown, so it is clear that Florida has a deep connection to horse racing.


Due to the State’s long anti-gambling history, legal betting has never been popular in Georgia.

Since horse racing is illegal, betting on it online is too. But, unfortunately, none of the country’s major betting websites accept Georgia bettors.


No gambling here! The Aloha State doesn’t have anything resembling a gambling industry. Strict gaming laws keep Hawaii free of any commercial or tribal gambling.


The State of Idaho has a lot of land-based gambling options, but there are few online gambling options. Mobile sports betting, daily fantasy sports gambling, and mobile sports betting are all prohibited by state law.

In Idaho, the only form of online gaming allowed is horse racing betting. In-person gambling options consist of trackside horse racing betting, seven tribal casinos, and Idaho’s Lottery. In addition, advance deposit wagering is permitted in Idaho so websites can accept wagers on pari-mutuel horse racing, either by phone or online.


Horse racing betting in Illinois is legal for the ages 18 and up. Residents have many ways to bet on races: in person at racetracks and OTBs or online through licensed ADWs (Advanced Deposit Wagering Operators).


There are many ways to bet on horse racing in Indiana. You can choose from gambling at a racetrack, an OTB, or an online betting site. There are 2 racetracks and 3 OTBs that you can visit to place your bets. Alternatively, there are licensed betting sites that will let you do it all from the comfort of your home.


In Iowa, in-person and online horse racing betting is legal for customers 21 years of age or older. Legal bets can be placed in person at racetracks and OTBs or online via mobile betting apps provided by ADWs.

Although the Iowa horse racing betting industry has had better days, the State still has plenty of fans. ADWs offer plenty of opportunities for people to place bets.


Kansas is a state with a rich history in pari-mutuel betting. However, all of its racetracks have been closed since 2008 due to poor revenue. So for those Kansans who want to place bets, the only options are online and mobile betting.


Currently, Kentucky residents can gamble legally in the following ways: Daily fantasy sports, pari-mutuel betting on horse races, and online lotteries. Kentucky is also home to many famous horse racing venues, including Churchill Downs in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky is a great state for racing. Visitors who go to the Kentucky racetracks can place bets in person, but everyone else can place their bets through the many online sites that are licensed to do business in Kentucky.


Louisiana has legalized mpari-mutuelrick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Louisiana’s first sportsbooks and mobile betting applications will debut in October 2021.

Daily fantasy sports and pari-mutuel horse racing wagering options are permissible to bet online in Louisiana. In addition, tribal casinos, riverboat casinos, racetrack casinos (racinos), and state lotteries are all types of land-based gambling.


Maine’s horse racing industry is in a tough spot. There are only two racing tracks and a handful of OTB locations that offer horse pari-mutuel wagering. However, one US-based betting site does operate in Maine and accepts customers 18 and up.


Maryland is the home of the annual Preakness Stakes, multiple world-class racetracks, and a robust horse racing betting industry. Horse racing has been popular in Maryland since its settlement by colonial settlers from England, who King Charles II told of the importance of horse breeding to the success of their colonization of the “New World.” Horse racing betting is permitted at racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and advance deposit wagering providers (online betting sites).

Horse racing betting has just gone digital, thanks to Maryland’s new law. Advance deposit wagering operators may take wagers online in the State if the Commission authorizes them.


Horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering are legal and regulated in Massachusetts. In addition, in-person wagering, simulcast wagering, and online betting are all legal if offered by licensed entities.

Under the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the Division of Racing regulates horse racing in the State, implements the law, adopts regulations as needed, and issues licenses to all racing industry employees.

Advance deposit wagering (ADW) in Massachusetts is available for customers 18 or older. Section 5C of Pari-mutuel horse racing deals with account wagering and lays out some basic regulations prohibiting betting sites from extending credit to customers.


Licensed sites and Northville Downs both provide safe, legal gambling on races held in Michigan and elsewhere. Mobile betting providers must be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to offer mobile services to customers who are 18 or older, residents of Michigan, and located within state lines.


Minnesota permits a variety of forms of online gambling, including fantasy sports and horse-racing betting. However, these sites and apps must acquire a license from the State before accepting bets from Minnesota residents.

Home to a burgeoning horse racing industry, Minnesota has two live racetracks that host thoroughbred and harness races. Both tracks permit pari-mutuel wagering, and US-based racing betting sites allow you to bet online.


While there are no horse or dog tracks in Mississippi, there are a few casinos in the State where you can gamble. Unfortunately, the Magnolia State explicitly prohibits online betting sites, so if you’re looking to bet online in Mississippi, you won’t be allowed to.


Online horse racing betting in Missouri is currently not legal. However, you can still bet on horses at Missouri pari-mutuel horse races, but you’ll need to go to the venue to do so.


Parimutuel wagering is permitted in Montana, a relatively tiny horse racing sector, through OTB stores and authorized racing betting websites. The State of Montana is not a big horse racing center, but people can still place bets on races that take place both in and outside of their borders.

Before the legalization of sports wagering in Montana in 2019, only horse racing betting was permissible online. However, several big horse racing websites allow clients from Montana to place bets on races at racetracks around the United States and the world.

Online and mobile race betting companies are actively licensed in Montana. In addition, the MT Board of Horse Racing maintains a list of approved advance deposit wagering (ADW) companies.


Nebraska sportsbooks will accept wagers in-person only, with horse racing betting sites and daily fantasy sports apps remaining the only alternative forms of legal online betting.


In Nevada, gambling is not just an in-person hobby. There are also legal online betting options for games like poker and horse racing. However, in-state operators can’t offer daily fantasy sports, so the giants DraftKings and FanDuel won’t be in Nevada anytime soon.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, horse racing betting is legal, but there are no live racing facilities. As a result, there have been many tracks closures over the years, and all venues have permanently closed.

Even though no tracks are operating in New Hampshire, it doesn’t mean that horse racing has slowed down. The Racing and Charitable Gaming division of the NH Lottery Commission is still overseeing races bets at the remaining OTB venues.

With DraftKings as its first (and so far only) partner to offer retail sportsbooks and online betting, the state lottery oversees sports betting in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

One of the more permissive jurisdictions in the United States regarding gambling, New Jersey is known as the Garden State for its legal wagering on horse racing. There are several horse betting sites and mobile apps available to NJ bettors.

Besides the racetracks, New Jersey maintains a network of off-track gambling locations, and people may gamble on a variety of platforms online, including the New Jersey Lottery.

The State of New Jersey is the only one in the United States that allows horse racing exchange wagering via, a system that gives fixed odds betting rather than the fluid odds typical of pari-mutuel gambling.

New Mexico

Some of the country’s major race betting websites are based in New Mexico, despite the State not authorizing advance deposit wagering (online betting). Legislation aimed at regulating ADWs has been proposed in New Mexico, but none has been signed into law.

The State’s government is willing to allow tribal casinos to run sportsbooks as existing state-tribal gaming compacts cover sports betting.

New York

Horse racing betting is a widespread and popular activity in New York. Fans can bet in many ways, including at racetracks, pari-mutuel betting parlors, or online through authorized mobile apps.

The New York State Gaming Commission’s Horse Racing division is in charge of all horse racing and wagering.

New York law allows licensed operators to offer betting through the internet. More specifically, New York law says account wagers may be placed “in-person, via telephonic device or by the internet or by communication through other electronic media.” Several ADWs offer online horse racing betting in New York.

North Carolina

North Carolina tribal casinos are pushing the boundaries of sports betting. The new legislation allows them to offer off-track pari-mutuel wagers on other sports as well. For example, Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel & Casino offers horse racing betting in their sportsbook.

Outside of tribal casinos, the remainder of the State has a statewide ban on pari-mutuel betting. This means that fans can watch and eat, but betting is not allowed. The prohibition extends to simulcasting events from within the State and across the US. This is the reason why all primary legal horse betting sites do not accept North Carolina residents.

North Dakota

Online horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports are the only legal options for North Dakotans who want to bet online. Gambling on sports in North Dakota is illegal under state law. However, in North Dakota, pari-mutuel horse wagering is authorized at live racetracks, simulcasting facilities, and online.

Unlike other States North Dakota does not simply allow online horse betting; it is one of the country’s primary licensing centers for advance deposit wagering.


The State of Ohio has seven horse racing tracks and one off-track betting (OTB) site, where horse racing bets may be placed online and in person.

Ohio law does not directly address advance deposit wagering (ADW), but many betting sites offer online services. The Ohio government has not taken any action against these sites, but there is still an ambiguity in the law.


Oklahoma legalized public horse racing in 1982. A successful ballot initiative led to creating the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission, which regulates horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering.

It seems like state law is unclear on the legality of online gambling. For example, the Ohio Racing Commission permits account wagering via self-serve terminals and telephone but not placing wagers online or through mobile devices.

There are still many major horse racing betting sites in Oklahoma, even though the State has not explicitly approved them. If online horse racing betting is not explicitly approved in the State, it is at the very least tolerated.


Oregon sports betting options are expansive, with mobile sportsbook apps and websites operated by the state lottery. They also offer sportsbooks at tribal casinos, self-serve betting kiosks, and a lottery-style game. Additionally, Oregon offers daily fantasy sports and pari-mutuel horse racing betting.


Pennsylvania horse racing betting sites and ADW apps have created a legal environment for users to place bets. The State of PA has enabled these horse betting sites by regulating them. Users must be 18 or older and physically located in Pennsylvania to bet on horse races online.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island lottery operates retail sportsbooks at state-run casinos and offers mobile sports betting and gaming through Sportsbook Rhode Island.

The horse racing industry in Rhode Island died out decades ago; the only thing left is casinos. However, it’s worth noting that both casinos offer fully functional racebooks with simulcasting and betting offered on most days.

Rhode Island horse racing betting sites offer mobile apps for customers. The law is not explicitly clear on advance deposit wagering, but authorities have never signaled any plans to stop the sites from accepting Rhode Islanders.

South Carolina

Horse racing is legal in South Carolina, but wagering on races is not. Wagering is prohibited in-person and online across the State due to the State’s general avoidance of gambling.

South Carolina’s gambling laws are among the most restrictive in the nation and may even outright ban games of dice and cards all together. Online gambling is similarly restricted, and there does not seem to be any current push for horse betting to be legalized online.

South Dakota

Online betting is also available in the State of South Dakota. Expressly, it’s permitted at live races, one location off-track, and through ADWs. Plus, the State allows online horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports.

The South Dakota Gaming Commission regulates pari-mutuel wagering in the State of South Dakota.


Thanks to the legalization of sports betting, horse racing betting, and daily fantasy sports, Tennessee has an online gambling industry. Mobile betting, in particular, is legal and regulated in Tennessee.

As a result, Tennessee was the first State to legalize mobile betting but not retail sportsbooks. In addition, there are few established gambling centers in Tennessee, so it made sense to offer an online-only service.


Texas residents can’t bet on horse racing online, but they can gamble in person. Local racetracks offer live racing and simulcasting, meaning Texans can bet on races happening elsewhere.


As one of the strictest states in the Union on all matters related to gambling, it’s unlikely that legal sports betting will make any headways for the foreseeable future.


Advance deposit wagering is not explicitly addressed in Vermont law, but major horse racing betting firms interpret current law as allowing online betting. The State of Vermont appears to agree, as it has never taken any action to ban advance deposit wagering.

Vermont horse racing events are a popular betting option with apps and online betting sites. Horse racing betting is legal at licensed racetracks in Vermont, but currently, there are no active tracks.


Virginia’s gambling landscape has changed drastically in recent years. One of the most recent changes is the authorization of retail sportsbooks, mobile sportsbooks, and the construction of up to five casinos. These new shifts have created new opportunities for businesses. The first VA betting sites opened roughly one year later.

Virginia residents enjoy many legal and regulated betting options. Horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports are two of them. Horse race betting is legal and regulated by the State, as is DFS.

There are several regulated horse racing betting firms in Virginia that accept advance deposit wagers.


Legal sports betting in the State of Washington is imminent. In 2020, a new law in Washington will allow Native American gaming operators to open retail sportsbooks. This will happen just in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Washington contains several gambling options for people, including card rooms, mobile horse racing betting, OTBs, and the Washington state lottery.

West Virginia

West Virginia is a horse racing state, and betting on it is legal. Those who enjoy WV horse racing can visit Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Racetrack & Resort to bet on it in person.

One of West Virginia’s major gambling options is live racing. All four casinos offer year-round live horse racing, with betting on races in other states.

Meanwhile, Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino offer live greyhound racing. Horse racing betting is equally accessible at the State’s major online horse betting sites, open to people age 18 or older.


Legal Wisconsin betting sites offer daily fantasy sports and legal horse racing. In-person options are tribal casinos, the state lottery, and charitable gaming.

Wisconsin law is unclear on the legality of advance deposit wagering. Some sites accept Wisconsin customers while others do not. Wisconsin has yet to take any action against operators who offer their services in the State.


Wyoming betting apps are eligible for 18-plus customers who are within the boundaries of the State. In addition, licensed mobile sportsbooks are legally able to offer wagers on professional and college sports, amateur competitions such as the Olympics, and esports.

Wyoming’s legal gambling options are many. Pari-mutuel horse racing betting, daily fantasy sports, and in-person gambling are just a few examples. The state lottery and tribal casinos are also present.

Final Thoughts

The Breeders Cup has become one of the most significant horse racing events in the calendar, not just for US residents, but it is a truly global event that attracts horses, jockeys, and breeders from around the world.

The prize money on offer is the most significant appeal, with only events in Dubai offering larger prize pools.

The great thing for horse racing fans is plenty of betting options both trackside, off the track, and advanced deposit wagers in most US states. This has led to the amount being gambled on events increasing year on year.

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of Casinos, Slots, Bingo & Sports Betting than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.