Breeders’ Cup Best Score: Best Score and Biggest What-if
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Now in our third week, we’re sharing some of our best Breeders’ Cup scores in the spirit of this year’s Breeders’ Cup video series, 30 Scores in 30 Years. And, this week’s 30 Scores installment includes the “what-if” portion of our story!

Brisnet Marketing Director Ed DeRosa shares a story that is more common than you might think. There’s no doubt that big race days, such as the Breeders’ Cup, offer players a chance to make a big score. Sometimes you can make a big score and STILL be close to making an even bigger score, leaving you to wonder “what-if?” Let’s investigate…

Things didn’t start out well for me at the 2002 Breeders’ Cup.

Back then, the World Championships were eight races on one day, and things kicked off with the Distaff. I tried to beat eventual Horse of the Year and four-time Eclipse Award winner Azeri at 9-5 and lost.

Oh, well. Let’s move on to the Juvenile Fillies and a vulnerable Storm Flag Flying at 4-5. Whoops.

Needing a confidence booster after starting zero for two, I decided to go with 4-5 favorite Rock of Gibralter in the Mile. Ouch.

Jeez, I could stop Secretariat at this point, but if prices are starting to come in like Domedriver in the Mile at 34-to-1, then I better stay the course and go against Orientate at 5-to-2. Dang it, he won too.

To recap, we’re halfway through the Breeders’ Cup card, and I’m oh-fer-four, haven’t cashed a ticket, and haven’t been close. Luckily four races remain, and my two strongest opinions are still to come.

The late Pick 4 starts off right when “the other Frankel,” Starine, wins and pays $28.40. I went four-deep in this race and three of the four (StarineBanks HillIslington) complete the 529-1 trifecta. I didn’t play the tri, but I have the 77-1 exacta and am finally rolling in multiple-race wagers.

The Juvenile was one of my strongest opinions of the day, and Vindication rewards my faith with a $10.20 mutuel that still astonishes 11 years later. I guess the New York money poured in on Whywhywhy at 5-to-2, and he never really threatened.

The Turf was my slam dunk of the day, and High Chaparral did not disappoint at 9-10. Boy, things have certainly turned around on this day. My longest price of the four horses I used in the Filly & Mare Turf won, followed by Vindication and High Chaparral as the only horses I used (aka “singles“). I’m deep in the Classic, having tossed only three of the 12 horses from consideration.

And it’s not one of the three you’d think, as I’m live to Volponi at 43-1 to complete a 770-1 Pick 3 multiple times and loving life.


Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup

The Pick 4 paid $16,349.30 for a dollar (this was before the $.50 revolution), and although a $36 ticket would have gotten this done for me, I didn’t play the Pick 4 that day.

There’s not a doubt in my mind that if I had played the races with as much gusto (degeneracy?) then as I do now that I’d have won at least $15,000, but suffice to say I bet a lot less as a 22-year-old making $35,000 a year than I do now!

Instead of playing the Pick 4, I rolled Pick 3s, and after missing the first four, I hit the last two: The one starting with Starine for $2 ($498.40) and the one ending with Volponi for $2 ($1,442.60).

That approximately $2,000 profit was as great then as it would be now. I ate like a king that night and had great fun telling everyone I won on Starine and Volponi, but leave it to horse racing that one of my greatest scores is also one of my biggest what-ifs.

Watch all of the 2002 Breeders’ Cup races at YouTube courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup.

What was your Breeders’ Cup Best Score? Share your bragging rights in the comments!

Watch this week’s E Train installment of 30 Scores in 30 Years

Want to get your game together to ensure you’re primed and ready to hit your own Breeders’ Cup Best Score?
We suggest signing up for TwinSpires so you can practice!

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