Breeders’ Cup Best Score: The Score that Sealed the Deal
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Last week the Breeders’ Cup rolled out their annual weekly video series, featuring the incomparable handicapper and videographer, Ernie Munick. In previous years Munick has provided weekly plays for Fantasy Capping and taken us on a wild ride of fun observations and astute ‘capping.

In honor of the 30th running of the Breeders’ Cup, this year’s E Train journey will take us through 30 Scores in 30 Years. Each week Munick will count down to the top longshot score (according to him, natch!). If you missed last week, hop aboard the E Train and see what you missed.

We liked this idea so much that we decided that to join in the fun and share our best Breeders’ Cup scores. Playing big race days, such as the Breeders’ Cup, is fun on many levels: horse who may have ducked each other all year may finally face off and there’s a lot of money in the pools, which can mean a big score! And part of the fun of playing is not only hitting a nice score, but all the bragging rights that go with it.

So, to help you get in the mood to score your own bragging rights, each Friday we’ll share a Breeders’ Cup Best Score story from one of our contributors. And to kick things off, I not-so-humbly offer my Breeders’ Cup Best Score…

The Breeders’ Cup 2006 was not only my first Breeders’ Cup; it was also the first time I handicapped races in advance. Earlier in the year, I had gone to the track for the first time, making three total visits prior to the BC, and I had only ever handicapped a race in the 20 or so minutes between races. As I started to get the hang of handicapping (or at least more interested in it!), I was at the point where I wanted more time to digest the information and form my opinions.

As the Breeders’ Cup rolled around, our friend Joan sent co-founder Adam Wiener and me the Breeders’ Cup past performances not too long after they had been released (mid-week prior to race day (back when the Breeders’ Cup was only one day). I thought my head was going to explode (in a good way)! For the next several nights, I spent hours going over them. Adam and I would get on the phone to discuss our thoughts—it was fantastic.

On race day, Adam and I met a friend at the now closed Yankee Clipper in Manhattan, a restaurant at the South Street Seaport that at the time was an official OTB location. We brought our marked-up past performances, highlighters, pens and a will to party. Adam even had a binder. Our friend was there with a bunch of his investment banker buddies, and they marveled at our preparedness (ha!).

My first real score of the day was on Thor’s Echo in the Sprint, paying $32.20, but my best Breeders’ Cup score was in the next race, the Mile. At the time I was a pretty green handicapper; I didn’t use the angles that are so vital to current handicapping practice, such as factoring pace and running style, looking at incremental splits, or watching the horses warm up. I also didn’t have any idea who the horses in the field were or how to judge their accomplishments against my pick. Basically, I saw a horse that was 10-1 on the morning line who appeared to be improving in graded company and who had come within two lengths of winning in his first Grade 1 race—good enough for me!

Miesque's Approval's past performance

He ended up going off at 24-1

Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup

Perhaps even better than feeling like I was getting the swing of handicapping was the look on the investment bankers’ faces after I, the only woman at the table, scored my second longshot in a row, this one paying $50.60. I’ve cashed bigger tickets at the Breeders’ Cup since then, but I count this as my best score because it made me want to keep playing. Thanks, Miesque’s Approval, and thanks, Breeders’ Cup!

What was your Breeders’ Cup Best Score? Let us know in the comments!

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

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  • That’s a great story and it funny because that 2006 BC was also one of my first “Big Days” at the races too. Street Sense, Round Pond, Invasor all won for us. I actually too liked Miesque’s Approval as horse rounding back into form as an overlay, but was too chicken to bet him at those odds. That was a true lesson learned–never don’t bet the longshot, especially at Breeders Cup!

  • That is a great lesson, one I’ve bungled on a few times at the BC. I laughed when writing this story thinking that we could also do a Best Breeders’ Cup Bungles… I would have quite a few stories!

  • We also got this reply from reader John Hurak at our Facebook Page:

    “This is awesome. Miesque approval also gave me my biggest score as it was the payout race of my big Pik 3 that day. I also had Thors Echo and had actually singled him with 3 horses in the next race. Love being able to watch that score again.”

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