Breeders' Cup games for a party

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

November 5th, 2020

Celebrate the 37th annual Breeders’ Cup with these fun and entertaining betting games perfect for your Breeders’ Cup party!

The 2020 Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7 without fan attendance, because of COVID-19. You can still jump in on the action from home with a socially distant soiree filled with these exciting horse wagering games!

Breeders’ Cup horse racing auction

This is a fun way to pick your pony and amp up the competition among your friends.

Let’s use the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as an example of how to play.

With 10 horses in the field, you and nine of your friends hold an auction and bid for the available horses. The favorite, #8 Improbable (5-2), will most likely go for the highest price, while a longshot like #5 Title Ready (30-1) should result in a minimal bidding war that won’t cost you much cash.

Once all the horses are selected, place the auction money into a pool, and divide up shares to the players who ended up with the first-, second-, and third-place finishers!

Play the hand you are dealt

While an auction is a great way to liven up your crowd, there is a much simpler method for choosing a winning Thoroughbred. All it takes is an easy card trick.

Prep a deck of cards by pulling out numbers 2 through 10, plus the Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. Then place them face down and let each guest draw a card to determine their horse.

For instance, in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, a “9” card would correspond with horse #9 Mr Freeze (6-1). A Jack matches up with horse #11, Queen is horse #12, and King is horse #13. Just like in blackjack, Ace can equal 1, so #1 Art Collector (6-1) is your play, if you draw that card.

If you’re betting a race with 14 or more horses, pull out an extra face card of a different suit, as needed.

With this wagering game, everyone’s buy-in is the same, be it $2 or $20. Let the winner take all, or you can divvy up the shares to win, place, and show!

Guess the winning race time

With some of the world's most gifted Thoroughbreds racing in the Breeders' Cup, you are bound to see some swift finishes.

The record for the fastest time in the 1 1/4-mile Breeders' Cup Classic is 1:59:02, by Ghostzapper at Lone Star Park.

At this year's Breeders' Cup location, Keeneland, American Pharoah set a track record at 1 1/4 miles on dirt, when the Triple Crown winner ran the 2015 Classic in 2:00.70.

Playing off this theme, ask your party attendees to write down their guess for the winning race time of a particular race on a slip of paper and place it in a concealed jar. To enter the game, a $1 or $2 buy-in is required.

Once the selected race is finished, see which guest came closest to the official finish time of the winning race horse and hand over the pot of money to the gifted guesser!

Pick a post, any post

If you watch enough horse racing, you have probably noticed that a horse's post position can greatly affect its chances of winning.

For instance, in the Kentucky Derby (G1), no horse has ever won from post 17 — a trend that continued in 2020, when favorite Tiz the Law (a contender in the Breeders' Cup Classic) came in second to Authentic, who ran out of post 18.

In the 37-year history of the Breeders' Cup, post 4 has won the most.

With that in mind, you can create a simple wagering game, where you have each guest pick which post position they think will result in the most winners throughout the day. This can get tricky, as some races may have as few as six entries, so picking a number greater than six may decrease your odds of becoming the winner.

You can allow players to pick the same number — they just have to split the winnings!

More Breeders' Cup fun!

Breeders' Cup by the numbers

The ultimate Breeders' Cup quiz

Playing the multi-race bets at Breeders' Cup

Spot plays for Breeders' Cup

Wager on the 2020 Breeders' Cup at BetAmerica!