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Homeracing

Other tracks to play and bet Breeders' Cup weekend

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 27th, 2017

Long-time horseplayers might remember that in the early years of the Breeders’ Cup, the then one-day, seven-race extravaganza was treated with much deference by other racetracks for simulcasting purposes.

While there were some tracks that conducted full cards overlapping the action at wherever the Breeders’ Cup happened to be located, others, including major circuits, often did one of two things: run abbreviated programs pre- or post-Breeders’ Cup, or run a full card but with the Breeders’ Cup splitting the live action in two. In the case of the latter, it was not unusual to see a handful of races run beginning at 10:30 or 11 in the morning, with the other handful run near dusk and into the evening hours.

The full-card simulcasting boom of the early and mid-1990s generally put an end to such acts. While some might wish the Breeders’ Cup Saturday card be the focal point of all bettors and fans, it’s almost financially reckless for other tracks normally running not to attempt getting a slice of the pie on what is typically the second highest-grossing card and two-day fixture of the year behind the Kentucky Derby (G1).

In addition to all the action at Del Mar, there will be as many as 17 other Thoroughbred tracks throughout North America conducting racing on Saturday, November 4. If last year is any indication, up to one-third of the day’s Thoroughbred handle will be on tracks other than Del Mar.

Many bettors will put a lot of time and effort into the Breeders’ Cup for obvious reasons, but shouldn’t necessarily overlook the programs at tracks they would normally play on a typical Saturday, where prime plays and value could abound.

Aqueduct opens its long, six-month stand Breeders’ Cup week with a new look, or rather an old one. The inner dirt track previously used from December through March has been converted back to a one-mile turf course, while all dirt racing will be conducted on the outer nine-furlong oval, as was the case before 1975.

Having two turf courses at its disposal will allow Aqueduct to card even more grass races, weather permitting, which are generally among the most attractive of handicapping and wagering propositions to bettors of all stripes.

Feature races at Aqueduct next weekend include the Nashua (G2) and Tempted (G3) for juveniles and the Long Island H (G3) for fillies and mares on the turf.

Other popular signals Breeders’ Cup weekend include Churchill Downs, which will offer the Chilukki (G2) for fillies and mares on Saturday, Gulfstream Park West, Laurel, Woodbine, and Golden Gate Fields.

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