2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic Picks

The richest race of the Breeders’ Cup is the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), a $6 million race for the world’s best handicap horses. The race covers a mile and a quarter, the American Classic distance, on the Del Mar dirt. It is perennially the most eagerly awaited horse race betting event of the entire Breeders’ Cup meeting.

Betting on the Breeders Cup race is so interesting because it is where top three-year-olds like Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie will get to take their first shot at top older handicap horses like Knicks Go, Art Collector, and Max Player.

Superstars who have won the Breeders’ Cup in the past include Curlin, Zenyatta, Sunday Silence, and Cigar. Who will add their name to this illustrious list? Keep reading to find out the best horses in the 2021 Classic, as well as the best places to make a handsome profit betting the race!

Where to Bet the Breeders’ Cup Classic

It matters to pick the right horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But, it matters just as much where you bet the Breeders’ Cup Classic online. Choosing the right sportsbook can seem like a difficult decision because there are so many out there. But, our experts know the world of online betting sites and have made recommendations after comparing the best online sportsbooks!

All of our recommended sportsbooks have the core features that make a sportsbook great: intuitive user interfaces, trustworthy deposit and cash-out options, and true Las Vegas odds. Online sportsbooks also offer excellent bonuses for betting the Breeders’ Cup, including sign-up bonuses, deposit incentives, and horse racing rebates.

Different sites offer different bonuses that are lucrative for different styles of bettors. So, take a few minutes to get to know the options at the top online sportsbooks, and get ready for a profitable Breeders’ Cup!

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Breeders’ Cup Classic Horses and Odds

This is the official field for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines:

  1. Tripoli (John Sadler/Irad Ortiz) – 15/1
  2. Express Train (John Shirreffs/Victor Espinoza) – 20/1
  3. Hot Rod Charlie (Doug O’Neill/Flavien Prat) – 4/1
  4. Essential Quality (Brad Cox/Luis Saez) – 3/1
  5. Knicks Go (Brad Cox/Joel Rosario) – 5/2
  6. Art Collector (Bill Mott/Mike Smith) – 8/1
  7. Stilleto Boy (Ed Moger/Kent Desormeaux) – 30/1
  8. Medina Spirit (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez) – 4/1
  9. Max Player (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana) – 8/1

Keep in mind that these are only estimations of the odds come post time. You are not guaranteed these odds at the track, and odds swing due to late betting action.

On the other hand, top online sportsbooks allow you to not only place your bet in advance, but lock in those odds at the time you bet. When you see an overlay on the horse you think can win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, you can place your bet with confidence and lock in the best odds on your horse.

BovadaBetOnlineBetUS
Knicks Go+200TBA+275
Essential Quality+275TBA+350
Hot Rod Charlie+400TBA+700
Medina Spirit+500TBA+750
Art Collector+750TBA+700
Max Player+800TBA+800

Free Breeders’ Cup Classic Picks

Now that you know how to find the best places to play the race, let’s get to know the best horses in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Favorite

#5 Knicks Go is the likely favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He has won strongly in his last three, but also jetted to a clear lead in his last three. In this race, he may not get out to such an easy lead, as both #8 Medina Spirit, #3 Hot Rod Charlie, and #7 Stilleto Boy do their best work up front. Stilleto Boy might not be fast enough, but the others may be.

Knicks Go also has yet to prove that he can go a mile and a quarter. It isn’t impossible, as he hasn’t tried the distance yet and he cruises home well at a mile and an eighth. But, especially with the likelihood for an early battle with Medina Spirit or Hot Rod Charlie, taking a short price on Knicks Go is not as appealing as going for a longer price.

It is worth noting that Hot Rod Charlie may instead come from a bit off the pace. His more recent style has had him on the front end, but earlier in his career he was an off-pace horse, and that versatility may help him carve out a sweet trip.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

#6 Art Collector is another horse with a lot of speed, as he flushed in the Woodward and the Alydar. However, he showed he can win from just off the pace as well, like in the Charles Town Classic this year and the Blue Grass last year. He will have to prove himself at the distance, but he is a better horse than when he tried the Preakness last year and his pedigree interests.

The versatile #4 Essential Quality, like Hot Rod Charlie, faces older horses for the first time. He has done little wrong this year, though it is worth noting that his only career loss happened at a mile and a quarter. It was a tough start and it was earlier in the season, meaning he may well be a stronger horse with more stamina now. But, at chalk, it’s worth asking.

#9 Max Player is the most intriguing horse in the Classic. An improving sort, he has won his last two races, both at the same mile and a quarter distance of this race. He has class to prove, as he has not faced the likes of Knicks Go or Art Collector this year. But, he has tactical speed from the outside, he can take his race to different tracks, and he should be in range of the pace without battling on it.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Longshots

The other two horses in the field are locals, #1 Tripoli and #2 Express Train. Tripoli is a G1 winner at a mile and a quarter in a less-than-vintage Pacific Classic, though his dirt form at Del Mar suggests he can improve on the move back there. Express Train is another who likes Del Mar a lot, but has yet to prove he wants to stay the mile and a quarter.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Free Picks

Now that you know where and how to bet the race online, here are the best bets for Sunday’s 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic:

  • $20 to win – #9 Max Player
  • $1 exacta box –  #4 Essential Quality, #6 Art Collector, #9 Max Player
  • $0.50 trifecta box – #3 Hot Rod Charlie, #4 Essential Quality, #6 Art Collector, #9 Max Player
  • $0.20 superfecta box – #3 Hot Rod Charlie, #4 Essential Quality, #5 Knicks Go, #6 Art Collector, #9 Max Player
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Tonya Holms

Tonya has been working in the horse racing industry for nearly two decades, moving up from groom to horse owner, to marketing and media. She learned the tricks of handicapping while working in horse racing broadcasting both in the United States and Canada. In her spare time, she loves to read and take care of the farm animals: sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens.