Breeders Cup Means Eyes Turn to Kentucky for Fall Horse Racing

Breeders Cup Means Eyes Turn to Kentucky for Fall Horse Racing

Thoroughbred racing’s biggest and richest weekend runs Friday through Saturday as the 39th annual Breeders’ Cup World Championship takes place at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.

Full-fledged Kentucky sports betting is not legal but there will be no shortage of wagers on this racing extravaganza, both at Keeneland and throughout the nation. Also, a total of $31 million in prize money is at stake in 14 races. 

Before you place any wagers, don't forget to check out our updated list of the best Kentucky betting promos for upcoming events.

What to Look For

The main feature, as always, will be Saturday’s $6 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Race 11 of 14) with eight horses entered and a scheduled post time of 5:40 p.m. Eastern (NBC).

All eyes will be on No. 4 Flightline, the 3-5 morning line favorite with jockey Flavien Prat aboard and trained by John Sadler.

Flightline is undefeated in five starts by a combined, whopping margin of 62¾ lengths, including in his most recent win - a dominant 19¼-length victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Epicenter (No. 6 post), the second ML choice at 5-1 with Joel Rosario aboard, was runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness Stakes and won the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga Race Course in his most recent race.

In his career, Epicenter has finished no worse than second in every race since his debut 10 starts ago.

No. 2 Life Is Good is at 6-1 with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the four-time Grade 1 winner, won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

The Breeders Cup Classic at a Glance

Here is the full field:

PostHorseJockeyML Odds
1TaibaMike Smith8-1
2Life Is GoodIrad Ortiz Jr.6-1
3Happy SaverJohn Velasquez30-1
4FlightlineFlavien Prat3-5
5Hot Rod CharlieTyler Gaffalione15-1
6EpicenterJoel Rasario5-1
7OlympiadJunior Alvarado10-1
8Rich StrikeSonny Leon20-1

Live racing coverage begins Friday at 2 p.m. on USA Network. Five hours of live coverage on Saturday begins at 1 p.m. ET on USA Network and continues on NBC and Peacock at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Where Are We with Ky. Sports Betting?

The dawn of Kentucky sports betting apps will be a while.

HB606, which called to “legalize, regulate and tax sports wagering in Kentucky,” passed in the House in the spring by a 58-30 vote. It is the closest Kentucky has ever come to sports betting.

However, that was as far as the bill would go, as it did not come up for a formal vote in the committee or Senate floor due to lack of senatorial support. The bill officially died in April during the final days of the legislative session.

Adam Koenig, the Kentucky Chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee and an advocate for Kentucky sports betting, sponsored the bill. One month later, Koenig lost his 16-year seat in the primary election to first-time candidate Steve Doan.

In a previous story, considered what sports wagering in the state could look like.



Lou Monaco

Lou Monaco is a contributing writer for Lou had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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