In many places around cyberspace you'll hear about the profitability of betting every horse in the Breeders Cup who goes off at 20/1. It's pretty simple and would net you 24.23%, but it takes a fair bit of capital to bet on an average of 40 horses in every running. And you would have only made money 10 years out of 23. There are ways to use the same concept but streamline it to achieve better results.
In the last 11 years there have been 13 BC winners who were successful at 20/1 or more. By just identifying a few common factors about them you can isolate 8 of them. Consider these few factors.
#1 - Starting price must be less than 10/1 in their last race. This is the converse of the negative angle discussed before.
#2 - Starting price must be less than 10/1 in last G-1 race. If older horses have not run an a G-1 race they get discarded. If juveniles have not run in a G-1 race then you take the most recent race of the highest class level.
#3 - The entrant must have run in the money in their last start. We don't want bombs who are woefully out of form. Our prime play is an in-form but out of vogue horse.
#4 - The entrant must be in the money in their last G-1 start. One of the common denominators is that all these longshots aside from the Juveniles had hit the board in their last G-1 effort. So there was some class there. Just not enough to prevent them from being bombs. Juveniles like in factor #2 default to their last highest class race.
#5 - The entrant cannot be a maiden. No maiden has won in the Breeders Cup. Its no use betting that they'll start now. There are so many better ways to lose your money.
So take those 5 factors and apply them to every horse in the last 10 years who went off at 20/1 or more on BC day. The cumulative record for those horses is 102-8-4-3. The 7.84% winning percentage is nothing to write home about. But consider that the statistical average for 20/1 shots in all races is 4.76%. That means this is a fairly significant isolation of successful longshots. Not to mention that betting on each one would yield a $402.10 profit or 197.11%
Also do not assume that a short field is a bad place to find a longshot. 20/1 (or more) shots actually win Breeders Cup races with less than 10 entrants at a higher percentage than they do in bigger fields. On the opposite side of the coin, favorites win less in those fields with 10 horses or less.
That's the skinny on longshots, but how about if you like the action and just want to be live in every race? There is actually value to be found by playing the favorites.
There have been 169 favorites go to post in BC history. A flat bet on all of them would cost $338. The total return from those favorites would be $326.80 a loss of just $11.20 or -3.31% with a 36.09% winning percentage.
The aim though is to extract value though right? So how about we toss all odds on favorites and just bet those favorites who are higher than even money. We end up with $262 wagered and $267.20 returned for a $5.20 (1.98%) profit. It really is that simple, and that is just with 34% winners.
If you subscribe to the statistically backed notion that playing favorites in fields with 11 or more horses is a higher probability play than in smaller fields you can make even more money. Again eliminate the odds on favorites and only play the favorites in fields with 11 or more horses and you'll have invested $218 for a return of $231.10. That's a 6% return on investment.
Normally I wouldn't advocate playing just favorites, but surely the best place you could find to do so is the Breeders Cup. Value lies with having the winner. A 2/1 winning favorite always pays more than a logical 7/1 loser.
It sounds much more virtuous to preach about the pitfalls of betting favorites, but really winning at the Breeders Cup comes down to backing the winner. If he happens to be the public choice don't sweat it, you have a better chance of making money than on any other day of the year.