There’s big. There’s grand. And now there’s colossal.
Horse racing unfurls its richest event ever on Saturday, the $20 million Saudi Cup, eligible to New Jersey sports betting and horse racing fans.
Garden State residents can bet via 4NJBets, which is powered by TVG and allows NJ sports bettors to bet on horse racing online.
What a time for the privilege.
Where to watch the 2020 Saudi Cup
The purse is mind-boggling. Twenty. Million. Bucks.
Right away, that’s nearly seven times the size of the fabled Kentucky Derby, the revered Run for the Roses, now valued at $3 million.
The Saudi Cup and the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 28 are now the two richest horse-racing events in the world.
Post time for the Saudi Cup is 12:40 p.m. EST and the telecast on Fox Sports 1 runs from noon to 1 p.m.
The positioning of this race is extraordinary.
It comes about a month after the Jan. 25 Pegasus and a month before the Dubai World Cup, giving horses the chance to compete in more than one of these spectacles if they’d like.
One of the entries in this race, Mucho Gusto, already won the Pegasus, at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
The Saudi Cup, besides being a standalone spectacle, bridges the Pegasus and Dubai World Cup events, connecting all three in an unofficial multimillion-dollar circuit.
Fourteen horses go post-ward in the Saudi Cup.
Multiple betting interests ensure substantial handle and encouragement to wager creatively with:
- Full wheels
- Partial wheels
Saudi Cup betting in New Jersey
An official from 4NJ Bets told NJ Gambling Sites on Thursday that the entire menu of betting options won’t be known to players until the races are loaded up on Saturday morning.
But many of the following are likely:
- Win: Selecting the top horse. The odds are reasonable for any winner in this race, given the top competition. The minimum bet is usually $2.
- Place: A horse to finish second or higher.
- Show: A horse to finish third or higher.
- Exactas: Selecting the order of the top two finishers. It’s always good to box them. You’d hate to have the right two horses in the wrong order.
- Trifectas: Picking the top three finishers. Wagered via straight bet, a box of three or more horses, or a partial wheel.
The latter option involves taking one’s favorite horse in the first position, with several additional selections in the second and third slots.
Additionally, it can be wagered by placing one’s favorite horse in the second or third position with the other selections. The key is the horse must finish in the exact spot where he is played, and the others must finish in the top 3.
Then there is the superfecta, picking the top four horses. The same combinations for trifectas can be used. The superfecta is often lucrative, but extremely hard to hit.
NJ horse betting common costs
A $1 trifecta box with three horses costs $6. A $1 trifecta box with four horses costs $24. The $1 superfecta box with four horses is $24.
Are you thinking razzle-dazzle?
A $1 key, putting your favorite horse in the first position and three others in the second and third slots, is $6. For $12, you can place four horses in the second and third slots.
The “key” for this bet is that your favorite horse must win the race. The same principle applies to putting your horse in the second position.
Horse betting strategy
If you love a particular horse to win, invest strongly on the win line. Thre isn’t a worse feeling for a horse better than to pick the winner of a race and not cash because the horses in second and third place were not the ones you played.
If you believe the favorites will run in the top two spots, consider playing a hefty exacta box.
Another option is to play your two favorite horses in the first and second slots, place a few others in the third and fourth positions, and have pretty good coverage on a potentially lucrative superfecta for reasonable money.
The 2020 Saudi Cup favorites
The Saudi Cup has a connection to American racing royalty.
Premier participants for the 2020 Saudi Cup come from elite 2019 stateside races including:
- Maximum Security
- Mucho Gusto
The 2019 Kentucky Derby, for instance, creates a storyline surrounding the track itself.
Maximum Security, the original winner, is one of the favorites in this event of about 1 1/8 miles.
He suffered the controversial first-ever disqualification in Kentucky Derby history last May, and one of the mitigating factors was track congestion around the final turn. While his handlers unsuccessfully sued to overturn the disqualification, the horse should find these conditions more beneficial.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which has two turns and a field of 20, the Saudi Cup has a sensible field of 14 and just one turn. The lengthy run to that turn may enable the field to spread out, prompting a clean, traffic-free race.
Maximum Security came off a victory in the Cigar Mile Handicap in December and was slightly favored with British bookmakers in early betting at about 5-2 for this event.
He often breaks sharply and goes right to the lead. The major handicapping variable is in determining whether another speed horse will compromise him early.
Maximum Security held off a stubborn challenge from Mucho Gusto to prevail in the Haskell Invitational in July. And Mucho Gusto later looked quite impressive in demolishing the Pegasus field last month.
In that race, he broke sharply, dropped back to stalk on the rail, and thundered past the field in the home stretch, winning with conviction.
Mucho Gusto brings the best recent form into this race and would elevate the attention of the forthcoming Dubai World Cup by winning here and entering that race.
McKinzie, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his last start in November, was next at about 3-1.
Both Mucho Gusto and McKinzie are guided by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who had secured the last two Triple Crown sweeps when American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) captured the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
The rest of the Saudi Cup lineup
Notable Saudi Cup starters include:
- Tacitus, who ran second and third in the major American races last year.
- Midnight Bisou is a filly and Breeders Cup runner-up, who challenges the males.
- Gronkowski came in second in the Dubai Cup last year, maybe a live long shot in the 20-1 range.
It seems likely these longshots are merely going to round out the field:
- Gold Dream
- North America
- Magic Wand
- Great Scot
Then again, not much is known about them. Perhaps a surprise comes from this group.
Saudi Cup star-studded undercard
This looks like a mini Breeders’ Cup, all by itself. Several races are worth at least $1 million.
Some American tracks, like Gulfstream Park, employ this practice of anchoring a lucrative event with some seven-figure races.
This not only corners the racing market but adds exponentially to its Rainbow Pick Six pool (picking the winners of six straight races) into the millions.
The Saudi Cup undercard includes:
- Longines Handicap: $2.5 million prize pool, 3,000 meters on dirt
- Neom Turf Cup: $1 million prize pool, 2,100 meters on turf
- 1351 Turf Sprint: $1 million prize pool, 1,351 meters on turf
- Saudi Sprint: $1.5 million prize pool, 1,200 meters on dirt
- Obaiya Arabian Classic: $1.9 million prize pool, 2,000 meters on dirt. This race is for purebred Arabians.
- Red Sea Turf Handicap: $2.5 million prize pool, 3,000 meters on turf
- Riyadh Dirt Sprint: $1.5 million prize pool, 1,200 meters on dirt
- Saudi Derby: $800,000 prize pool, 1,600 meters on dirt