Hot Rod Charlie Returns, Breaking Down Breeders’ Cup Classic Field And Odds For Saturday’s Race

The last time New Jersey horse bettors saw Hot Rod Charlie, he was being disqualified from the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park for clipping heels with Midnight Bourbon.

Less than four months later, he’s on the worldwide stage as one of the favorites in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California on Saturday.

The 1 1/4-mile event unfolds at 8:40 p.m. ET and concludes a two-day Wager Wonderland for New Jersey online horse bettors. Gamblers can obtain access at 4NJBets.

The Breeders’ Cup is a spectacular two-day, $31 million, 14-race showcase summit. It assembles the world’s top dirt, turf, distance and sprinting thoroughbreds to culminate year-long competitions in several circuits. It will determine horse of the year winners in many categories.

New Jersey bettors have experienced the Breeders’ Cup first hand. Monmouth Park hosted this event in 2007.

Now it’s on to California.

Breeders’ Cup Classic overview

What:3-year-old males

Purse: $6 million

Time: 8:40 p.m., Saturday

Distance: 1 1/4 miles

Breeders’ Cup Classic field and NJ odds

Here’s a look at the field for the $6 million Classic.

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Notable recent efforts

Favored Knicks Go established a Keeneland Race Course record of 1:33.85 in winning the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile last year.

He subsequently notched three consecutive victories at 1 1/8 miles but has never run 1 1/4 miles. Bettors will weigh that variable.

It’s a Kentucky Derby rematch. Winner Medina Spirt, Hot Rod Charlie and  Essential Quality, who finished third and fourth, respectively, come together for the first time since the Derby. Very little separated them then and their betting odds reflect that now.

Essential Quality has victories in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, the 1 1–8-mile Jim Dandy Stakes and the 1 1–4-mile Travers, all of which happened after the Derby.

Medina Spirit recently won the Awesome Again Stakes and looks like a threat. He’s getting betting respect too.

Stilleto Boy finished a good second to Medina Spirit in the Awesome Again at 50-1 betting odds. He’s the longest shot on this board and could hit the top four with a repeat of the last effort.

Max Player comes off a nothing-to-sneeze-at Grade I victory at the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Projected pace scenario

Knicks Go should go to the front. Medina Spirit and Hot Rod Charlie figure to be forwardly-placed. The question is whether they will push Knicks Go into a speed duel.

If that happens, Essential Quality becomes the beneficiary of the duel.

If Knicks Go repels the charge of Hot Rod Charlie and Medina Spirit, the end of the race will be Essential Quality and others trying to run down Knicks Go.

Ways to bet the Breeders’ Cup

There are a number of bet types NJ horse bettors can consider for Saturday’s race.

  • Win: Horse must finish first
  • Place: Horse must finish second or higher
  • Show:  Horse must finish third or higher
  • Exacta: First two horses in the right finishing order
  • Trifecta: Top three horses in exact order
  • SuperfectasTop four places must be picked in the correct order

Based on the list above,  exacta boxes are smart. They are inexpensive and provide good cover. A $2 exacta box 6-8 for example delivers a victory whether the order of finish is 6-8 or 8-6.

With trifectas, one of the ways to hit one includes a $1 trifecta box, which provides three horses in any order for $6.

The key wager is imaginative. In a $1 trifecta key, which costs $6, you can “key” the 3 over the 4-5-6. The 3 must win and the others must hit the second and third spots, in any order.

For another $6, you can also put the 3 second and the 4-5-6 must occupy the first and third slots.

Good wager if you believe in certain longshots and have an inkling of who runs first or second.

Superfectas are expensive but lucrative with longshots. It’s not a wager bettors want if three short-priced horses finish in the Top 4.  That’s what this race looks like, at least on paper.

Breeders’ Cup budgeting tips

Pick your spots. The Classic may be a great spot for win and exacta bets, which should pay well. It may not be a good place to spread the bread on trifecta wagers because it won’t pay well if the favorites run.

The race beforehand has a strong spread-betting opportunity.

That’s the $4 million turf classic. It has 14 entries. Top pick Tarnawa is expected to do well but medium-priced horses like Rockemperor, Yibir, Walton Street, Gufo and Teona could hit the board. Astronaut is a good longshot and could hit the bottom of the superfectas ticket.

A mix of the longshots and the favorites will pay well.

Rest of the Saturday lineup

The Breeders’ Cup features a stacked Saturday card. Here is the rundown:

  • $4 million Turf Classic at 1 1-2 miles on the turf
  • $2 million Distaff at 1 1-8 miles on the dirt
  • $2 million FanDuel mile on turf
  • $2 million sprint at 6 furlongs on dirt.
  • $2 million filly and mare turf at 1 3/8 miles
  •  $1 million dirt mile
  • $1 million turf sprint at 5 furlongs
  • $ 1 million filly and mare sprint at 7 furlongs on dirt

Friday’s races are all for 2-year olds.  They are headlined by the $2 million Juvenile Dirt Mile. 

 Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie ran 1-2 in this race last year. The exacta paid just shy of $600 because Hot Rod Charlie was a whopping 94-1.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.