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If beautiful grass courses and top-class international competition are elements of horse racing you find appealing, then your favorite race of the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course should surely be the $4 million, Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.


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Held over 1 ½ miles, the Turf typically draws an elite field featuring a handful of horses shipping in from Europe, making the race a classic “America vs. the World” showdown.

Of course, handicapping a field filled with foreign runners is easier said than done. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at the history of the Breeders’ Cup Turf to uncover a few noteworthy tips and trends helpful for narrowing down the list of contenders.

Let’s examine some of the key data to consider:

Any running style can prevail

The Breeders’ Cup Turf tends to unfold in fair fashion, with every running style having a roughly equal chance at victory. Highland Reel (2016) went gate-to-wire, Found (2015) and Magician (2013) came charging from far behind, and many others have won from stalking or mid-pack closing positions. Class is what counts in the Turf – if you’re good enough, you can win from anywhere.

YearWinnerPosition after first 1/2-mile½-mile & ¾-mile times (course condition)
2019Bricks and Mortar7th by 2.75 lengths (12 starters)48.44, 1:13.26 (firm)
2018Enable6th by 5 lengths (13 starters)49.11, 1:14.22 (good)
2017Talismanic5th by 3.5 lengths (13 starters)48.33, 1:12.86 (firm)
2016Highland Reel1st by 2.5 lengths (12 starters)48.00, 1:12.70 (firm)
2015Found7th by 26.75 length (12 starters)48.38, 1:12.64 (good)
2014Main Sequence9th by 4 lengths (12 starters)47.76, 1:11.15 (good)
2013Magician11th by 14.5 length (12 starters)46.94, 1:10.67 (firm)
2012Little Mike3rd by 3.5 lengths (12 starters)46.77, 1:10.80 (firm)
2011St Nicholas Abbey5th by 3 lengths (9 starters)50.09, 1:14.67 (good)
2010Dangerous Midge2nd by 2 lengths (7 starters)50.17, 1:15.91 (firm)
2009Conduit7th by 16 lengths (7 starters)45.14, 1:09.24 (firm)

Favorites must be included in the superfecta

Between 2004 and 2017, a span of 14 years, just one favorite managed to prevail in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. But recent years have seen a new trend emerge, with favorites Enable (2018) and Bricks and Mortar (2019) getting the job done at short prices. In addition, the favorite has finished fourth or better in the last 12 editions of the Turf, so if you’ve been betting against favorites entirely, you haven’t been cashing any superfecta tickets.


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