Thursday, October 27, 2005 Contact: Breeders’ Cup Notes Team (516) 328-6017
European Interest in Breeders’ Cup Continues to Soar
When the Breeders’ Cup comes to Belmont Park, European interest in the World Thoroughbred Championships hits a peak.
Horsemen respond by sending runners over in bunches (there are 21 European-raced starters in this year’s races) and English bookmakers respond by rubbing their hands together in gleeful anticipation of record wagering.
“When the races are at Belmont,” said Simon Clare, who represents Coral bookmakers, “everyone has a more optimistic attitude toward the chances of the European horses. And European success in the Breeders’ Cup increases the popularity of betting on the Breeders’ Cup.”
Clare estimates that between 10 and 15 million British pounds will be wagered on the Breeders’ Cup just during the five hours when the races are being televised – which is during the night in Europe. Total wagering on the Breeders’ Cup races is expected to hit a record 50 million British pounds.
“There’s no doubt betting on the Breeders’ Cup is getting more and more popular,” Clare said. “This year the races will be televised on both racing networks and there will be a huge audience, even at night.
“And as for the New York factor, European horses have had success at Belmont,” he said. “European bettors view Belmont as a neutral site. The wide, sweeping courses are more similar to European tracks, and the weather in New York at this time of year is just the same as that at home. In fact, we tend to think our horses have a better chance than horses coming from warm-weather areas.”
Clare said that British bookmakers tend to give European runners lower odds than the American morning line.
“We get more play on the Europeans,” he said, “and the American line often underestimates the chances of the Europeans.”
The British bookies are delighted this year to have European representation in the Juvenile (Leo and Ivan Denisovich) and the Classic (Starcraft, Oratorio and Jack Sullivan). And as an added bonus, jockey Frankie Dettori – a European favorite – has a mount in the Distaff on Godolphin’s Stellar Jayne.
“If there are no European runners or jockeys in a race, our punters tend to dismiss it,” Clare said. “By having runners in the Juvenile, Classic and Distaff, we get a great deal more interest in those events.”
British players have a further bonus in that they can choose their price on the Breeders’ Cup races.
“When they make their bet,” Clare said, “they can stipulate that they want whatever odds are best, the bookmaker’s price (fixed price) or the starting price on the tote. It gives the punters a little bit of an edge.”
The bookmaker’s edge is setting the price to attract more betting on a favorite who might lose. Thus it is that Leroisdesanimaux is 7-5 on the morning line here, and 7-4 on the Coral line.
“We think he can be beaten, so we as bookmakers try to attract more wagering on him by offering a better price,” Clare said. “However, Lost in the Fog is even-money on the morning line and 4-5 on our line. We expect him to win.”