(left to right) Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Tournament Coordinator John Reynolds, 2002 BCBC Champion Drew Coatney, BCBC Tournament Coordinator Chris Barr and BCBC Tournament Director Tim Schram.
Going “all-in” on Flightline with a $97,000 win wager in the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Drew Coatney won last Saturday’s 2022 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC).
The 14th annual Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, Thoroughbred racing’s biggest live-money tournament, held Nov. 4-5, drew a record 569 entries for the 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships two-day program at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.
The tournament players generated a contest-record wagering handle of $7,125,391, which consisted of betting 21 races over the two-day program at Keeneland. Over $4 million of that total was wagered at Keeneland, representing more than 19 percent of the on-track handle.
Coatney, who resides in Chicago and in Michigan and works in medical device product management, finished with a total score of 139,953 points. Combined with his first-place prize of $409,700, Coatney won a grand total of $549,653. Jim Videtic of Willowick, Ohio, finished second with $124,637 points, and combined with his $273,000 in prize money, Videtic generated $397,637 in total earnings. Chuck Thompson of Winnetka, Ill., finished third with 102,964 points and $148,000 in prize money, which gave him a grand total of $250,964.
In the 2022 BCBC, each player was required to fund a $2,500 buy-in and a $7,500 betting bankroll ($10,000 total). All buy-in monies were applied to the prize pool, making the total prize pool $1,422,500. Players made real wagers (win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and daily double) with their $7,500 bankroll and kept all monies earned from their wagering.
In addition to the record 326 entries participating from Keeneland, players competed from satellite locations at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., and at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Players also participated online at TVG.com ― the official wagering partner of the Breeders’ Cup ― Xpressbet.com, NYRA Bets, and HPI.com in Canada.
Coatney, who was introduced to the sport in 2014 while playing the races at Arlington Park, was entering his first BCBC. “Proud and surreal” were his initial feelings on winning the tournament. “I feel very proud that I brought a strategy to the table on Saturday to turn $5.7k into $140k,” said Coatney. “For horseplayers, it is rare that the day and picks work out how they do.
“The surreal part of the feeling comes down to ‘why me.’ I am not a professional bettor nor the best handicapper in the room. The people that surrounded me to support my horseplaying skills over the past four years through the In The Money Players’ Podcast are what truly made this happen. I was just a young 20-something back in 2014 listening to podcasts, trying to learn from three guys to have fun and make money at the races: Jonathon Kinchen, Peter Thomas Fornatale, and Matt Bernier. I’m forever grateful and humbled by the horseplayers who have helped along the way.”
Coatney’s goal to amass $140,000 was generated on Championship Saturday with a $250 double wager on Cody’s Wish in the $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and on the filly Tuesday (IRE) in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Coates also cashed a win bet on Tuesday.
“From there,” Coatney recalled, “I was able to take the $5k won on Tuesday to push all-in again to cover off a few other runners that scared me in the [$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup presented by PDJF (G1)] Mile and expressing a strong opinion of Elite Power [winner of the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1)] into Modern Games (IRE).”
With Modern Games winning the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile and Malathaat capturing the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), Coatney was able to bankroll $97,000 to wager it all on Flightline, who won the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.
A list of the top 20 BCBC finishers appears below. Complete tournament results are available here.