The horses are better. The races are better. That means the stakes are higher.
So is the risk.
The Breeders’ Cup got underway Friday afternoon at the Del Mar Racetrack. It’s a different experience from the annual Del Mar Races.
“It’s probably going to be way higher,” said Danny Lenhart. “I imagine the handle will be gigantic today.”
Lenhart has been greeting race fans in Del Mar for more than 30 years.
“It’s the best horses in the world coming to one place,” he said.
Jeff Hayes and his buddies are counting on it.
“We come almost every weekend here at Del Mar,” said Hayes. “There’s a buzz in the crowd. There’s people from back east, from overseas.”
The crowds are in Del Mar to bet on the best horses from around the world.
“The horses are so much better during these two days,” said Hayes.
He said any horse could be considered a favorite, which makes betting much harder.
“It’s way harder but it’s way better because you can catch eight, ten, twelve, fifteen-to-one. That’s a really good horse,” he smiled. “It’s just a matter of being semi-lucky to be honest with you.”
“I won’t bet today,” laughed Lenhart.
More than $100 million will be bet on these races.
“The betting is awesome,” said Hayes. “If you can hit it, you’re going to be good. If you don’t, then you’re going to be like me most of the time.”
Fans at last year’s Breeders’ Cup laid down more than $160 million and no one was in the stands.