The biggest weekend of the year in horse racing concludes today (Nov. 2), with this year's edition of the Breeders' Cup. Since Friday, Santa Anita Racetrack in Southern California has hosted top-flight races — five yesterday, nine more today— giving fans of the sport of kings the chance to watch (and wager on) some of the best thoroughbreds around.
Whether your interest in horse racing goes year-round or you just catch the occasional race, the Breeders' Cup is definitely worth a watch. And thanks to various streaming options, you can tune in for any of the big races at any point during the next two days. Here's how to watch the Breeders' Cup, including VPN options as well as your best bets for wagering on the action.
When can I watch the Breeders' Cup?
The Breeders' Cup began yesterday, with all the races airing on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). NBCSN will also handle the bulk of the coverage for Saturday's races, starting at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT. The marquee race, the Breeders' Cup Classic, will be broadcast on NBC, with coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET. (So all you'll need to watch that one race is a TV and an HD antenna.) In the U.K., Sky Sports Racing will simulcast all of NBC's coverage.
One race on Saturday, the Filly & Mare Sprint, takes place before NBCSN goes on the air. You can watch that race at 2:55 p.m. ET on Saturday on TVG, a horse racing-centric cable channel.
Here's a schedule of Saturday's tentative post times, so you can plan out which races you don't want to miss.
- Filly & Mare Sprint: 2:55 p.m. ET
- Turf Sprint: 3:33 p.m. ET
- Dirt Mile: 4:10 p.m. ET
- Filly & Mare Turf: 4:54 p.m. ET
- Sprint: 5:36 p.m. ET
- Mile: 6:20 p.m. ET
- Distaff: 7 p.m. ET
- Turf: 7:40 p.m. ET
- Classic: 8:44 p.m. ET
How can I use a VPN service to watch the Breeders' Cup?
If you're traveling but still want to tune in to either day of the Breeders' Cup, a virtual private network, or VPN, can come to the rescue. Using a VPN, you can make it seem as if you're surfing the web from home, with access to the same streaming services you'd normally enjoy.
We've tested many services to find the best overall VPN. Our pick is ExpressVPN, which offered the best mix of performance and customer service, and it's also available at an attractive price. Here's a quick look at some of the best VPNs if you want to still be able to tune into events like the Breeders' Cup while traveling.
ExpressVPN: Express VPN can access more than 3,000 servers spread out across 160 locations in 94 countries. The service performed reliably in our testing, and we found customer service responsive.
One month of ExpressVPN costs $12.95, but you can lower that to $6.67 a month if you opt for a year of service; ExpressVPN will throw in three additional months for free. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied.
TunnelBear: TunnelBear didn't turn in the best performance in our test, but it's still a good option for one-off events like streaming the Breeders' Cup. For starters, it's easy to use, and the monthly cost is relatively low at $9.99 if you don't want to commit to anything beyond a month of service.
How can I live-stream the Breeders' Cup?
Whether the races are airing on NBCSN or NBC, you'll be able to live stream them from either NBC Sports' website or on the NBC Sports mobile app (Android, iOS). The catch is that you'll need to sign in with credentials from a cable or satellite TV provider, so NBC's streaming options aren't available to cord cutters.
How can I watch the Breeders' Cup if I don't have cable?
You can still watch the races live on Friday and Saturday if you happen to subscribe to a streaming service that includes NBCSN in its package of channels. (Most services include local channels, too, but not in every market — you'll want to check that the streaming service of your choice has the NBC affiliate in your area if you're hoping to stream the Breeders' Cup Classic.) The good news is that you'll find NBCSN on a lot of streaming services, usually in the cheapest available tier.
Here's a closer look at your options, excluding PlayStation Vue, which announced earlier this week that it would be shutting down.
AT&T TV Now: You'll find NBCSN in the $50 Plus package offered by the service formerly known as DirecTV Now. TVG is a bit harder to find, but it's in the very pricey Xtra package, which costs $105 a month, but does include more than 100 channels.
Fubo.TV: If you want TVG as well as NBCSN for all your horse-racing desires, Fubo.TV is the service to pick. Both channels are part of its $55 a month package, and a cloud DVR feature lets you record programming for later viewing.
Hulu: The live TV tier of Hulu costs $45 a month and includes NBCSN. There's a cloud DVR feature if you'd like to record the Breeders' Cup and watch it later.
Sling TV: NBCSN is part of Sling's Blue package of channels, which costs $25 a month. A current promotion lowers your first month cost to $15. Note that local channels like your NBC affiliate are only available in some cities.
YouTube TV: YouTube offers 70-plus channels, including NBCSN, plus a cloud DVR feature for $50 a month.
How can I wager on any of the Breeders' Cup races?
Part of the thrill of watching horse racing is wagering on the winners. But even if you're not at an off-track betting facility or race track streaming the Breeders' Cup, you can still place your bets on all the races today.
In addition to broadcasting horse racing, TVG also features handicapping and lets members wager at its website. As part of a Breeders' Cup promotion, TVG is offering to refund your first best up to $500 for new players who register with the site.
TwinSpires.com is another popular betting site for horse-racing fans. Sign up with promo code BC10 and TwinSpires gives you a $10 credit that you can use to bet on races.