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Monday, November 7, 2011
Updated: February 16, 5:00 PM ET
Can't wait until next year

By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com

Bad pickers are an essential part of horse racing.

Breeder's Cup weekend showcases the best and luckiest horses, and the worst pickers. Some predictions are so awful over the course of the Breeder's Cup cards, it gives a bad rub to those who say to family members that you'd love to go to the dance, but sorry, you have to work, because as everybody knows, the more you go to the horse races, the better you get at making money.

How can you go to the horse races a lot and still pick horses that can't win?

Bad picks are like a bad golf swing. When the pressure is on, you revert to what's easiest. As a bad picker, you either side with obvious sucker plays, trendy stuff, or you take a swing at first time something or other, first time dirt, first time distance, first time after a suspicious layoff, first time wishful thinking.

Lousy horse pickers serve numerous benefits to the industry. They prove how difficult it is to find a winner. And they are of great financial benefit to those who run lines through the selections of habitual bad pickers and move on to more likely runners. The very worst of the sorry pickers is the one who shows up after a race and says he or she had the one that just paid $30. Here's the way that works. If you don't say who you like before a race, you can't say who you had after a race. Nobody comes around and says I had the big loser.

Once again the key to the Breeder's Cup money was picking winners and betting them correctly.

Picking second or third and fourth is luckier than it is skillful.

Picking winners requires luck and talent.

How many people over the course of the weekend had a double figure winner, but didn't collect a cent on it, millions?

Go back over the results. Also-rans seldom figure. Look closely, most winners always figure in the right light.

If you're correct picking a winner, you have to get paid.

The best way to collect when the races are so competitive is to make single win bets, and multiple win bets, the pick 3's, 4's and doubles.

Some relatively simple pick 3's routinely pay $300.

It was easier to have the Classic double than the exacta in either of those races.

Those who collected on the high dollar win payoffs kept it simple, looking for the ones most likely to finish first. Those hitting jackpots played lucky numbers. Combine these techniques with the elimination of horses favored by bad pickers and Breeder's Cup weekend won't seem so daunting.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.