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Friday, November 1, 2013
For players mostly

By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com

On the way to employing the unique and surprisingly successful handicapping angle of putting horses that make no sense in the Marathon on top of all the rest of the entries, I stopped some people and asked them if they knew what the Breeders' Cup was.

These were business people on the way to lunch.

Horses that make no sense in a Breeders' Cup race are often better plays than horses that make a little sense, because they seldom send junk to these races. That a horse is hard for you to handicap is not the animal's fault.

One of the horses that that made no sense in the Marathon this time was London Bridge, first time on real dirt, first time in America, first at the finish line for a big payoff.

Here are the results of the person-on-the-street survey.

To those people I asked, the Breeders' Cup was:

A dog show.

A boat race.

A hockey prize.

A horse thing.

Though this is the 30th Breeders' Cup, it is still something of a tough sell to anybody outside the horse racing loop. The extravaganza for thoroughbreds is run on a workday Friday and a college football Saturday. All but the last race are televised by the NBC Sports Network channel. The main NBC network puts on the Breeders' Cup Classic in prime time Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Friday's results at Santa Anita featured a track that was insanely fast over its every inch, no favorites in the victory circle in any of the five races, and, praise be, no falls.

The Breeders' Cup has evolved into a celebration of the super-duper rich and the serious handicappers, and their friends and relatives. Pick one winner a day, hit one exacta, and you're pretty much a sure thing to be a winner. More fun for a $2 wager would be difficult to find.

The Kentucky Derby is on numerous bucket lists. Breeder's Cup weekend is on numerous IOUs.