Breeders' Cup possibilities
Updated: October 22, 2012, 3:57 PM ETBy Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com
Here are some Breeder's Cup thoughts culled from a million possibilities.Question: What is traditionally the best bet over the course of a Breeder's Cup weekend? Answer: Same as what should be played throughout the year, the multiple win bets, the doubles instead of exactas, the pick 3's and up. It stands to reason that picking a winner is much easier than picking second, third or fourth. Q: What are the hardest races to pick? A: The grass races are like lotteries, the horses serving as the bouncing balls. Europeans win all the grass races until you start putting those horses on top. Then they all run fifth. Dirt horses first time on grass are apt to run second at 75-1. European form can be hard to figure because some courses include dales. Some English jockeys approach the finish looking like rodeo riders. Grass Beyer numbers are best used as warning flags. The turf races over the Breeder's Cup weekend are perfect for lucky numbers and beloved names. Q: Are there any automatic throw-outs at the Breeder's Cup? A: I seldom play horses moving from fake dirt to real dirt. Fake dirt tends to stop speed. If you can find a good one that has run through this bias, it might be worth a thought or two. I'm not fond of long layoffs hopping back into competition this good, but have been run over too many times to make it anything like a rule. You can't go too wrong avoiding bad trainers and iffy riders. Q: Do you pay attention to expert picks? A: Sure. There's little more reliable than a bad expert's pick to keep you off an obvious sucker play. A streak over the Cup weekend is hitting one winner. If somebody does that, he or she could hit another, so pay attention. Q: Did you actually hit a Breeder's Cup super cold as ice with your ESPN picks? A: Year before last. And a cold trifecta last year. Talk about surprised. A picker can live off hits like that for three or four years. Q: Do favorites ever win at the Breeder's Cup? A: Frequently, with the lightly raced younger horses. But the ban on Lasix for two-year olds over the Cup weekend is apt turn those races upside down. The worst favorites are older horses coming from short fields. Q: Have you ever been to the Cup live and in person? A: Twice. On each occasion, I would have had trouble picking what day it was. I can recall one winner from these live experiences, a Euro grass horse that paid around the minimum. The crowds and social stress were more than I could overcome. It was like pitching pennies at cracks in the sidewalk, hundred a toss. Q: What's the biggest mistake that the so-called expert handicappers make? A: Blaming a horse that wins for not having run fast enough. Horses that really don't run fast enough run second or worse. Don't blame a horse for winning. Q: What horses make for the best long shots? A: Extremes. Winning on the front end on a turf race. A horse stepping up to the Cup from much cheaper races. Bad performances that could be the exception. A horse easily beaten by another in the race. Q: Can Oregon beat Alabama? A: The more appropriate questions are: Can Oregon beat USC twice? Can anybody beat Kansas State? Q: Are there surface biases that come into play at Santa Anita? A: Not usually when it's 72 degrees and clear every day. Q: Should Santa Anita be at least the unofficial home track for the Breeder's Cup? A: New York, Kentucky and Florida deserve to be in the rotation. There's more to racing than room temperature. Q: What do you look at when it comes to workouts? A: A horse with a last work that's too fast has probably left too much on the track. Consistently quick works make sense. Q: Why is horse racing so ignored by the mainstream media? A: That's a simple one to answer. It requires too much thought. Write to Jay at email@example.com.
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