We're a week away from the Breeders' Cup world championships at Santa Anita Park next weekend and it's time to start sharpening the handicapping pencils and bear down on the past performances of the record 201 pre-entries of the 31st edition of racing's world championships.
In tomorrow's print edition of the News we'll provide some of the details on the Classic and some of the big undercard races on racing's biggest weekend. With the Derby winner facing off against the talented Shared Belief, who missed the Triple Crown trail due to injury, the Classic will be the year's most intriguing race. Add the Belmont/Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Haskell/PA Derby and Travers winners and you have a race that will likely determine the Horse of the Year.
So as a bettor, what are some of the things to consider or avoid while laying down on the 13 championship races with $24.5 million in purses at stake? Here are some thoughts on the do's and don't while wagering on racing's ultimate race day.
- Don't spend your bankroll on the non-BC races, but watch them to determine if any track bias is present. Keeping an eye on the first few races of the day to see if speed is holding or closers are more prevalent can make the difference between making money or giving it away. Last year it became apparent during Friday's card that the track was favoring speed and by day's end closers and late comers were easy to toss.
- Consider playing $0.10 superfecta bets. With wide open full fields in many of the 13 races, if you have a strong opinion on the top three horses in a race, a 3x5x7x9 ten-cent super bet will only cost you $36 and you can catch a nice price underneath that will pay off handsomely.
- Don’t be afraid to make a big show bet. On your typical Saturday afternoon most bettors shun the show bet, but on Breeders' Cup weekend, the show bet can pay nicely if played properly. With the favorites typically taking big money, there is value to be had for the closer or the horse with promising past performances that hits the board at double-digit odds. Don't be afraid to make the $5 or $10 show bet on the sleeper horse that has a good chance to clunk up into the trifecta.
- Box the Euros in the turf races. Let's face it, they're the superior horses in the various turf races. Box the 4 or 5 Euros in exactas and trifectas and watch your bankroll swell. Trust me.
- Consider making a ladder bet on the horse you have big confidence in. Make a ladder bet on a horse you feel most confidence in. The ladder bet can be $2 to win, $4 to place and $6 to show, or in greater increments. It's an easy bet and as long as it's not the favorite, if you hit the board, you should generate a decent return. It's okay to take a stand, remember it's gambling.
- Don't bet the hype horse. I know you want to bet on the favorite, but in the BC, it's likely that the favorite won't win…go down the line and find the value in the 5-1 to 10-1 horses that have the pedigree and past performances to win.
Check tomorrow's News for a preview of the pre-entries and we'll have Post Time coverage starting next Thursday from Santa Anita right here at the Sports Ink and a preview and recap of the Classic in next weekend's print editions.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.