10/09/2013 12:18PM

Dick Jerardi: Breeders' Cup pick six formula requires part chaos, part logic


After spending my weekend in search of that elusive Breeders’ Cup pick six single and trying to determine if Eric Guillot’s “voluntary statement’’ to New York officials about the Travers qualifies to be entered in the Eclipse Award writing contest, I began the new week more confused than ever.

I do know Moreno will not be my single or on any of my tickets, pick six or otherwise. Even though I am certain trainer Guillot deserves special consideration for some sort of award, I can’t let my admiration for his unique talents affect my handicapping judgment.

Wise Dan surely looked like a single in the Mile. Then, he got beat under murky circumstances. One could certainly make a case for Game On Dude in the Classic. But there is still time for all of those kinds of individual decisions.

I have been at every Breeders’ Cup but the first one and the last one. Watched the first one from Laurel Park and the last one from Parx Racing after Super Storm Sandy grounded my attempt to fly to Los Angeles.

What happened on Nov. 10, 1984, at Hollywood Park in that first Breeders’ Cup has always stayed with me. There was a certain rhythm to the results that has often been repeated.

Four of the winners were obvious favorites – Chief’s Crown ($3.40) in the Juvenile, Eillo ($4.60) in the Sprint, Royal Heroine ($5.40) in the Mile, and Princess Rooney ($3.40) in the Distaff. Three others were significant longshots – Outstandingly ($47.60) in the Juvenile Fillies, Lashkari ($108.80) in the Turf, and Wild Again ($64.60) in the Classic.

The logic/chaos theory has guided my BC approach since 1984.

As I approach the Saturday pick six, I will first try to identify the races where chaos is most likely. I want to spread in those races as far as my budget allows, hopefully finding the 2013 version of Lashkari or Wild Again. You get one of those prices on a winning BC pick six ticket and you are probably looking at a six-figure payoff. You get two; you are looking at a Caribbean villa.

I will never forget the Fix Six at Arlington Park in 2002. The sequence began with 26-1 Domedriver upsetting heavy favorite Rock of Gibraltar in the Mile. Logical winners took the Sprint, Juvenile, and Turf. Starine (13-1) won the Filly and Mare Turf, and then Volponi (43-1) won the Classic.

I was working the Breeders’ Cup simulcast show with Randy Moss that cold afternoon and announced confidently that there can’t be any live pick six tickets. A few minutes later, it was revealed that $12 worth of tickets had been sold on the winning combination. I repeated that there was no way anybody could have had those six winners on one ticket, much less six tickets with those six winners.

It turned out, of course, that the sequence was rather easy if you created a ticket with the first four winners after the first four races were run and went all/all in the last two. That also turned out to be illegal.

I am not advocating any illegality here. I am advocating a measured, rational approach to a very difficult project that I have yet to solve. But I will keep trying until I do solve it.

What are the races where I have to spend no money or minimal money to cover?

I look at the pick six this way: I need to pick one or two winners. Then, I need to understand how the other races will be run and what horses are most likely going to be helped or hurt by the scenarios I have envisioned.

And then I plan to leverage my opinions, depending on how strong they are and the likely prices. Do not be discouraged if you really like two favorites. In fact, be emboldened if you are really confident in those favorites. That gives you an opportunity to spend more in the complicated races.

You are not going to eliminate the other players in every race, but you don’t have to. Eventually, if you get a longshot or two home, players with live tickets will become players with dead tickets.

You may choose to use Steven Crist’s ABC system for Ticket Maker or a main ticket/substitution ticket play. Both are terrific approaches. You also could just play one giant ticket, but I would not recommend it because you have a bad opinion if you like every horse equally.

Whatever you do, you must play. You can be assured I will be taking my own advice.