10/22/2014 1:16PM

Jerardi: Searching for a replacement single


As I get ready to disappear into the Breeders’ Cup video bunker for a few days, I am reluctant to read any of the dispatches from the DRF field. Each time I read, another of my singles disappears – first Wise Dan, then Beholder. Actually, they were my only two singles, so I am definitely playing catch-up.

Without a horse or horses to frame multirace wagers around or use as a free space on top of a vertical bet, the very difficult task of converting Breeders’ Cup opinions into cash becomes monumentally difficult.

So, as I am going through the races, I will first be looking for a horse or horses who I think just cannot lose. If I never find one or more, my bets likely will be scaled back, or at least the way I typically play will be vastly different.

What pools I end up in are in direct relation to potential singles. If I love a horse in a pick four race and hate a favorite or two in the sequence, I will devote more time to those races near the end of the process.

And it is a process. First, the video to see horses I don’t know and review horses I do know.

If you start looking now, the task is just too big. So, watching all those races throughout the year is a gigantic head start. They help put everything into context, but I don’t remember everything I saw. Thus, the review of even races I have already seen.

What am I looking for in the videos? Mainly, horses who ran big because they were comfortable and horses who ran poorly because they were uncomfortable. I want to know the performances I can draw a line through and the performances that tell true ability. It is obviously a subjective exercise, but it often points me in the right direction.

Even after all the study, you have to adapt to changing circumstances in an instant – the Friday speed bias last year, the synthetic affinity all weekend in 2009. If you are locked into opinions, you are really in the wrong game. This sport is constantly evolving. If your strategy does not evolve, you are going to get left behind.

I have spent a lot of time looking at 2-year-old American grass horses in the last few years. I will be spending less time this year. Their frame of reference is each other, and it is quite clear that the European 2-year-olds are generally much better, so knowing which Americans are best is not really a critical detail.

Once I am through the video study, I will try to determine how the races are most likely to be run and what effect that is likely to have on the results. Again, it is a subjective exercise, but I know this: Nearly every big score I have ever made has been the result of being able to predict how races will be run – a speed horse finally clear; a hot, contested pace that knocks out all the front-runners from exotics; rider intention.

Obviously, I will be paying close attention to the Mike Welsch workout reports. I hit two double-digit-odds BC winners in 2009 simply off the workout reports in races where I had absolutely no opinion.

The very last thing I do, usually on Thursday, is melt my opinions into wagers.

Let’s say I decide that Shared Belief’s trip in the Awesome Again Stakes was brutal and could cause him to regress, and I further think the 2-year-old champion is not quite as effective on dirt as he is on synthetic. How could I best make money if I think I can beat the Classic favorite?

These 2-year-olds are really fast, but will they be as fast if the best of them hook up and go too fast too soon? Is there a horse who has not run fast yet but has the potential to run fast, a horse that the bloodlines and running style suggest the longer, the better?

Everybody knows I loved California Chrome in the spring. Is he not the same horse now, or were those two inside trips his kryptonite, making it very difficult for him to show his best form?

As always, there are lots of questions. I am off in search of answers.