10/24/2012 12:05PM

Jerardi: Searching for those elusive Breeders' Cup singles

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Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude will be favored in the Breeders' Cup Classic, he's undefeated on the Santa Anita track, and he's posted seven triple-digit Beyers in a row. But is he a single?

Went through the Breeders’ Cup pre-entries once quickly just to see if anything jumped off the page. Went through them again more slowly just to get a general feel for each race. Will go through them next looking for potential race shapes and how that might affect outcomes. This weekend, I will go through each race, watching videos of every contender and some not-so-obvious contenders.

Once all those exercises are done, I will have a library of notes for each race. I will then add to that any pertinent information that I read and hear, along with watching Mike Welsch’s invaluable DRF morning observation videos and reading his final thoughts late next week. Then and only then will I make decisions on what to bet next Friday and Saturday and, more importantly, how to bet.

Last year, I went to Churchill Downs with two firm opinions. I liked Goldikova in the Mile and Union Rags in Juvenile. I knew both would be favored, but that really was not relevant. If both of them won, I was going to be dangerous in every multi-race pool.

[BREEDERS' CUP PPs: Visit DRF's official BC Handicapping Center]

Turns out all that work made everything right around them, but I turned out to be wrong about both of them – not way wrong, but wrong enough.

I would love to get on the plane to Los Angeles next week with two firm opinions in two races on the same card. Then, I can begin to frame bets around those opinions. My friend Tony Sinisi, the longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker, once told me, as he was in the process of finalizing his lines for college football games one week, that, at some point, you’ve got to have an opinion. His opinion was the basis for sports books in Nevada to display numbers. He did not have to tell me that once I formed an opinion, I had to be willing to support it.

Now, I just have questions, lots of questions.

Game On Dude is going to be favored in the Classic. I know that. Everybody knows that. That, however, is not the question. The question is this: Is Game On Dude a single?

We know he is unbeaten at Santa Anita. We know the horse has earned seven consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. We know or should know the rider change from the now-retired Chantal Sutherland to Rafael Bejarano is quite positive. We know he was a brilliant second in this race last year. We know the pace looks like it should be less than testing. We know he is likely to get first run on the closers.

We also know he is 2 for 7 at 1 1/4 miles. We definitely know there are some serious horses (eight of which have won at least $1 million) that will be running at him in the stretch.

A week out, Game On Dude really has the feel of a single. He is the most consistent of the contenders. He is running where he trains while almost all of the other contenders had to be flown from New York. He has had a terrific year. If he wins, he will be Horse of the Year.

And if you think he is a single, make him a single. Who cares if the Classic is the last race in the sequence? That’s all psychological stuff, which has no meaning when you are structuring a bet. The way I look at it, there are two possibilities: I am going to be right or I am going to be wrong. When that is determined is irrelevant.

If you asked me right now would I like to be alive to Game On Dude and only Game On Dude in any of the multiple race wagers, my answer would be, “Absolutely. Where do I sign up?”

If Game On Dude, with his nearly $3 million in earnings, is arguably the best horse running over the two days, Friday’s Ladies’ Classic has to be the most exciting race. All the Ladies’ has is three former Breeders’ Cup race winners, two unbeaten horses, the defending champion, serious early speed, and many of the top trainers in the sport.

Just getting 2011 Ladies’ champ Royal Delta back in the starting gate would have sold this race to me. Then, we get the unbeaten winners of the last two Juvenile Fillies (My Miss Aurelia and Awesome Feather), along with the super-fast Questing, the accomplished Grace Hall, and the quick Love and Pride. You have a serious horse race with no predetermined outcome. Trainers Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Tony Dutrow, Kiaran McLaughlin, Chad Brown, and Steve Asmussen, who combined have been represented by more than 800 winners in 2012, all have contenders.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Race-by-race coverage, video, early odds]

Royal Delta should be favored. She is certainly good enough, but there is so much quality that I would not even consider a single. This race could play out in so many different ways.

So, how will the 2012 Breeders’ Cup play out? Don’t know yet, but I will be spending the next week trying to make sense of it all, form some opinions, and convert those opinions into wagers.

Greg Jones More than 1 year ago
Two singles for me, Love and Pride and California Flag. Love and Pride will go gate to wire and win in hand (hates to be shown or hit with the whip). California Flag is almost unbeatable on the downhill course and is training great for the race. Also, California Flag will be in his 5th straight Breeders' Cup, quite a feat and I believe only the second to ever be in five. Good luck all...
Karl Deppen More than 1 year ago
Well, I'm sold on Royal Delta on Fri.--win or lose, I'm sticking with her and definitely using Motts other ponies for a Mott sweep of the double. Need the racing luck for these 20 buck doubles
walter goode More than 1 year ago
i like the mike smith sweep of the double for 20 as well as the mott double .
Clark Dougherty More than 1 year ago
Dick Jerardi is right about nailing the right singles on BC weekend. With payouts so lucrative, even the two-race parlays pay well while multi-race bets can be breath-taking. It's best to have 2 singles on Friday and 3 of them on Saturday with none of them in successive races. But handicapping seldom works that way. Good luck to us all. Like Dick, I will be watching and evaluating the horse/track conditions through Thursday before adding to these two - either would have to incur an injury to change my mind on them. They are Groupie Doll (probably even money) and Awesome Feather (anywhere from 7/2 to 6 - 1).
Perl More than 1 year ago
Awesome Feather will probably go off favored. Everyone loves this filly.
Matthew Sanchez More than 1 year ago
Richards Kid is my single!!! he's very dangerous, he always puts up a good effort and with more distance and pace for him to close into,,also gud value,
CrystalB More than 1 year ago
No way Dude is a single for me. He won't even be on my ticket. Yes he has never been beaten at SA but who has he beaten?
Jimmy Morales More than 1 year ago
GOTTA LOVE Executive privlege for Baffert....and i will be on the Dude as a single in the multi race wagers.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
game on dude will lose for he has beat nothing and has had his way on the lead due to the that and he is not a mile and quarter horse at all.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
does anyone really care about this guys picks? He acts like thousands of horse players are waiting patiently for his singles..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...the old adage holds true at handicapping,,and that is when you start listening to someone elses tips,,your going to lose and have nobody to blame but yourself. If you know how to handicap, then you have a chance,,otherwise, by listening to others in the sport of kings, you will end up in the sport of bankruptcy
peter k More than 1 year ago
evaluating all the information is essential and then of course make your own selections
edb More than 1 year ago
Ladies classic should be wide open and one heck of a tri and super. I still like Flat Out as nice longshot in other classic. My single would be Wise Dan.
Wesley White More than 1 year ago
Singling Wise Dan will explode all of your combos. He is likey to run off the board.
Old timer More than 1 year ago
has Flat Out EVER won a race outside of Belmont?
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Obviosly is a single. He runs so confortably cutting out those fast fractions. Everyone will be so affraid of Wise Dan.....they will let Obviously run free. Wise Dan will be the days biggest dissapointment. He LOOKS very impressive in the stretch, but his come home times are VERY SLOW.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Obviously is going to get eaten for breakfast at the eighth pole.