10/26/2011 2:28PM

Jerardi: Singles always key to a big Breeders' Cup



Like plastics in the seminal movie “The Graduate,” singles is the word in the final days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.

Without having a strong opinion or two somewhere on the cards, it is almost impossible to take a serious swing for the fences.

So, in this game, it is “singles” that can become home runs.

Without knowing the final fields yet, I already know there will be several races each day that are inscrutable, races where you could use 70 percent of the field in a multi-race wager and still not feel comfortable. Eventually, I muddle through those races, throwing out the absolute no hopers either through running style or performance and then putting the rest aside for the final configuring of tickets.

What I have been thinking about for weeks is potential singles. Price is not an object. I don’t care if my singles are 4-5. I just need them to win.

What I know is that somewhere on these cards, we are going to get the 2012 version of Dancing in Silks (25-1), Desert Code (36-1), or Miesque’s Approval (24-1), just to cite a few examples from the last five years. I do not expect to like any of these longshots. I just want to be sharp enough to include them when I am using six, seven, eight horses in a race.

If I had been smart enough on Saturday in 2009 at Santa Anita to single Goldikova (7-5) and Conduit (4-5), maybe I fall on Dancing in Silks in the Sprint. Believe it or not, I actually used Vale of York (30-1) in the Juvenile on some tickets and Furthest Land (21-1) in the Dirt Mile on just about every ticket. In fact, I picked Furthest Land because of his synthetic form. I included Vale of York after watching synthetic form dominate the Friday card.

I did not use Dancing in Silks in anything and was gone after the first leg of the pick six. I used Zenyatta (5-2) in the Classic, but she was not featured on the majority of my tickets. (Should have paid even more attention to synthetics and just realized Zenyatta would love the distance and just pass all the horses in front of her, no matter how many or their r é sum é s).

The pick six, with Goldikova, Conduit, and an unbeaten Zenyatta, with the three bombs, paid $1,838,205.20. There was just one winning ticket, with 163 consolation tickets worth $4,822.40 each. The total pool was $3,313,244.

So, singles. And then spreads. Be right once or preferably twice. And then be inspired on the races where everything starts to look the same.

Goldikova is running again, going for her fourth straight Mile. I know she has lost several times this year. I don’t care. When you watch her run, she still looks like she has the same will to win. She has just run up against some really tough horses in Europe. It is not like she is not trying.

When I went through the cards last year, I really thought the Mile had the deepest, most competitive field of any of the races. I could make a reasonable case for a half-dozen horses. I was not, however, making a case for any of them to win. I was just trying to see which horse could be second. I never came to a conclusion and passed the race.

But I did single Goldikova in all multi-race wagers. And she blew away what I thought was such a good field.

I could change my mind between now and next Saturday, but I doubt it. I am planning to single Goldikova again.

Really, what is the alternative? If you don’t single her, you would have to use who knows how many horses to feel comfortable. It is way more cost effective to just use Goldikova.

Now, you could use a few backup tickets without Goldikova to be more reassured. I prefer to have an opinion. Then, there are just two possibilities. I will be right or wrong. Or I could be right and unlucky. I can’t account for that, so I try not to think that way. Really good pick-six players, however, do think that way and try to factor luck out of it by giving themselves as many chances as possible.

So, other singles?

The Turf Sprint is definitely not the place to get too brave. The Dirt Mile is interesting, but not easy. The Classic certainly does not look like a single.

Thankfully, I have a week to think about it all. I will watch some more tape and listen the Clocker Report carefully, but, as it gets down to the final hours, I forget all the research.

I try to spend all my time constructing tickets. If you are going for the big score, it is less about picking individual winners (with the singles exceptions) than it is about understanding nuances of individual races and putting yourself in the best possible position in those races.

Then, if you are right on your singles (and I am not advocating an Arlington Park circa 2002 Fix Six of single-single-single-single-all-all, but you have to admire the simple brilliance of those bozos), you could be dangerous. Then, you could use a little luck and all the money could be yours.