01/12/2005 1:00AM

Sound of torn tickets? RIP

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PHILADELPHIA - What would you have done with this race? Twelve 3-year-olds going a mile at Gulfstream Park last Saturday in a $125,000 non-graded stakes. Two unbeatens. A lot of filler.

Horse A has raced twice. Won his maiden by 9 1/4 lengths on Oct. 9. Came back on Nov. 20 and won an allowance race by three lengths. Came from slightly off the pace in both starts. Was 3-2 in his debut in a nine-horse field. Was 1-10 against five opponents in the second race. Both races were at Calder. Went six furlongs and then 6 1/2 furlongs. Got a 97 Beyer Speed Figure followed by a 94 Beyer. Comes off a nearly 50-day layoff.

Horse B has raced once. Won his maiden at Aqueduct. Won by two lengths going seven furlongs. Was 5-1 in a seven-horse field. Got an 83 Beyer. Is making his first start in 60 days.

Horses C through L don't show much. They are a combined 16 for 54. Several of the horses have Beyered in the mid-80's, but have not shown much consistency. One horse just got a 91 Beyer while winning a small stakes at Aqueduct, but the Beyer improvement was so dramatic you have to wonder if it can happen again.

Horse B was sent off at 3-2. Horse A was 3-1.

How is that possible? RIP. Reputation Induced Phenomenon.

Horse B is Deputy Indy. The name sort of tells you the colt is by $300,000 sire A.P. Indy out of a Deputy Minister mare. He cost $350,000 as a yearling. Stanley Hough, a man with a very good reputation as a conditioner of young horses, trains him.

Horse A is High Fly. This colt is a Live Oak homebred by $4,000 sire Atticus out of a Slewpy mare. William P. White, a man well known in south Florida but not so well known by all those simulcast bettors who like the Gulfstream action on Saturday, trains him.

So how could a horse clearly inferior on the numbers be such a big favorite over an obviously superior horse? RIP.

It is an event like this that gives hope to those of us who believe so passionately in the Beyers. The public got it backward. The public swung and missed.

High Fly won by nine lengths. He sat third and blew the field away in the stretch. He got a 100 Beyer and was so visually impressive that White said he is now mapping out a plan to the Kentucky Derby.

Deputy Indy made no impact and finished 10th.

This race really came down to pedigree, not performance. Everybody knows about A.P. Indy, but they should know this, too: not all of them can run.

Atticus, a son of Nureyev, came to the United States after a European campaign. He went on to win the Kentucky Cup Classic, the Oaklawn Handicap, and more than $1 million. He has been at stud for only a few years without showing much, and, it would be fair to say, not seeing the same quality of mares that visit A.P. Indy, why can't Atticus have a runner?

For the record, I noticed this race after the fact. Obviously, I wish I had known before the fact.

Whenever I see a race like this, I go back and examine all of it. How could it have been bet? Would I have been smart enough to toss the false favorite and find my way to the superfecta pool?

The horses behind High Fly were 33-1, 8-1, and 30-1. Without the favorite in a full field, this sounded like a possible score. The pool was $130,640. The superfecta payoff was $8,165 - nice enough but, according to my super guru, something that "would have been a little disappointing."

My guess is that several sharp High Fly bettors were in the audience. They put High Fly on top and played as many combinations as they could afford behind him. They understood the situation perfectly and put themselves in position to take advantage of it.

This game is all about spotting opportunity. When you see it, you must not be conservative. Bet some more. Spread wider. Take risks. Believe in your opinion. If you don't believe in your opinion, you are in the wrong game. And who wants to be in any game other than the game that gives you 3-1 sometimes on a horse that lays all over the field?