by Jeremy Plonk
October 23, 2017
Handicapping the horse races, by and large, is an individual exercise. You crack open the past performances of your choice and get to work. That works well most any day when 8-10 races of somewhat familiar horses of varying levels of obvious ability match up.
But when that number of races balloons to 13 and average field sizes are double-digits and not 7-8, the numbers can quickly overwhelm a singular handicapper. Your challenge trying to study the Breeders’ Cup races strictly on your own can snowball quickly out of control. No matter how seasoned you think you are, or how stubborn, perhaps your best admission for Breeders’ Cup handicapping is to realize your limitations.
Maybe you know the Californians like the back of your hand, or the New Yorkers. Great, you’ve got about a quarter of the Breeders’ Cup handicapping mountain climbed. Knowing a quarter of 150 horses won’t even get you a confident exacta box, much less the pick four, five or six you dream of taking down. You see, at the Breeders’ Cup the big difference in handicapping isn’t the number of races, but rather the number of actually bettable horses. Toss-outs are few. Upsets are historically frequent and must be worked into your train of thought. Combine those factors and it means you must work hard on each and every horse.
That’s an impossible singular task.
And that’s why one of my big recommendations as you begin studying for this year’s Breeders’ Cup is to join a team. If you have a few handicapping friends, work together and compare notes or assignments. Divvy up the research with perhaps individuals coming to the group with an assessment of a particular region or particular handicapping tool (i.e. pedigrees, key trainer stats, race replay notes).
If you’re not one to hang out with other handicappers, use the resources available out there to build your team. Follow what’s said on Twitter and take advantage and notes of things that could be relevant on individual horses, races or situations. Watch the fantastic free programming on XBTV.com and gather what you can from the multiple sets of eyes and individual expertise of so many. Download the free Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Wager Guide beginning this Friday and put those top analysts in your corner, if not just for the boatload of free stats and trends stuffing its pages.
And perhaps you want to go the commercial route and purchase some handicapping aids for the Breeders’ Cup that you’d never consider on a daily routine. Even as someone who does this full-time, I have people in the game I respect and when they like a horse that I haven’t considered, it gives me fuel to take a second look and make sure I know exactly why I don’t like that horse. Sometimes a second look and second opinion pays off when a trusted source turns you back onto something you missed.
Team up this Breeders’ Cup any way you know how.
There’s so much out there to do, but also so much out there in which you can take and apply to help the process!