Commentary

Breeders' Cup 101

Updated: October 20, 2008, 5:47 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

Never bet more than you can afford to win.

Stay positive (See above.)

The High Five is a new extreme exotic wagering opportunity at the Cup, and explains the wager -- you have to pick the first five across the wire -- and could even describe the junior executives who thought it up.

You can disregard short field winners that produce big numbers.

Field sizes can reverse results.

The surface can reverse results.

Luck can reverse results.

Incompetence can reverse results.

Post positions can reverse results.

Play favorites mostly on exotics.

Use your sense of humor.

Toss declining Beyers.

The distribution and evolution of speed is the key element in all the races.

Speed, if uncontested, or if restrained, most certainly can win on the grass, at any distance.

Speed can also win on fake dirt (but only if the other horses all run together).

The obvious is for suckers, as angles like strong turf to fake dirt performances are apt to be over-bet.

Fake dirt is mostly like grass in that it produces big exotic payoffs.

Psalm is apt to be over-bet in the filly and mare sprint.

War Monger is apt to be under bet Saturday.

A previous success on fake dirt is big.

Entire horses seem to have almost been sucked beneath the fake dirt surface when running from the inside couple of post positions at Santa Anita.

The payoff on a number of the exotics could exceed the amount of money remaining in the banks left standing in Iceland.

Lucky numbers apply.

Sometimes a glass of wine is clarifying.

Since you have to throw out a lot of nice-looking horses, Europe-to-LA sounds like as good a reason as any, and better than most.

You can't blame a horse for defeating a lousy field, just so long as he or she does it easily, and the field is relatively full.

I usually toss horses coming from long layoffs to such competitive races and regret it less than when an obvious favorite wins.

A lousy economy should be good for the Breeders' Cup, as all you need to bet is $2.

Most media experts know no more than what you know, otherwise they wouldn't need the picking paychecks.

Look at the dummy next to you, people just like him make a possible winner 25-1; at the Cup, big odds are frequently about people, not horses.

I'll do some picks toward the middle of the week, and will send out messages before and after, Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, two savers look like Ohio State plus the two against Alleged U. (Penn State), and quite possibly LSU minus two with Georgia.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.