Commentary

Cup luck pays rent

Updated: October 12, 2009, 4:02 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

Some baseball playoffs are being played in icy fogs, with the crowds in mittens and looking like they just yelled, "Mush;" The Final Four in college basketball is in May; The NBA season is all but August; College basketball players semi-enrolled in the one-and-fun programs don't even need books; Golf finishes up with the Fed-Ex something or other, and the President's Cup, even though nobody from MIT to Jaywalking seems to understand exactly what those tournaments are all about; You can't bet on NASCAR; Wheezy old guys try to officiate NFL games; The WNBA uses a smaller basketball; Third-graders are being drafted by Daddy-Man coaches and play in tackle football leagues, even though things you make kids do at eight, they reject at 18; Cards and spelling are considered sports.

Clearly, crazier things are happening than horses running for world championships on fake dirt.

With the Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita less than a month out, many horse players are focused instead on the late Double at Evangeline: True, running on product instead of dirt seems to favor a certain style, that style being unpredictable; Assuredly, foreign-based horses with grass roots have the edge when running on what amounts to blades of fake dirt; Undoubtedly, some of the owners and trainers of the best American horses would rather be passing around apples than trying the magic carpet in LA; Certainly, the winners will be taken with a grain of synthetic footing when it comes to places in history.

But there's this to remember: good luck.

On dirt, blessed fortune pays around $50.

On grass, near miracles pay something like $75.

But on artificial surfaces, good luck starts with $250 exactas, with many tri's paying four figures. Combine some freaky good luck with the inherent difficulty of a Breeder's Cup race, and a $2 bet here will get you what it would take $50 to make at Mountaineer. This is like one of the golf majors to a horse player -- the Triple Crown and Breeder's Cup are automatic plays.

We can't leave this day to the bangers and blokes.

Last year, I actually made money on the first Breeder's Cup inspired by So-Cal make believe. You can flip back and look it up. I hit a few winners on the first day, including, as the Europeans must have described it, a glamorous tri, suggesting that when it comes to BC form, you can't beat a female. If somebody who picks horses in public doesn't bet exactly what he or she says or prints, bad luck will follow. One of the bets I made last year beyond what I printed was a $1 wager whereby I punched out the wrong number on a betting machine. The wrong number won and paid 200 times more than I deserved. This illustrates the point that when it comes to a Breeder's Cup race on synthetics, in addition to sound handicapping technique and winning on the wrong number, the following will pay a great deal more than the same occurrence on dirt for claimers: getting DQ-ed into a winner; winning on a funny name with hidden meaning; winning on your lucky numbers; having the one to beat catch a bad ride; hunches.

You know all the bad-luck losses that are yet to come full circle?

Breeder's Cup weekend, you could be walking around due without even knowing it.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.