The world is full of people who see the glass as half empty. Sometimes it is, and we all know the Sport of Kings has more than its share of issues and things to complain about. If you are a bettor, or racing fan, the Breeders’ Cup is not one of them.
Over the past few weeks, as preps were being run, we saw announcements about horses retiring, missing the Breeders’ Cup, training up to the Breeders’ Cup and committing to the Breeders’ Cup. The first three categories prompted many complaints on social media implying this year’s event is subpar. I couldn’t disagree more, and I view the glass as half full.
The main reason the masses seem to be complaining is the perceived lack of big-name stars running. The Breeders’ Cup makes stars, and we are sure to recognize some new ones after the two days of racing. Stars is a relative term, you can only race who is in the gate with you. There looks to be some exciting prospects pointing for the two-year-old dirt and turf races, and you can rest assured connections will be talking Oaks and Derby Friday and Saturday evenings.
I think I am looking forward to this year as much as any previous year. As a bettor, I see a lot of opportunity, big fields, huge pools, limited standouts, and a wagering menu with something for every type of handicapper. The Breeders’ Cup can be counted on for some lofty payouts and this year appears to be shaping up that way as almost a certainty.
We have a good deal of horses with similar levels of ability. This will force the best handicapping out of those of us looking to do some real damage at the event. It will also require us to go into the toolbox and look at angles that we feel will have an advantage over the two competitive days. Complain, no way, I relish the challenge and opportunity.
The races return to Churchill Downs this year, and that means potentially cold weather, and the chance of some rain. An obvious thing I am focusing on at this early juncture as I peruse pre-entries, is who will those conditions favor. This is something we can get a jump on early.
Preparation is key for success at the Breeders’ Cup. In my opinion there are a lot of races and horses you have to sort through. Familiarizing yourself with the races, the turns/configurations and pre-entries now will help you a lot when the past performances come out after the draw. Study long, study wrong is a myth at Breeders’ Cup.