2012 Breeders' Cup wagering reviewThis year's Breeders' Cup showed both the pitfalls and benefits of coming to a weekend of competitive racing with a bunch of ammunition.
On the pitfall side of things, it seems kind of silly to have hit a Pick 5 and all four Pick 4s on the weekend and lose money, but that's what happens when you take a big swing. Sometimes you connect but fly out to the warning track.
On the benefit side, the size of the bankroll allowed me to cover plausible opinions that I otherwise would not have. E.g., making Zagora an "A" in the Filly & Mare Turf and Little Mike a "C" in the Turf. Had I been playing with my money only, I would have cut the horses I was able to use in half knowingly eliminating legitimate contenders.
So that stew led to a loss on the weekend of 28%, which is certainly better than the shutout I pitched last year. Some key moments along the way this year:
1. THE MARATHON: I was thrilled to get live to Atigun for an $11k Pick 5 on Friday and bitterly disappointed when Calidoscopio won as an "X" because I was live to some nice Pick 3s following Hightail's upset Juvenile win and could have kept rolling with a better Marathon opinion.
Calidoscopio was tough to like, but he clearly had his backers given he was "only" 17-to-1, and the Marathon is absolutely a race where all the horses should have been at least a "C". I wouldn't have hit the Pick 5, and the few extra Pick 3s wouldn't have gotten me to even, anyway, but Calidoscopio was a bad "X".
2. FRIDAY's PICK 4s: I was mainly all in on either Royal Delta or Awesome Feather winning and didn't see how anyone but Beholder, Executiveprivilege, Kauai Katie, or Spring At Last would win the Juvenile Fillies. Those opinions should have meant I hit the Pick 4s much more than just $1 each considering Flotilla, Zagora, and Grandeur were all "A" selections for me. Sure, I hedged a bit with others, and My Miss Aurelia was paying well, but this was a spot where I needed to press on the Juvenile Fillies & Ladies' Classic more than I did.
3. GROUPIE DOLL: I hit the Pick 5 & Pick 4 with Groupie Doll, and those came back an OK $1,200 & $1,700, respectively, considering she was 4-to-5, but she was the lock of the weekend, and I needed to put more eggs in that basket. Hitting each of those multis for an extra unit would have led to a profitable weekend.
4. WISE DAN: Similar to Groupie Doll, he was a big key for me, and did allow me to get live to "ALL" in the Classic for some pretty nice numbers, but connecting an "A+" on the day with an "A" and a solid "B" should have netted more than just one combo. Little Mike as a "C" hurt, but I can't be too disappointed because he probably would have been an "X" if playing on my own. Still, one extra unit on that Pick 4 and we're in the black.
5. JUVENILE: One stand I did take was making Power Broker an "A" and Shanghai Bobby a "B" with the rest as Cs or Xs. No excuses here, I was just wrong. I did handicap the race that these were the only likely winners by a large margin and took a stand on Power Broker at a longer price, but the winners around this race in the Pick 4 were all nice prices and just zeroing in on both instead of mostly Power Broker would have led to some nice Pick 3s.
Overall I'm obviously disappointed not to have won but mostly happy with my bet structuring that allowed me not to win most of what I bet back despite several horses I didn't love winning. That definitely speaks to my approach that it's not about picking THE winner but asking who can win and how to best leverage that opinion.