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If you want to bet on Breeders' Cup, here's some advise

This weekend's races at Arcadia are particularly challenging to predict; we break down who has the best track record among handicappers.

November 06, 2009|John Cherwa

The first day of the Breeders' Cup is upon us and everyone is looking for an edge. This two-day festival of racing is among the most difficult days to handicap because there are few horses you can throw out and a bunch of European horses you have no idea about.

So where do you turn?

Through the Oak Tree meeting, The Times has been tracking six public handicappers and one who sells his selections in the hopes of finding where the edge lies.

What was discovered is whichever way you look at it, making money at the track isn't that easy.

The handicappers did not ask to be in this survey and would undoubtedly spin a tale of advice that would lead to a fattened wallet. They would probably tell you never bet every race, even though they have to make selections on every race. They would also offer advice on when it's better to play win, place and show and when to bet exotics such as exactas and Pic-3s and Pic-4s.

But, you have to start somewhere, and this survey just placed a mythical $2 bet on every horse they picked to win every race, every day. If their pick scratched, the bet went on the next horse.

Handicappers try to balance value with winners. For example, it's easy to pick the favorite to win because they win about one-third of the time. Often, handicappers look to beat the favorite to bring more value to their customers.

Bob Ike, who handicaps for the Lang newspapers, has the most wins with 86. But Toby Turrell, who sells his handicapping sheet for $3, has the most amount of money with $494. If you bet $2 on every one of Toby Turrell's selections you would be up $18 for the meeting. But that, of course, doesn't count the cost of his sheet.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for number of days you won or broke even, then you would go with Ray Nelson, who also offers selections for the Lang newspapers, who had 14 of those days.

Let's say you want the hot handicapper. It would be Jerry Antonucci, who appears in the Lang papers. He has won the most money this week (two days), $42.80 on $32 wagered.

Your best value might be Brad Free, whose last name is the cost of his selections. He can be found at under handicapping. His work also appears in the Daily Racing Form. He has the second most wins with 82.

So, here's the breakdown of the handicappers, in order of wins:

Bob Ike (Lang newspapers): 86 wins, 86-49-36 (win, place, show), $469 won, nine days winning or breaking even, $44.40 is his best day (Oct. 11).

Brad Free (Daily Racing Form): 82 wins, 82-52-32, $453.60 won, 11 days winning or breaking even, $34.40 is his best day (Oct. 31).

Toby Turrell ($3 at the racetrack, also online): 73 wins, 73-39-38, $494 won, 12 days winning or breaking even, $42 is his best day (Oct. 17).

Liam Durbin (The Times): 72 wins, 72-48-39, $395 won, eight days winning or breaking even, $35.60 is his best day (Oct. 23).

Jerry Antonucci (Lang newspapers): 69 wins, 69-61-46, $382.40 won, 10 days winning or breaking even, $38.60 is his best day (Oct. 4).

Terry Turrell (Lang newspapers): 64 wins, 64-39-39, $386.80 won, eight days winning or breaking even, $36.40 is his best day (Oct. 4).

Ray Nelson (Lang newspapers): 63 wins, 63-45-31, $443.20 won, 14 days winning or breaking even, $34.80 is his best day (Oct. 25).

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