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Crushing the Cup 2013 The Handicapper's Guide to Breeders' Cup XXX
by Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett
from Progressive Handicapping Inc., 126 pages paperback

This year, Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett's legendary Crushing The Cup celebrates its 22nd year in print. In this, the flagship product of Progressive Handicapping Inc., the dynamic duo compiles all sorts of statistics from past Breeders' Cups in order to come up with a winning profile for the World Championship races, which will be celebrating their 30th renewal on November 1 and 2. No stone is left unturned as they examine track biases of the host track, prep races and running styles used by past winners, number of days since last start, and much more. The book is a real eye-opener for a casual bettor/fan since it gives such a participant so many different angles to work with to find that elusive "crush" on the big day, but would definitely be useful to horseplayers at all levels of betting.

Unlike some handicapping publications on the market, Mazur and Mallett don't simply brag about their successes and not admit their failures. More importantly, Mazur and Mallett take very different approaches to handicapping, but share a common objective of "crushing" a few races rather than grinding out a profit on winning low payoffs on more races, and still frequently come up with the same picks. The entire first chapter is a detailed narrative of last year's Championship day, listing what their selections had been and how they came up with them, what bets were placed, and how much money was won or lost. For example, Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby was dismissed by Mazur as a "pretender", killing a potentially lucrative Pick 3 score. These men must be applauded for this full disclosure, which lends much more credibility to their publication than a series of red-boarded winning bets like you might see elsewhere. No handicapping or betting strategy is perfect and the "Crushers" are honest and brave enough to not claim that theirs is, although in 2012 they did have a very profitable Cup weekend.

Traditionally the host track changed every year, presenting problems when trying to come up with a winning bet, but with the Breeders' Cup eliminating the old rotation, this should be less of an issue. This will be the second of three consecutive years at Santa Anita, and the third in the last five, so we have very recent information to work with. Mazur and Mallett spend an entire chapter on this issue, discussing what the facility looks like, and the track's biases at each of the Cup race distances, data useful not only to those betting on the Cup races themselves, but also to players wanting to increase their Santa Anita play. The editors disregard the 2008 and 2009 main track races for certain statistics due to the fact they were run on a synthetic surface, however Mallett points out the 2012 dirt track, unlike the original pre-synthetic version, was very slow and favored speed-pressers, but also warns that after seven visits to Santa Anita the main track has never been the same two years running!

For the rest of the book, each of the 14 World Championship races (down from 15 after the cancellation of the Juvenile Sprint) is featured in its own chapter. Each chapter begins with a chart listing past winners (Santa Anita only for the original 7 races), the winning trainer and jockey, the running style used, age, post position, win and exacta payoffs, and winning Beyer. In a quick glance you can already see some trends unfolding, and in the pages that follow, those trends and others are examined in great detail. Some races feature more winning favorites, some favor a specific runstyle (wire, stalk, or rally), and some see most of its winners coming from a certain prep race. Each chapter concludes with the Daily Racing Form past performances of the last few winners, again giving the reader a chance to look for trends that may reappear this year. Also included is a URL and password to access the book's appendix in PDF format, which includes additional charts left off the print version for space considerations.

To accompany Crushing the Cup, Progressive Handicapping releases The Crushing Zone one week before Championship day. This newsletter-sized publication of about 30 pages length sorts the pre-entrants for each race into the three categories of Contenders, Gray Zone, and Pretenders, based on the factors detailed in Crushing the Cup. You purchase a password from Progressive Handicapping which allows you to download the Zone, which is updated daily through Friday based on any last minute changes such as late scratches, good or bad morning workouts, or weather. Mallett attends all of Cup week at Santa Anita to report on the morning workouts and track maintenance "tricks" for the benefit of the Crushing Zone, while Mazur camps out at Progressive Handicapping's Breeders' Cup Bash at the Mohegan Sun casino.

Crushing The Cup 2013 is an excellent publication for anybody wanting to bet the tough Breeders' Cup races on November 1 and 2, or for newer horseplayers wanting to learn more about the use of angles and biases when selecting their horses, on Cup day and otherwise. Mazur and Mallett have done their homework through 22 years of experience, and the fruit of their labor is yours for just $29.95. From their Breeders' Cup experience they have expanded their operations and also publish similar statistical analyses for the Triple Crown and for the various major circuits in North America.

Crushing The Cup 2013 has a cover price of $29.95 and is available from Progressive Handicapping Inc. and Daily Racing Form. There are package deals available which include combinations of some or all of their Breeders' Cup products.

Rating:     5/5

Review: Using Impact Values To Select Breeders' Cup Winners - By Stanley Caris. An alternative system of Breeders' Cup bet selection, using impact values for various angles compiled from past results.

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