The Breeders' Cup is over and fans and handicappers all over the nation are experiencing a burnout of sorts. It's the natural lull after the euphoric high of a big event. The depth of your personal lull is often inversely related to the height of your euphoria. All that excitement can leave one feeling the need for a vacation.
Some fans and handicappers simply wonder why we race through the winter at all. I actually sympathize with that viewpoint. Racing would benefit greatly from an off season. Not only does it give horses a chance to rest but it would generate more interest when it resumes. Something like the Sunshine Millions would be a perfect launch for a new season at the end of January.
Realistically an off season is not on the cards anytime soon so we're left with the question of what to do for the next three months. Some walk away from racing entirely, the NFL, NHL, NBA and English Premier League offer enticing alternatives. I myself am a racing enthusiast first and foremost. While I do watch those other sports (especially the Premier League and NFL) I like to try and keep my finger on the pulse of racing. The winter months is where I start dedicating myself to looking at maidens and two year olds and exciting prospects who may be under the radar.
All of the promising 2yo's who either didn't make it in the summer or had some bad luck in the summer are wound tight to get a win. Everyone wants to be able to say that their horse (maybe future stakes winner) was precocious enough to win at two. Churchill, Aqueduct, Hollywood, Santa Anita and Calder are home to these maidens and not only can following them be profitable but it also gives you an excellent line on the horses who might be on the Triple Crown Trail next year. I watch a ton of video during this period and almost no horse who ends up on the Triple Crown Trail is unknown to me.
Another thing I do is assign myself a project. I've always got projects on the go from the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup 20-20 projects to the TCR and Power Rankings. Aside from minor tweaks here and there those projects are finished so my task for this off season is develop my skill and tactics for playing multi-race exotic wagers, specifically the Pick 6 and Pick 4. I'm a decent handicapper and after years of playing and self reflection I've discovered that exacta's and trifecta's are a much lower percentage proposition for me than win wagers. The best way to really capitalize strength in this area is to play multi-race exotics. It's not something I've ever seriously looked at aside from maybe a ticket at the Breeders' Cup.
Playing these types of wagers has as much to do with money management as it does handicapping. Knowing how to structure a ticket and backups is what separates the successful players and the nearly crowd who often has the right mix of horses on their losing tickets.