Saratoga Saturday Late Pick 4

We put together another Late Pick Four last Saturday as first time starter Prayed For got the job done in the finale to give us a $245 winning ticket. Considering how chalky the sequence was, the payout wasn’t all that bad. Plus the wager itself only cost $40 with a scratch in the 8th race. Here’s the Alabama Day ticket:

Race 8: 4,5,10,13

An allowance race with a baker’s dozen makes the opening leg quite difficult. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of horseplayers go six, seven, or eight deep to start the Late Pick Four, but I narrowed it down to less than a quarter of the field. Scam (#4) is second off the layoff and had to deal with The Big Beast last time. He did draw pretty well in here and stretches out to seven furlongs. Right next to him, Surfing U S A (#5) comes out of the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and turns back in distance. It’s been a couple of months since that race, but a steady work tab suggests Todd Pletcher has him set forSaturday. Financial Mogul (#10) is 1-for-8 in his career, but he has gone up against some extremely talented horses including Bayern and Cairo Prince. The water is too deep in Graded Stakes action for him, and this $85,000 allowance is actually a class relief. I found it interesting Rick Violette worked him out one mile a few days ago. Waco (#13) looked good breaking his maiden. The extreme outside post isn’t ideal, but the red hot Irad Ortiz Jr. can put this horse in the game. Junior Alvarado should be sending Mosler (#1) from the inside and Dream Saturday (#6) looks like another speed, hopefully setting the stage for one of the four horses on the ticket. Definitely a King’s Bishop feel to this race.

Race 9: 2,7,9

Orino (#2) proved three back the dirt isn’t for him. He showed he wanted the lead as a three-year-old, but changed tactics now that he’s four. Two consecutive bullet works make me think he will be forwardly placed. Mobridge (#7)overcame a fairly wide move to win an allowance at Belmont last month. The runner up came back to win last Saturday, ironically starting things right for us in the Late Pick Four. Why Not Whiskey (#9) dealt with some traffic last out. I’ll give him another chance because he typically runs well at Saratoga. He’s hit the board three times (1-1-1) in four starts at the track. Assuming the AEs are scratched, these three appear to be the ones to beat.

Race 10: 1,6,8

The Alabama centers around Stopchargingmaria (#8). To be honest, I’m not crazy about her. Having said that, she’s won two straight and was much the best in the Coaching Club American Oaks. Unbridled Forever (#1) disappointed in the CCA Oaks, but I’m not giving up on her yet. It can be tough to be patient in this game, but it pays off (a la Clearly Now). Outside of these two, I’ll also throwFortune Pearl (#6) in the mix. She finished third to Stopchargingmaria in the Black Eyed Susan and came back to win the Delaware Oaks. The value will be there with her too. Size (#9) will get some play, but her Iowa Oaks win came on a sloppy track. I need to see her go long on a fast track.

Race 11: 1,4,7,9

An optional claimer on the turf rounds out the card, and four in the field would give us our third winning Late Pick Four ticket of the meet. Innovation Economy (#1) is coming off a winning debut in October. Chad Brown runs him back for the first time off that effort. Another one from the Chad Brown barn, Request (#4) is a major player. He beat Mr. Speaker in his debut, and there’s a bright future ahead for this $400,000 purchase. Smooth Daddy (#7) runs better around two turns as opposed to the one turn mile and sixteenth races at Belmont. Expect him near the front. Shaun’s Blessing (#9) had slow starts in his two races, but rider switch to John Velazquez can’t be overlooked.

$.50 wager (4 X 3 X 3 X 4) = $72

Image: Doug Kerr, “Saratoga Race Course – New York.” Copyright 2010.

Belmont, Maiden Special Weight, May 14 @ 5:28 ET

Race of the DayMay 14, 2014

Belmont ParkElmont, New York, Race 9

5:28 ET, Maiden Special Weight, Turf, Fillies & Mares, New York-Bred, Older, 1 Mile, Purse: $60K

The bad weather has passed, and the turf is firm at Belmont Park. Today’s race of the day is for maidens (horses that have yet to win a race) and on the Belmont Outer Turf course.  Belmont has two turf courses, which enables the running of many turf races. I think it’s the best top-to-bottom turf racing in North America (although a good argument can often be made for Southern California racing or the Keeneland meet as well.)  The races often have deep story lines and often present good betting opportunities.

The morning line favorite here is Lady Kressa (#9, 3-1), a David Donk trainee ridden by the quite turf-capable, Irad Ortiz Jr.  Lady Kressa, a three-year old filly out of value turf sire, Stonesider, looks the part on paper with some great works, with one bit exception — neither Stonesider nor Donk has ever had a first time turf runner win.  Now, that doesn’t mean she can’t win, (see The Black Swan) but it does raise some questions.  Is there anywhere else to go?

Eddy’s Time (#3, 7/2) looked good off the layoff and could improve the second time back. She struggled in a paceless affair back in November, but should be a factor today.  Baby B (#4, 6/1) should be a pace factor, but would need to improve to find the winner’s circle today.  Tenacious Indeed (#6, 20-1) garners a deeper look.  Throw out that last start, as he tries turf and routing for the first time.  He’s unlikely, but threatens a possibility in an open race.  Piccolo Flats (#7, 12-1) moves from the Chad Brown barn and tries turf.  I think if he had turf prowess Brown would have tried it.  Sleek (#8, 6-1) is intriguing.  She routes for the first time on turf off a layoff for a trainer, Michael Hushion, that excels at both angles.  Jose Ortiz get the mount.   Nile Empress(#9, 4-1) tries grass for the first time for the Chad Brown barn.  He’d need to improve quite a bit to win and probably will be overbet.  The final contender is Laurenmychannelgirl (#10, 8-1) with the very capable apprentice, Taylor Rice.  A daughter of Afleet Alex, she’s bred to route and tries it for the first time for her aunt, Linda Rice.  Linda Rice’s horse typically need a race to get into shape, but this one still demands a second look.


  1. How will Lady Kressa handle racing?  It’s a risk with every first-time starter.  She’s never raced before!
  2. Will Sleek improve at the route distance?
  3. Will Laurenmychanelgirl need a race or will she be sharp?


Lady Kressa looks good on paper, but she’s still a first time starter in a competitive field.  It’s tough to win first time out — even tougher when there are other strong contenders as there are here.  Sleek would need to improve, but that seems quite possible.  Eddy’s Time is, perhaps, the safest bet — a good performance is likely and she’s fast enough to win.

We’ll be on at 5:10 p.m. ET on twitter @alldayracing with a detailed look at prices