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.

Guest Analysis: Billy Blake’s Saturday Late Pick 4

[Here’s Billy’s ticket and analysis for Saturday’s Late Pick 4.

I also asked him, “If you absolutely had to single one horse in one race — and not Tonalist in the Jim Dandy, who would it be?” His answer: “Coup de Grace.”  

Good luck to all playing the spa today! SA]

Tough start to last week’s Pick Four as Devilish Love, a horse I respected but played against, won in a photo finish to kill the ticket after the first leg.

Weather should be a non-factor again, and the two turf races in the sequence should be run over a firm turf course.

Race 8: 4,5,8

The Grade II Amsterdam kickstarts the Late Pick Four, and there are reports of two scratches. Noble Moon and morning line favorite Rock Fall appear to be out of the race, leaving us with a field of seven. Coup de Grace was overmatched two back in the Woody Stephens and found the winner’s circle against weaker company at Delaware earlier in July. He’s now the probable post time favorite. Tiznowforamerica is 10-1 in the morning line, coming off a win at the Amsterdam distance of six and a half furlongs. Captain Serious is the speed in the race and turns back in the Amsterdam. Expect him to try to wire the field.

Race 9: 2,3,6,8

I’ll go four deep in this optional claimer. Palace Dreams is coming off a layoff, but she’s run well in her two races at Saratoga. She should be able to save ground from the inside with Jose Lezcano. Miz Owellcouldn’t hang on going one mile on a yielding turf course at Belmont, although she won three back with the extra sixteenth of a mile and another yielding course. You can make a case she’s better without a firm course, but she’s 2-for-5 this year and didn’t get the best of rides in the Mount Vernon. Lady’s Lunar Luck gets back to a more suitable distance after running out of gas going one mile and an eighth. Has hit the board in all four starts at the Spa (2-1-1). The Lady Says Yes makes a second start off the layoff and is another one in the field who likes the Saratoga turf. Just to mention a couple I won’t be using, Caribbean Beat is a nice horse, just doesn’t seem to win. Chow Fun may be compromised by the extreme outside post.

Race 10: 4,7

I’m chalking it out in the Jim Dandy with Tonalist and Wicked Strong.The Belmont Stakes winner will probably be stalking Legend, who appears to be the pace on paper. The blinkers on Wicked Strong should only help. Of the others in the field, I like Commanding Curve, but don’t think the pace will be hot enough for him to be kicking late. Same can be said for Kid Cruz. Tonalist and Wicked Strong are the class of the field. The value won’t be there, but they are the obvious choices in a small field.

Race 11: 2,6,7,11,12

A huge field completes the card. Twelve horses are entered, only one of which is a MTO.  There are a few horses that I’ll use coming out of a June 25th race at Belmont. Elroi is putting up consistent figures and continues to finish in the money. Note the winner of the race two back ran a respectable fourth on ThursdayTrainingforsuccess ran third on June 25th and offers a bit of value at 10-1 morning line. First start in the Mitchell Friedman barn and gets a rider change to Junior Alvarado.Bluegrass Flash is another one who is in contention each time he steps on the track. Joel Rosario sticks around and enters this race with experience on turf for Christophe Clement. Ballybrit couldn’t wire the field for one mile and a quarter. However, cutting back to one mile and a sixteenth improves his chances of wiring the field as one of the few speeds on paper. I can’t ignore Tapitation either. No worse than second in five career starts. Poliziotto hasn’t run in over a year, and I can’t endorse him at what will likely be short odds with a 12-month layoff.

$.50 wager (3 X 4 X 2 X 5) = $60

Image: Oliver Mallich, “The Paddock at Saratoga.” Copyright 2007. Creative Commons 2.0.

Guest Picks: Saratoga Late Pick 4, Races 8-11

[Please welcome Billy Blake to All Day Racing! Billy blogs at and is on twitter at @billyblake22.  He’s providing Late Pick 4’s at Saratoga. It’s a tough sequence at a challenging track.  Good luck! SA]

Weather shouldn’t be an issue for Saturday’s races, so I’ll assume all MTOs are scratched while piecing together the all turf Late Pick Four ticket.

Race 8: 5,9,11

The Late Pick Four starts with fillies and mares going one mile. This isn’t an easy sequence so I’m trying to get through the first couple legs of the wager with a limited number of horses on the ticket. Tasmona and Weave are both trying one mile for the first time, although I trust the connections (Castellano-Brown and Rosario-Motion) enough to use them. Stock Fund intrigues me at 12-1 in the morning line with Alex Solis and will throw her in the mix too.   I think one mile is her best distance, and she has  hit the board in four of five starts at Saratoga. I won’t use Devilish Love, but her effort last out merits respect in here.

Race 9: 4,5,10

After the scratches of MTOs, a tricky field of nine goes at it in an optional claimer at one mile and an eighth. Hard Enough is dropping out of the Grade II Monmouth, and he’s 2-for-4 at this distance. Star Channel gets a huge jockey change to Jose Lezcano, while North Star Boy has been consistent in his last three starts and note a couple of bullet works leading up to the race. I don’t want Pyrite Mountain or Battle Force, who are both coming off a layoff.

Race 10: 2,5,8,9,10

The first Grade I of the meet, the Diana came up an extremely tough race. The ‘ALL’ button might be the way to go in here because you can make a case for the majority of the horses. I’ll use half the field, while taking a stance against Emollient. She is a talented horse, but I have concerns about her wiring the field at the distance and she will likely be overbet. Abaco and Strathnaver are my longshot plays. I’ll excuse Abaco’s last race on a yielding turf course in the Sheepshead Bay, and I like the turnback to one mile and an eighth. Strathnaver almost pulled off the upset in the Just A Game, and the extra furlong should only help. Alterite has a lot of competition off a layoff, but I don’t want her to be the one to break up the ticket. Stephanie’s Kitten and Tannery won’t save too much ground from the outside post. However, they offer nice value at 6-1.

Race 11: 2,3,11,12

If we can survive the first three legs of the wager, it won’t get any easier with the one mile and sixteenth allowance in the finale. All Included looked good breaking his maiden in his first start on grass. Unfortunately, the odds won’t be great because it’s Castellano-Pletcher. Bingo Kitten is making a second start off a layoff for Rosario-Ramsey. I don’t expect 5-1 by post time though. The Linda Rice duo of Make a Decision and Alarmed Ndangerous will also give us a winning ticket. Alarmed Ndangerous is making his second start off layoff for Linda Rice — a good angle and he seems to like Saratoga.  Make a Decision had a tough trip last time in the stretch last out.

$.50 wager  = $90

Image: Mike L, “Caleb’s Posse – 2011 Kings Bishop”. Copyright 2011.