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.