The late Pick 4 on Saturday at Saratoga looks a difficult sequence, which despite the pain of trying to narrow it down, is what makes it such an enticing wager.
The wager begins with race 7 at 4:25 ET and includes a pair of races for 3-year-old fillies — the Grade 2 Lake Placid on turf and the historic Grade 1 Alabama, which looks an especially challenging betting race. Both of those races are also part of the Del Mar-Saratoga All Stakes Pick 4.
You could also expand the Saratoga P4 by a race and take advantage of the exclusive NYRA Bets Pick 5. Visit www.nyrabets.com to sign up and play. Earn up to a $200 bonus when you join.
Saturday's Late Pick 4 at Saratoga
Race 7: Alw 85000n1x, 1 mile, Inner Turf
#2 Miss Kentucky (8-1): Daughter of Blame is stretching out from sprint duty, including a half-length loss last out in her first start on turf. Should she be able to ration and carry her speed, she may prove difficult to catch on the Inner.
#6 Ellery Lane (4-1): Several in here are coming off lengthy layoffs. She's been away a year, having raced twice in Ireland last summer about a week apart. Unusual. But yes, she's trained by Chad Brown, so she has to be considered a threat.
#8 Glory To Kitten (9-2): Cuts back in distance for trainer Danny Gargan, who's having a fine meet (28 percent) and who is 32 percent with beaten favorites coming back. I also like the angle that she has won three times, and there's only one other filly in here with more than one victory.
#9 Vagabond (6-1): I don't know how many times I've looked at the PPs of a Shug McGaughey-trained horse and thought well, her form doesn't look so good. Not getting caught in that trap again. This one's PPs look exactly like one of those horses — hasn't won since August in six starts, seems to have a consistent mid-pack running line. She's going on my ticket.
Race 8: Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, 1 1/8 Miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
#6 Uni (3-1): Made her North American debut in July after racing in France and finished a respectable third by two lengths in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks. She had to do some traffic maneuvering in the stretch and the speed figure came back strong, so this daughter of More Than Ready ridden by Irad Ortiz and trained by Chad Brown looks a wise investment here, possibly a single. Interestingly, however, Brown is only seven percent in his last 57 second-starts-with trainer. That's surprising given his near dominance in other ways.
#4 Proctor's Ledge (5-2): Looked impressive scooting away to victory in the G3 Lake George last out. Trainer Brendan Walsh has come into his own and is starting to excel at higher levels. Castellano rides. A second straight graded stakes win would hardly be a surprise.
#3 La Coronel (8-5): A beatable favorite in my opinion, she's making her first start since shipping overseas to Royal Ascot, always a tough ask. Trainer Mark Casse isn't having his finest meet at Saratoga (three wins from 55 starts), but this daughter of Colonel John is clearly talented. Toss or keep on the ticket? Your call.
Race 9: G1 Alabama Stakes, 1 1/4 Miles, 3-Year-Old Fillies
There's no Songbird in here, but this is a terrific field of nine and difficult to separate. You could probably hit the ALL button, but I see a couple of standouts and one appealing longshot.
#2 Holy Helena (4-1): Have to like chances after beating the boys in the Queen's Plate last month. Her last two wins came on the Poly and she jumped up figure-wise, so is that the surface or just her improvement in a career that started in April? I believe it's the latter and this filly by Ghostzapper, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, could be a single if you want to go that way.
#1 New Money Honey (6-1): Or this one might be. Has to be considered an unusual move for a filly that's won four of six on turf (including the Breeders' Cup Juv. Fillies Turf) to make her dirt debut in a Grade 1. Then again, the trainer is Chad Brown and he's a remarkable 36 percent going turf to dirt. Don't see any reason a filly by Medaglia d'Oro out of a Distorted Humor mare won't like this surface switch. She's probably just an excellent race filly and dangerous in this spot.
#9 Actress (15-1): The top two have each won at 1 1/8 miles and are both coming off victories at 1 1/4 miles, so distance-wise, they deserve top billing. But at 15-1, I'm throwing this one on my ticket because she's the only other filly that has a victory at 1 1/8 miles, so the distance may suit. Plus, have you seen Jason Servis's win percentage at the meet? It's north of 40.
Race 10: MSW, 1 Mile, Inner Turf, Fillies and Mares 3 and Up
#5 Time to Flirt (7-2): Despite the fact this gal is stepping up into MSW company after just missing in maiden claiming twice in a row, I think she's the play here. Has tactical speed, comes in off a best-of-42 bullet last Saturday, and trainer Brad Cox has hit with 27% of recent runners making this class jump. Should be sharp for this.
#9 A Change of Heart (10-1): Christophe Clement-trained daughter of Unbridled's Song makes her first turf start after a horrendous debut. She lost by 24 lengths, but that was on the dirt, a sloppy track no less and a sprint. Clement is a 24% 1st-on-grass trainer and this girl's Irish-bred dam has five winners and three turf winners.
#1 Assertive/Wake Island (AE) (5-2) – Whichever one goes, both have displayed the type of prominence that helps over the inner turf course. Assertive is trained by Todd Pletcher, ridden by John Velazquez. Wake Island trained by Chad Brown, ridden by Javier Castellano. Tough crowd, but odds will reflect that.
Also pay attention if the also eligibles slip in, both with a good shot: #11 Fashion Week (6-1), trained by Shug McGaughey, a 25% 2nd grass race trainer, and #12 Length (8-1), making her second start for Bill Mott.
My base ticket then would be: 4x3x3x3, for a pretty reasonable cost of $54. A better strategy, though, would be to construct more than one ticket, using a single in a least one race and maybe spreading out a little further in other legs.
But my picks for the sequence are: 2, 6, 8, 9 with 6, 4, 3 with 2, 1, 9 with 5, 9, 1.
Best of luck with your wagers!
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