Over the past three years, the $1 Pick 3 has returned an average payout of $1,148.25 on Breeders’ Cup-exclusive races. The average return on the 50-cent Pick 4 is $7,237.35. These numbers have fluctuated from year-to-year, with significantly higher dividends at Santa Anita in 2014 ($2,431.20 Pick 3 and $17,035 Pick 4) than Keeneland a year later ($590.90 Pick 3 and $916.30 Pick 4), but it’s hard to argue about the appeal of these popular multi-race bets.
The Pick 3 and Pick 4 are favorite wagers of mine at the Breeders’ Cup and I like to play multiple tickets, leveraging my stronger opinions in order to spread with many options in surrounding legs. That leaves me on the lookout for appealing in-form horses who could provide value to tickets.
Here is a trio of projected value horses I will include in Pick 3 and Pick 4 wagers:
Dirt Mile: This race is deep with contenders but I will be using AWESOME SLEW (12-1 morning line) prominently in any multi-race bets. After recording runner-up finishes to impressive winners in back-to-back starts, the 4-year-old colt stepped forward with arguably his best performance to date in the September 30 Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs, running down a game The Player to score going away by about a length. That rival came back to post a sharp score in the Fayette (G2) last weekend and Awesome Slew will bring a dynamic closing kick to the Dirt Mile, registering BRIS Late Pace ratings of 107-120-102-100-101-110-105 in his last seven outings. He appears to be coming to hand at the right time and there appears to be plenty of speed signed on at Del Mar.
Juvenile Fillies: The 1 1/16-mile race is among the most contentious on Saturday’s program and my take on the 2-year-old fillies is simple: I thought the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland was better than the prep races in California and New York. That makes 9-2 third choice Heavenly Love, who rolled to a 5 ½-length Alcibiades tally, a major win contender and I will key runner-up PRINCESS WARRIOR (12-1) as well. A superb debut winner in mid-September for Kenny McPeek, Princess Warrior dropped too far off the early pace as the 3-2 Alcibiades favorite before offering a commendable late kick to finish a clear second. I expect to see the Midshipman filly continue to move forward in her second stakes attempt and Princess Warrior is eligible to finish up fastest off all in the Juvenile Fillies stretch.
Mile: Winless from three starts this year, ZELZAL (20-1) will be overlooked among a deep contingent of European invaders and World Approval. The 4-year-old colt appeared on the verge of stardom last year when rolling to an impressive win in the Prix Jean Prat (G1) during the summer, establishing a new course record over the good-to-firm footing, but made only one more appearance before heading to the sidelines. The 4-year-old returned this season with a fine second off a nine-month layoff and exits a pair of better-than-they-look Group 1 efforts over heavy ground that didn’t favor him. Those races did provide valuable fitness and with firmer conditions expected, Zelzal could step forward with a strong showing at long odds.