While my colleague James Scully focused in on some Breeders’ Cup longshots earlier this week he felt could boost payoffs in horizontal exotics such as the Pick 3 and Pick 4, mine that follow are geared more toward vertical exotics like exactas, trifectas, and superfectas. Who knows, perhaps some will outrun even my expectations and key the top of those exotics (one, in fact, is a top selection).
CATHOLIC BOY (Juvenile Turf #4, 12-1) — Although I picked lukewarm morning line favorite Masar on top in my selections, I was impressed with this colt’s win in the With Anticipation (G3) in late August to include him in my top three. Bumped a bit early and buried on the inside behind horses on the far turn, he darted out rapidly in upper stretch to secure a better position and wore down the leaders to win by a length at 12-1. Third that day was Untamed Domain, who went on to take the Summer (G2) and is a shorter price on the morning line here.
Nothing if not professional in both starts to date, he’s been deftly handled by former steeplechase jockey Jonathan Thomas, who’s winning at a 30% clip this year.
CALEDONIA ROAD (Juvenile Fillies #12, 15-1) — Given hard-to-figure longshots have taken three of the past four runnings of this race held in Southern California, the race could be ripe for another upset if favorite Moonshine Memories proves not to be a world-beater.
Although saddled with an unattractive post, this filly figures to be running late anyways and is my top selection in the race. A debut winner in the slop at Saratoga, she made a nice move into contention on the turn in the Frizette (G1) last time and was easily second best to Separationofpowers. She has the look of a filly that should continue to improve, especially around two turns.
CONSTELLATION (Filly & Mare Sprint #8, 15-1) — In a race where it’s hard to toss all but a few from top-three consideration, she’s been consistent (and a bit unlucky) all season. Now with Bob Baffert, her recent tenure in the Jerry Hollendorfer barn produced two wins, including a 12-1 upset in the La Brea (G1) over Finley’sluckycharm, and four consecutive second-place efforts in the Las Flores (G3), Madison (G1), Great Lady M. (G2), and Rancho Bernardo H. (G3).
Getting all seven furlongs while a likely part of the pace could be a tricky proposition, but definitely worth including on tickets if anywhere near that morning line price.
BALLAGH ROCKS (Mile #11, 12-1) — Doesn’t like it really wet, as was seen at Churchill Downs on Derby Day and in the Fourstardave H. (G1) at Saratoga, but otherwise is capable of showing a really solid late kick. A projected contested pace will help him as will the firmer conditions at Del Mar.
Could lightning strike twice for trainer Bill Mott in this race? Last year, he saddled Tourist to a 12-1 upset in the Mile. That colt was coming off a third-place effort in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), just like Ballagh Rocks. Coincidentally, both lost that prep by a half-length, too.