Hanson: Handicapping the Breeders' Cup Saturday All-Turf Pick 4

November 5th, 2021

The introduction this year of an All-Turf Pick 4 wager on the Breeders' Cup Saturday program at Del Mar could not have been more timely. With most of the Breeders' Cup dirt races on the card featuring potential short-priced winners, the multi-race wagers involving those races appear, in advance, to be less-attractive betting propositions than the competitive all-turf sequence. Here's how we'll attack it.

Leg 1 -- Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint -- 3:40 p.m. ET

Course-and-distance specialists have tended to dominate this race, and #4 LIEUTENANT DAN (6-1) best fits the bill in that regard. However, a pair of Kentucky-based foes could make things interesting in the final stages with the right setup. #11 FAST BOAT (12-1) has never been better this year, and is dangerous if everything falls into place for him. #10 GEAR JOCKEY (5-1) has found his niche sprinting this year, and should get one of the first cracks at any of the fading speed.

Leg 2 -- Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf -- 4:59 p.m. ET

Frankly, this race is a huge puzzle. All the candidates, in our view, have serious flaws, either due to being at less-than-peak condition or having their performances enhanced this year by beating on weak opposition. Thus, we'll leave the likely choices off the ticket, cross our fingers and hope doubts about them prove correct.

Japan has not enjoyed Breeders' Cup success, but #8 LOVES ONLY YOU (4-1) has a lovely piece of form from March when beaten two necks by Mishriff in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1). She hasn't raced much this year, so should be pretty fresh.

#4 ROUGIR (6-1) has possibly been flattered on soft/heavy ground in the latter half of the season, which she won't get here, but is a progressive sort entering at the top of her game.

Leg 3 -- Breeders' Cup Mile -- 6:20 p.m. ET

We'll use our top three selections found in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Betting Guide. #1 MASTER OF THE SEAS (12-1) could be sitting on his best race of the season third off the layoff, and the ground conditions will be much more favorable than they were at Ascot last time.

The above's stablemate, #3 SPACE BLUES (3-1), has been a win machine everywhere except Dubai over the past couple seasons, and is a logical inclusion as the mild favorite. The same can be said for local hope #6 MO FORZA (5-1), whose experience over the course could be key in a seemingly wide-open affair.

Leg 4 -- Breeders' Cup Turf -- 7:40 p.m. ET

Defending titlist #13 TARNAWA (9-5) has always looked the horse to beat after tough but narrow losses in both the Irish Champion (G1) and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1). However, she drew a difficult post earlier this week, and this tighter configuration and bigger field will require a more perfect trip compared to her winning run at Keeneland a year ago.

On the plus side, her path to a successful defense got easier with the withdrawal of #3 Domestic Spending, the leading U.S. hope. #2 United was also scratched, which allows Tarnawa to break from post 11 rather than 13 -- a mild improvement.

There's a couple potential upset chances in our view, but we'll tab Tarnawa as our sequence single, given she's undoubtedly best on paper.

The 50-cent ticket:

  • 4,10,11 with 4,8 with 1,3,6 with 13 = $9