Player Quick Pick: Saratoga Pick 4 for 7/26/2014

July 26th, 2014

by Andrew Champagne

Saratoga’s $500,000 late Pick Four pool returns Saturday, and the sequence is highlighted by a pair of graded stakes races. The money, though, may be made in picking longshot winners of the non-graded races, and indeed I’ve gone pretty deep in those two events.

RACE #8: We kick things off with the Grade 2 Amsterdam. It’s contested at 6 ½ furlongs and has drawn some talented 3-year-olds. However, there’s a divide between the three favorites and the rest of the field.

I’ve used those three favorites, as #2 Rock Fall (2-1), #4 Coup de Grace (3-1), and #8 Captain Serious (4-1) are very logical winners.

Rock Fall, in particular, is a horse to watch, as his last two races have been sensational. Any of these three could establish themselves as a favorite for next month’s King’s Bishop on the Travers undercard, always one of the most fun races of the Saratoga meet.

RACE #9: I had to go six-deep in this two-turn turf route for older fillies and mares. It’s a challenging race with several horses coming off layoffs and others always running well, but rarely winning. If you want to hit the “ALL” button here, go ahead.

Me? I used #2 Palace Dreams (5-1), #3 Miz Owell (3-1), #5 Distorted Beauty (8-1), #6 Lady’s Lunar Luck (5-1), #7 Caribean Beat (10-1), and

#8 The Lady Says Yes (7/2). My top pick is on the pricier side, as Lady’s Lunar Luck has two wins, a second, and a third in four starts at Saratoga. She won at this route twice last summer, and a repeat of either of those races puts her right there at the end.

RACE #10: On paper, #4 Tonalist (8/5) will face some good horses in Saturday’s feature, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. However, with the race shape what it is, I’ve singled him.

Kid Cruz and Wicked Strong are classy. However, they’re also deep closers who may need an early pace to run at. There isn’t much speed in this field at all, meaning Tonalist should sit a perfect stalking trip before grinding down the early front-runners and surging home. I don’t think you’ll get 8/5 on him, but if you do, take it.

RACE #11: This is another grass grab bag of sorts. Even more confusingly, most of the threats to win draw outside in this inner turf race, which means I have very little confidence in any of them as individual horses.

I’ve gone five-deep, using #6 Elroi (7/2), #9 Birchwood Road (15-1),

#10 Poliziotto (5-1), #11 Tapitation (5/2), and #12 Trainingforsuccess (10-1). Elroi may sit the best trip, especially if he has a pace to sit behind early on, but Birchwood Road, the longest shot in the group, is live. Michael Wilson has had great success with new acquisitions (33%, albeit in a limited, nine-deep sample size), he should get a firm turf course (where he’s done his best running), the worktab is promising, and this isn’t a spectacular field. If he jumps up and wins at a price, I won’t be surprised, and if he does so to trigger a mammoth Pick Four payout, the next California earthquake will result from me jumping up and down in ecstasy.

Even going six-deep in one leg and five-deep in another, this is only a $45 ticket for a 50-cent bet. It’s a worthwhile stab at a big pool, and if you play it, best of luck!