Scully: Handicapping Santa Anita’s All-Stakes Pick 4

December 26th, 2016

Santa Anita concludes Monday’s opening-day card with an All-Stakes Pick 4 (races 6-9). Here are my thoughts on the sequence:

San Simeon (G3), 6th race: The Pick 4 kicks off with a full field of 14 turf sprinters and I will look to spread in the contentious affair. Eddie D (G3) winner #10 Holy Lute is a must-use following a sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and #4 Richard’s Boy, runner-up in the Eddie D and California Flag over the unique course this fall, appears to be a serious front-end threat for Peter Miller. #3 Stormy Liberal and #9 He Will step up to face stakes foes in sharp condition and could be along from off the pace.

I’ll key the above quartet on one ticket and save with returning course specialist #11 Bettys Bambino; #5 Ohio, who exits a sneaky fifth in his first attempt down the hill; and #7 Cape Wolfe, who faces a stiff class test but has displayed a fine closing kick over the course.

La Brea (G1), 7th race: The 7-furlong race has attracted the Midwest-based #3 Finley’sluckycharm, who registered a 108 BRIS Speed rating posting a smashing 8 ½-length victory in the November 25 Dream Supreme at Churchill Downs, her third straight convincing win since returning from a seven-month absence in late September. The Bret Calhoun trainee may be listed as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, but she’ll be closer to even-money given her outstanding form and big numbers.

Finley’sluckycharm will be used as a single on the back-up ticket, with #2 Lightstream and #8 Perfect Pic added to the mix on the main.

Malibu (G1), 8th race: Tough race and I will be four-deep. #7 Sharp Azteca is the one to beat following an excellent stakes win at the distance that netted him a field-best 111 BRIS Speed rating. #9 Awesome Banner, who is 2-for-3 at the distance, drew well outside for a front-running trip and like how he’s reeled off three straight for Mark Casse. #2 Mind Your Biscuits ran a big race over the track when third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and should receive the right set-up today for his closing kick. #8 Mor Spirit finished either first or second in his first seven starts before finding the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby distance too much. Stalker should relish cutback to 7-panels for Bob Baffert and race could play well to his run style.

Mathis Brothers Mile (G2), 9th race: #4 Conquest Enforcer is the probable favorite and my strongest opinion. I am not sold on the local 3-year-old male turf division and Conquest Enforcer, who recently sold for $785,000 at a dispersal and will make his first start for Phil d’Amato, should relish the class drop after a neck third against elders in the Nearctic (G2) at Woodbine.

Shippers #9 Blackout and #11 Tusk will be added to the back-up ticket.


Using a $58 bankroll, I will play the following 50-cent Pick 4 tickets in races 6-9:

3,4,5,7,9,10,11 with 2,3,8 with 2,7,8,9 with 4 ($42)

3,4,9,10 with 3 with 2,7,8,9 with 9,11 ($16)

Good luck!

Conquest Enforcer photo courtesy of Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photograpy