Analysis of the Late Pick 4 on Arlington Million Day
by Scott Shapiro
If you love turf racing then the TwinSpires.com Late Pick 4 Saturday at Arlington Park is for you.
The sequence headlined by the 35th running of the Arlington Million (G1) features four consecutive graded stakes events over the lawn. Competitive fields and a lack of short-priced favorites make this a must play starting at 4:58 p.m. (CT).
Here are my thoughts on the four two-turn stakes events.
Race 9- The American St. Leger (G3)
The $250,000 American St. Leger run at 1 11/16 miles kicks off the $300,000 guaranteed Pick 4.
Mike Maker trains the top two on Joe Kristufek’s morning-line led by 2-1 favorite Taghleeb (#2). The late-running son of Hard Spun has won just three of 15 dating back to 2016, and only hit the board in one of his last four. I do not think he gets the setup he needs in this spot, so I will play against him.
Keystoneforvictory (#1) comes off a win in the Stars and Stripes (G3) and is in great form for Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. I think he is the more likely winner of the uncoupled stablemates, but I do not fully trust him given his lack of early zip.
For that reason, I will also include Postulation (#7) for trainer Edward Graham. This five-year-old gelding should be prominently placed and comes to Arlington off a very nice win at Delaware Park in the Cape Henlopen Stakes. He should get the jump on his main rivals and may be tough to run down in the lane.
Race 10- The Beverly D. (G1)
The $600,000 event for fillies and mares is contested at 1 3/16 miles and looks like a two-horse race to me.
Dacita (#1) raced against the flow in the New York Stakes (G2) at Belmont on June 9 in a race won in wire-to-wire fashion by fellow Beverly D. rival Hawksmoor (#9). I do not foresee a hot early pace on Saturday, but I expect it to be much more honest than when they went :49.72 and 1:15.57 back on June 9. That should allow the Chilean-bred to save ground early and come with her patented big run late under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr.
Dona Bruja (#4) could not have won any easier in the Modesty Handicap (G3) over this turf course last month when she was not asked and got to the wire first at even-money under Declan Cannon. She makes her third start of the form cycle and appears ready for a career best effort for trainer Ignacio Correas IV.
Race 11- The Arlington Million (G1)
The featured $1 million event at 1 1/4 miles drew a full field of 13 for the 2017 rendition led by Irish-bred Deauville (#5). The third-place finisher in last year’s event as a three-year-old has hit the board in five straight in the United Kingdom and will hope for firm ground on Saturday. He is impossible for me to toss, but I will include a few other Europeans that provide more value.
Kassaqui (#8) ran third in the Arlington Handicap (G3) last month. He likely regressed a bit off of the monster win in the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in June and has never been worse than third in seven tries at 10 furlongs. The runner-up in 2016 appears primed for another big performance in the Million.
Mekhtaal (#13) took part in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot and has done much of his best running on a firm ground. He could be ready for a big one.
Race 12- The Pucker Up (G3)
The sequence closes with the 54th running of the Pucker Up for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. I will use four fillies in here.
Fault (#2) closed into a wire-to-wire winner in the TaWee Stakes at Indiana Grand and provides solid value at 8-1 on the morning line.
Lipstick City (#3) made a big move forward in capturing her first stakes win in the Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park. A repeat of that effort makes her a likely winner.
Sensitive (#6) tries stakes company for the first time for trainer Brad Cox and LNJ Foxwoods after a visually impressive win against allowance competition in her initial start of 2017. She is a must use at 12-1 on the morning line.
Happy Mesa (#10) disappointed in her first try for Maker in the aforementioned TaWee Stakes. I expect her to move forward significantly in her second start of the form cycle.
My TwinSpires.com Late Pick 4 Ticket ($1 Denominaton):
Race 9: 1+7
Race 10: 1+4
Race 11: 5+8+13
Race 12: 2+3+6+10