Betting the Late Pick 4 at Saratoga
By SCOTT SHAPIRO
The second Saturday of the Saratoga meeting includes four graded stakes races, three of which are included in the late Pick 4 that commences with the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in Race 8.
Here are my thoughts:
Race 8, Vanderbilt Handicap
#4 Imperial Hint comes off a hard-fought victory in the True North (G2) in early June when he was able to hold off a strong late run from Whitmore and win by a neck at odds of 8-5. The son of Imperialism shows a couple of swift works at Parx for trainer Luis Carvajal Jr., but did miss a work two weeks back. That combined with expected regression makes the 6-5 morning line favorite worth taking a shot against in the first leg.
My top choice is #1 Switzerland, who continues to improve with each start for trainer Steve Asmussen. The four-year-old colt put forth a career best 101 BRIS Speed rating in the slop at Pimlico on the Preakness Stakes undercard and has been freshened since. He appears poised for another big performance.
#3 Warrior’s Club, #6 Mr. Crow and #7 Done Deal all have a chance to spring the upset, but will need to move forward to get to the wire first.
Race 9, Bowling Green (G2)
The 1 3/8-mile event over the inner turf might also be ripe for an upset.
#8 Money Multiplier ran a strong second in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park, but has struggled to win races for the most part over the past couple of years for leading trainer Chad Brown. The six-year-old ridgling is not without a chance, but at 2-1 I will look elsewhere.
#2 Channel Maker had a brutal trip in the Manhattan (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard, but could be sitting on a big one for Hall of Famer Bill Mott. The son of English Channel has failed to win in 4 tries in 2018 and has only visited the winner’s circle twice in his career, but he has had a load of excuses.
#7 Hi Happy will get the jump on his main rivals, but will need to avoid an early battle with #5 Glorious Empire if he wants to win in his first start over the Saratoga sod.
#3 Bigger Picture, #6 Sadler’s Joy and #9 Manitoulin are also worth consideration.
Race 10, Jim Dandy Stakes (G2)
The 1 1/8-mile prep for the Grade 1 Travers only drew five this year.
Of those five three-year-old colts I much prefer #2 Tenfold. The son of Curlin has progressed nicely for trainer Steve Asmussen and had a less than ideal voyage last time out in the Belmont Stakes. He should appreciate the cutback to a mile and an eighth. With #1 Flameaway and stablemate #3 Reride likely to set an honest early pace, the Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred should be able to sit off the pace and get the best of this group late.
The finale is a high-level optional claimer for three-year-old fillies run at nine panels over the lawn. I will include several to close things out including 12-1 shot #10 Cloak of Secrecy, who ran second in 3 straight races before her maiden breaking score last time out at Churchill Downs. I really liked how the daughter of Scat Daddy finished on June 23. She appears to be a gal on the improve for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Suggested $1 Pick 4 Wagers:
Race 8: 1
Race 9: 2+3+6+7+9
Race 10: 2
Race 11: 4+5+6+7+9+10
Ticket Cost: $30
Race 8: 1+3+6+7
Race 9: 2
Race 10: 2
Race 11: 4+5+6+7+9+10
Ticket Cost: $24
Total Budget = $54