Challenging Santa Anita Pick 4 has potential to pay well
by Scott Shapiro
The final Saturday afternoon card of the Santa Anita spring meeting is upon us and the 10-race slate includes a challenging late Pick 4 that has the potential to pay well.
The 55th running of the $100,000 Grade 3 Wilshire Stakes run at one mile over the Santa Anita lawn headlines the sequence.
If you have been with me over the past several weeks you know that I generally like to build my ticket(s) around a single or two, but I do not have a strong enough opinion in any of the four races to go that route this Saturday. Instead, I will play one ticket constructed around a duo of runners in both the second and third leg.
Hopefully we can build on the profits we have made over the past month or so in this column and head into Los Alamitos and Del Mar with some momentum.
The first leg of the late Pick 4 is a full field $30,000 maiden claimer run at six furlongs over the main track.
#1 Braddock is the deserving 9-5 morning-line favorite coming off a third-place effort against better back in May. However, the drop in class does not enthrall me after a strong effort, or the fact that this barn has been ice cold all spring. Additionally, moving inside to the rail in this large field is less than ideal.
With this in mind I will spread deep and include a few first-time starters, as well as a couple of runners drawing better and going out for barns that have had much greater success over the past couple of months. Hopefully we can catch a price to get this sequence started.
The second leg is the aforementioned Wilshire Stakes at eight furlongs over the turf.
#4 Enola Gray, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, is not for me in this spot. The Cal-bred has failed to hit the wire in all three tries against open company stakes competition and has done most of her best running at one turn. I will pass on her.
Instead I will turn to #1 Juno and #5 Prize Exhibit.
Juno was finally able to relax for trainer Neil Drysdale when he cut her back to one turn in the Grade 2 Monrovia back in late May. Hopefully she can stalk the early pace of Enola Gray and hold off the closers in the stretch.
If she is unable to settle going two turns it should set things for the class of the field, Prize Exhibit. The British-bred daughter of Showcasing has taken on tougher competition on the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes undercards in her last two and should enjoy the class relief and the return to a turf course she has had success over. I expect the quirky filly to be rolling late if she can keep her head together pre-race and during the early stages.
Next comes a state-bred optional claimer at the tricky seven-furlong distance.
I will ride the leading barn at the meeting in this one and hope that one of Peter Miller’s two entrants are good enough to get us to the final leg of the Saturday late Pick 4.
#1 Fight Thru will likely be on the front end after drawing the rail. The veteran gelding battled gamely late after dueling early at this level last time out. If he can avoid an early duel he could take them all the way.
However, #8 Freddie’s Dream is my top choice. The son of Good Journey makes his second start since being claimed and should relish the seven furlong journey. Expect him to be rolling late passed a number of rivals that want no part of the seven-eighths.
The sequence concludes with a $50K maiden claimer down the hill. This is relatively wide open, so I will spread out quite a bit, but I made my top pick class dropper #10 Tybee Island.
The son of Scat Daddy is 10-1 on odds maker John White’s morning line, but draws well to the outside and gets the services of Corey Nakatani for the first time. Him and trainer Richard Baltas have been on fire all meet clicking at 27% when they hook up and he should appreciate the class relief.
Here is my ticket in the final Saturday late Pick 4 of the meeting:
Ticket 1 (Fifty Cent Wager)
1+3+6+7+9+11 with 1+5 with 1+8 with 2+4+6+7+10
Total Budget = $60