Fracas a key factor in Shapiro's Late Pick 4 analysis at Santa Anita Park

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TwinSpires Staff

October 20th, 2017

by Scott Shapiro

With just two weeks until the 2017 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, most of the attention is on the events leading up to the World Championships. However, there are still plenty of solid wagering opportunities available across the country, including Saturday’s nine-race card at Santa Anita Park headlined by the California Flag Handicap down the hill.

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The featured turf sprint is not part of the late Pick 4 sequence, but that will not keep me from getting involved.

Here are some quick thoughts on Races 6 through 9 on the Saturday afternoon card and how I am approaching the multi-race sequence:

Race 6

The first of the four races is a $40,000 maiden claimer at six furlongs over the main track.

Fracas (#8) appears a total standout on the class drop out of special weight company for trainer Simon Callaghan.

The 2017 OBS April $190,000 purchase has been disappointing thus far for her connections, but her first four starts were against much better. She draws favorably toward the outside, which should allow her to stalk just off the early pace and put this group away when they turn for home.

It is never exciting to single a short-priced horse to start things, but she is such a likely winner that I do not want to dilute my tickets using others that have long shot hopes at best.

Race 7

The second leg is an open $12,500 claimer run at 6 1/2 furlongs over the Santa Anita dirt.

Frac Candy (#1) is my top choice on the reclaim by veteran trainer Bill Spawr.

It is encouraging that Spawr grabbed this four-year-old gelding back for more than he lost him for in July. The son of Twirling Candy has two wins and six top-three finishes in 11 tries at Santa Anita, and has shown the ability to get the tricky 6 1/2 panels with two victories in five starts. The rail draw could present a challenge, but he should run well.

I will also include a few others that will provide more value.

Swiss Minister (#5) has been out of form of late, but has done his best running at Santa Anita and 12-1 seems too high.

Lambo Luxx (#6) is not a horse I usually use on top, but he is in solid form for a barn having a strong year.

Guy Code (#7) likely will get passed by one or two late, but he has tremendous early speed and if left alone early could get brave late.

Race 8

The two morning-line favorites in this optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles both have talent, but are fillies I will take a stand against on Saturday.

Pacific Wind (#1) has been very impressive running over the lawn in her career for trainer Peter Eurton, but tries the dirt for the initial time after a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) in August. She is the one to beat on talent, but appears to have missed a work in early October and I am dubious about where she is spotted on Saturday.

Spooky Woods (#5) has burnt plenty of money in her career and has not shown the ability to win races. Her lone victory came at 3-5 over a wet/fast track back in January. She is likely to hit the board once again, but I simply do not trust her to get to the wire first.

La Force (#3) is my top pick off of a strong first run over the dirt at Los Alamitos last month, but I will use several others in here in an attempt to beat the top two on the tote board and bust things open a bit.

Race 9

The Saturday finale is a two-turn maiden special weight event over the lawn for two-year-old fillies.

I will use a few in a very challenging end to the Pick 4, including first-time starter Polished (#3) for trainer Richard Baltas and L N J Foxwoods. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy has struggled to draw into races thus far, but has reportedly trained well leading up to her debut and draws the services of Hall of Famer Mike Smith. 8-1 seems very fair.

I will also use a couple coming out of the September 4 race at Del Mar. Temple Princess (#10) is the obvious filly coming off a third-place effort where she may have been best at a huge price, but could not get through along the inside. Blessed Union (#9) will offer greater value and could improve immensely for Richard Mandella with a clean break and the racing experience under her belt.

I also have interest in Casino Red (#11), who makes her first start in the States for trainer Paddy Gallagher, as well as Paved (#12), who is bred to win going a route of ground on the lawn and commanded $320,000 at the OBS March sale.

Here is how I will play the late Pick 4:

Ticket 1: ($.50 Pick 4)
Race 6: 8
Race 7: 1+5+6+7
Race 8: 2+3+4+6+7
Race 9: 3+9+10+11+12

Ticket Cost: $50

Ticket 2: ($1 Pick 4)
Race 6: 8
Race 7: 1
Race 8: 3+4+6
Race 9: 3+9+10+11+12

Ticket Cost: $15

Total Budget: $65

Good luck at the windows!