Hanson: Playing the all-graded stakes Pick 4 on Haskell Day
There are plenty of wagering options on the stakes portion of Saturday's Haskell Day card at Monmouth Park, but the Pick 4 sequence that runs from the Matchmaker (G3) to the Haskell (G1) includes some potentially vulnerable favorites. Knocking out several of these will help kill a lot of tickets and provide a payoff boost. With a $400,000 guaranteed pool, here's how we'll approach the play.
Race 9 -- Matchmaker Stakes (G3)
All three of the Chad Browns here have won over this course, but #6 NAY LADY NAY (5-2) has a lot more right to improve off a relatively dull season bow in the Mint Julep (G3). Reunited here with Paco Lopez, who is 2-for-2 on the filly and gave her a patient, confident ride winning the Parx Fall Oaks last year.
#2 FEEL GLORIOUS (6-1) was stuck behind a sleepy pace set by the winning Mean Mary in the June 27 New York (G2) over 1 1/4 miles in her first outing since December. Can improve on that with a stronger pace likely here, and was getting good late in her 3-year-old campaign for Clement.
Race 10 -- Monmouth Cup (G3)
#2 MONONGAHELA (3-1) is the only morning line favorite we'll be using on the ticket, though #9 BAL HARBOUR (7-2) is eligible to go the public choice after narrow losses in this race and Woodward (G1) last season. Both Monongahela and #3 SENIOR INVESTMENT (10-1) were no-shows in the recent Westchester (G3), but both efforts were so sub-par as to appear toss-outs. Both should be well-placed early and can last awhile if the track is favoring speed.
Race 11 -- United Nations Stakes (G1)
#1 ARKLOW (5-2) is the clear class of the field in a weak renewal of this race, but is wheeling back in a week after a dull showing in the Elkhorn (G2). The preference instead is for #9 PARET (6-1), one of the few apparent speeds in a field lacking much pace.
#6 CURRENT (4-1) perhaps well exposed at this point, but neck loss at big odds in the Pan American (G2) two back still intrigues as he was out-finished by the nation's leading turf horse, Zulu Alpha, by only a narrow margin after showing more tactical foot. Didn't show the same in an overnight stakes at Belmont last time won by Paret, but wouldn't be surprised to see Antonio Gallardo try and work magic here like he did with the unheralded Funtastic in a big upset of the 2018 United Nations.
Race 12 -- Haskell Stakes (G1)
#2 AUTHENTIC (4-5) is the early odds-on choice to give Bob Baffert a ninth Haskell score, but #1 DR POST (5-2) improving well enough to be able to prevent that. Second best to Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Tiz the Law in a one-turn Belmont S. (G1), and expect an even stronger effort stretching back out around two turns this time.
We'll place the sequence for $1 as follows:
- 2,6 with 2,3 with 6,9 with 1 = $8