Hanson's wagering strategy for TwinSpires $150K Arlington Late Pick 4

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August 14th, 2015

Saturday’s $150,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 at Arlington encompasses the American St Leger (G3), Secretariat (G1), Beverly D. (G1), and Arlington Million (G1). The 50-cent minimum wager is a challenging handicapping exercise, but we’ll take a stab at it while using quite a few of the European entries.

Race 7 – American St Leger

Using: #1 PANAMA HAT has plenty of stamina and was narrowly beaten earlier this year by Kingfisher, a classic-placed colt who went on to finish second in the Ascot Gold Cup (G1). #3 LUCKY SPEED won the German Derby (G1) two years ago and was undoubtedly in need of a race, and more ground, when fourth in the Nijinsky (G2) at Woodbine last month. #5 AZ RIDGE is an interesting longshot – he has competitive BRIS Speed ratings and has won as far as 1 7/8 miles. #11 HIGHBALL, a multiple Grade 3-placed colt, hasn’t been this far but should appreciate the step up in trip.

Not using: #2 ROMAN APPROVAL couldn’t have gone any slower on the lead in the Stars and Stripes (G3) and still couldn’t hold on at a shorter distance. Both he and pace-presser #8 XTRA LUCK might find this too far. #4 CRUCERO was justifiably 23-1 when upsetting the San Juan Capistrano (G3) and doubt he’s suddenly developed into a class horse. #7 HYPER certainly has the back class, but has been slow to come around following a long layoff and might be regressing with age.

Race 8 – Secretariat

Using: The duo of #6 HIGHLAND REEL and #7 WAR DISPATCH might be too classy for the domestic contingent. The pair was second and third, respectively, in the French Derby (G1), with Highland Reel later winning the Gordon (G3) at Glorious Goodwood and War Dispatch taking second in the Prix Eugene Adam (G2), a race won in recent times by Secretariat winner Bayrir and today’s Million entrant Triple Threat. We’ll also toss in #3 GOLDSTREAM, who gets a class test here but had no equal in Italy in five starts.

Not using: #2 FORCE THE PASS could not have looked any better running off with the 10-furlong Belmont Derby (G1), but this field might actually be tougher despite offering a smaller purse.

Race 9 – Beverly D.

Using: #8 EURO CHARLINE is the defending champion and enters off a strong second to rising star Amazing Maria in the Falmouth (G1). If she keeps her wits about her, she’ll be tough to beat. #9 WEDDING VOW will attempt to make it two in a row for three-year-olds in this race following Euro Charline’s upset last year, and is farther along in her positive experience against older fillies and mares than that rival was 12 months ago. #10 SECRET GESTURE has always been one to settle for minor awards in races of this stature, but she does possess enough class to make a run at the win if the other two happen to falter.

Not using: #3 STEPHANIE’S KITTEN, a close second last year, has seemingly regressed in recent months and her love of the Arlington turf is probably not enough to reverse the margin between her and Euro Charline. #6 CARLA BIANCA doesn’t appear as classy as the above trio of imports, although she should certainly be considered for the vertical exotics.

Race 10 – Arlington Million

Using: There’s not much separating #2 SLUMBER and #4 BIG BLUE KITTEN. We like the latter more due to his more frequent appearances in the winner’s circle, although Slumber might be the more proficient of the two at 1 1/4 miles. #3 BOOKRUNNER is a progressive French colt short on experience at this level, but he’s hung with some nice horses in his brief career and has the pedigree to appreciate the step up in trip to 1 1/4 miles.  #10 TRIPLE THREAT turned in an impressive kick in the final eighth to take the nine-furlong Monmouth (G2) in his U.S. debut following a long layoff. The field he beat was no great shakes, though, so he’ll need to move forward. It’s my money, so I’m going to toss in #13 BELGIAN BILL because, well, he owes me from the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood.

Not using: #9 SHINING COPPER is obviously in here as a rabbit for BIG BLUE KITTEN, but did you see him still easily leading after 10 furlongs in the United Nations (G1) at 129-1? Lone speed…food for thought. It’s hard keeping #11 MAVERICK WAVE off the ticket. Trainer John Gosden has been aiming for this race for months, and won the Million in 2010 with horse that also won the Huxley (G3) at Chester. That said, this colt has really excelled on soft or heavy ground, which he won’t find here.

Here’s the 50-cent ticket: 1,3,5,11 with 3,6,7 with 8,9,10 with 2,3,4,10,13 = $90.