How to bet the late Pick 4 on Santa Margarita day at Santa Anita
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
The 1 1/8-mile race on the main track features 2016 champion female sprinter and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Finest City stretching out to take on the streaking Argentina-bred Vale Dori.
As the ninth race, the Santa Margarita is the third leg of the late Pick 4 that also includes the Irish O’Brien Stakes down the hill (6 ½ furlongs on turf).
With the presence of likely odds-on favorite Enola Gray in that race (the first leg), it is unlikely that this Pick 4 will result in a game changing score. However, with the large Saturday pool and a few strong opinions, it should not be an issue to profit considerably if correct.
Here are brief thoughts on the four races included in Saturday’s late Pick 4:
#3 Enola Gray is the clear one to beat in the aforementioned Irish O’Brien for Cal-bred turf sprinters. The Phil D’Amato conditioned filly has done little wrong in her career that includes a perfect 2 for 2 record over this course and 5 wins in 8 lifetime tries. Her tactical speed should put her in a good spot early and once again allow her to pull away late. I think the likelihood of her being defeated on Saturday is small, however I will include two long shots on 1 of my 3 tickets. #5 Lily Kai is 20-1 on the morning line and is 0 for 2 down the hill. However, she will be rolling late if the pace is hot. #8 Cuddle Alert is in great form, gets a rider upgrade to Corey Nakatani and draws well. She must prove she can translate her current form to the lawn.
The eighth race is a weak non-winners of two $12,500 claimer at six furlongs over the main track. #1 True Ranger is a stand out to me. The four-year-old gelding put forth a solid runner-up performance at this level in late-January and has been given a brief freshening since the effort. He should sit a ground saving trip on the rail and power home to his second lifetime win. I will single him on two tickets and include #6 Carulli, #7 Kenji’s Savior and #8 Vodka Texted You on the other. I am not particularly fond of their chances, but I generally am against going “all in” on a low level claimer.
The Santa Margarita will be bet like a two-horse race and most likely will be won by either #3 Finest City or #2 Vale Dori. However, I can at least envision a scenario where the two favorites and #6 Perfect Pic go too quickly early resulting in a meltdown at the nine-furlong distance. For that reason, I will also include #4 Show Stealer and #7 Wild At Heart. Show Stealer is in great form, but has not been good enough to get to Vale Dori in any of her last three Grade 2 efforts. Wild At Heart is likely too slow, but Prat and Mandella at a price with a horse that has flashed some talent is too hard to pass up.
The finale is a state-bred MSW event at one mile over the Santa Anita turf. #2 Candy’s Martini is my top choice at 6-1 on the morning line. He is out of a mare that won 4 of 9 going two turns on the lawn and is a half to two productive Cal-bred turf routers. He stands to move forward quite a bit in his second start for trainer William Morey. I also will use #8 Marckie’s Water for trainer Richard Baltas and #4 Catfish Hunter off the poor trip in his debut. Marckie’s Water should be ready to put forth a career best effort. Catish will be over bet, but is worth including defensively in horizontals.
Here are my tickets:
$2 Pick 4
3 with 1 with 2+3+4+7 with 2+4+8 = $24
$1 Pick 4
3 with 1+6+7+8 with 2+3+4+7 with 2+4+8 = $48
$1 Pick 4
3+5+8 with 1 with 2+3+4+7 with 2+4+8 = $36
Total Budget = $108
Good luck and enjoy your weekend!