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Homeracing

Ignoring Finest City in Saturday's Late Pick 4 at Los Alamitos

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TwinSpires Staff

July 7th, 2017

by SCOTT SHAPIRO

The first of two Saturday afternoon cards during the short Los Alamitos summer meeting offers a late Pick 4 sequence starting in Race 6 that is headlined by the Great Lady M (G2) featuring 2016 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) winner Finest City.

I do not see any "layups" over the four races and think that the favorites in the two stakes are far from unbeatable despite having had previous success over this unique surface.

I will play two tickets singling a 4-1 morning line shot in each of the stakes events on and hope I can find a price or two along the way. If all goes well this ticket can pay since I am not heavily vested in any of the four morning line favorites.

Here are some thoughts on each of the four races:

Race 6

The first leg of the sequence is the $100,000 Bertrando Stakes for California-breds run at one mile.

The seven-horse field is led by #3 Soi Phet. The veteran son of Tizbud is coming off a win against open company high-level optional claimers at Santa Anita in May. The nine-year-old gelding has done little wrong in six efforts at Los Alamitos compiling three wins and two runner-up finishes. He finished second in this race last year and is the deserving 5-2-morning line favorite.

I respect Soi Phet, but prefer #5 Taman Guard. The son of Midnight Lute makes the second start of his four-year-old campaign after a strong return performance from just off the pace in a seven-furlong dash at Santa Anita in late May. He has the speed to get to the front and is very likely sitting on a career best effort after shaking off the rust from a significant layoff last time out.

I will single Taman Guard on one of my two tickets and use Soi Phet, as well as price option #1 Gold Rush Dancer who makes his second start off the layoff for trainer Vann Belvoir.

Race 7

The seventh is a state-bred $50,000 maiden claimer for two-year-old fillies at five furlongs.

#2 Dee Way to Go is the most likely winner based on two okay efforts against better at Santa Anita, but is far from a cinch. I lack a strong opinion in this race and think several first-time starters have characteristics that make them win candidates at solid value. For that reason, I will spread deep and hope to catch a price along with one of my top choices in the stakes races.

NOTE: I did not include the also-eligible runners on my ticket but if the #11 Unusual Gator draws in for Peter Miller he must be included.

Race 8

The third leg is the featured $200,000 Great Lady M run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Eclipse Award winner #7 Finest City won this event last year and is likely to go off the prohibitive favorite in the 2017 rendition for trainer Ian Kruljac. The Seltzer Thoroughbreds mare is winless over her past three starts, but they have come against Grade 1 competition, including a last-place effort last time out in the Beholder Mile (G1) when her rivals Stellar Wind and Vale Dori outran her from start to finish.

Finest City does not meet the likes of those two in the Great Lady M, but the racing office at Los Alamitos put together a solid group nonetheless making her a vulnerable favorite and one I will toss on Saturday. She seems to have lost a step in 2017 and will be an underlay in this group based on name and her 2016 form. She can win, but I do not see her having a significant edge.

I love the chances of #5 Skye Diamonds. The shrewd $40,000 claim by Bill Spawr last summer at Del Mar has rewarded her connections with four wins and two second-place finishes since they dipped in for her. Her most recent half-length defeat in the Adoration (G3) was extremely impressive against Vale Dori. I love the cutback to one turn and the fact she has a win in her lone try over this course.

I will also include #2 Constellation for L N J Foxwoods and Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. The winner of the La Brea (G1) always gives her best and has a big shot if David Flores can work out a trip from the inside draw and she is ready to fire her best off the layoff.

#3 So Sweetitiz is probably in over her head, but I have always liked this mare and her 12-1 morning line price makes her worth including on my ticket singled to Taman Guard.

Race 9

The card concludes with a wide-open $6,250 conditional claimer run at 5 1/2 furlongs.

It is very difficult to have much of an opinion in this low level grab bag. I will use several and hope we get here alive and can close the door with a nice price.

Here are my 50-cent tickets for the Late Pick 4 on Saturday at Los Alamitos:

Ticket 1: 5 with 2+3+6+7+8+9+10 with 2+3+5 with 2+3+5+6+7+8+10 = $73.50

Ticket 2: 1+3+5 with 2+3+6+7+8+9+10 with 5 with 2+3+5+6+7+8+10 = $73.50

Total Budget = $147

Good luck!

You can find my full card Daily Selections each and everyday for the Southern California circuit here.

(Eclipse Sportswire photo)

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