Mrs McDougal key to Friday's Pick 4 at Del Mar
Listed as the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, Mrs McDougal heads an 11-horse field and none of her California-based rivals appear imposing. She returned from a six-month layoff last year to easily capture a stakes race for former trainer Chad Brown and has run well fresh on multiple occasions.
Her BRIS Late Pace Ratings are formidable, registering a 104 and 101 in two of her last three starts, and the 5-year-old mare gets the services of a hot-riding Flavien Prat, who won four races in the first two days of Del Mar. Mrs McDougal is 2-for-3 at the distance and a strong showing should set her up for the John C. Mabee (G2) later in the meet.
I will single Mrs McDougal in a pair of Pick 4 tickets (races 5-8). Here are some brief thoughts on the other legs in the sequence:
Race 5 will match 12 turf sprinters at 5-furlongs and I will give the edge to #8 Plate Side, who came back to post a nice maiden score for Doug O’Neill last out after experiencing a less-than-favorable trip in his debut. I also like the chances of #5 Elegant Tanner, who possesses tactical speed and may have the best finishing kick in the field if he takes to the turf as expected after racing exclusively on synthetics.
#3 Jet Set Man, #6 Eight Spokes and #11 Salient will be added to one ticket.
In race 6, #9 American Pastime has established himself as a promising prospect from three starts and makes sense in this spot for Bob Hess Jr. #8 Clever Royal exits a couple of solid efforts and is eligible to thrive on the cutback (3-1-2-0 at distance). Gelding could receive the proper set-up as well and is listed as an attractive 12-1 on the morning line.
#2 Stringen, #4 Candy Promises and #7 Distinctive B will also be used on a ticket.
State-bred maidens will square off in the finale, race 8, and I will go three-deep on both tickets. #1 Suit of Lights looms a serious wire-to-wire contender for Peter Miller as the probable favorite. First-time starters #3 Unobtainable and #10 Southern Fire offer some appeal.
50-cent Pick 4 tickets (races 5-8)
5,8 with 2,4,7,8,9 with 4 with 1,3,10 ($15)
3,5,6,8,11 with 8,9 with 4 with 1,3,10 ($15)