Player Quick Pick: BetAmerica Battle Royale, Round Three (SAR All-Stakes Pick Four, 8/23/14)

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

August 23rd, 2014

By Andrew Champagne Come one, come all, to the BetAmerica Battle Royale rubber match. Molly Jo Rosen and I have squared off twice so far this Saratoga meet, and we've each emerged victorious once. Given the all-stakes Pick Four set for Travers Saturday, this seemed like the perfect time to settle the score.

RACE #9: The Ballston Spa

#3 Abaco (4-1): She generally runs the same race every time out, and she's been knocking heads with horses a little tougher than these. A repeat of her close-up fourth in the Diana could be enough to win. #5 Dayatthespa (5/2): She may have needed her last start, her first since December. She loves Saratoga, and if she's ready, she should be tough to beat. #7 Filimbi (2-1): She upset Dayatthespa last out with a strong effort. She may be overbet a bit here, especially since the early pace may not be as fast, but leaving her off the ticket is a mistake.

RACE #10: The King's Bishop

#1 C. Zee (10-1): He ran a monster race to be second in the Amsterdam, and the Nick Zito trainee has been working lights-out for this. He doesn't need the lead, which is a huge help. #2 Wildcat Red (4-1): Take out the Kentucky Derby, and this gutsy colt has had one heck of a year. This seems like the perfect distance, even though the early pace will likely be hot. #8 Coup de Grace (2-1): This sets up for a closer, much like the Amsterdam did. He sports a graded stakes win at this distance, and his works suggest the son of Tapit has never been better.

RACE #11: The Ballerina

#1 Artemis Agrotera (5-1): The rider change is alarming, but it seems like last year's Frizette heroine has rediscovered her form. There's some flexibility here, which helps. #2 Better Lucky (4-1): The price seems like an underlay, and her last race set up perfectly for her, but this race looks very similar (LOTS of early speed). I can't ignore her. #4 My Miss Aurelia (3-1): She needed her last race, which was her first in more than a year. She loves Saratoga, and improvement should be in the cards. #6 La Verdad (7/2): We learned a lesson last out: La Verdad absolutely needs the lead. She might get it here, and she'll be tough if she does. #8 Hot Stones (6-1): On the board in all but one of her 12 career starts, she won a Grade 3 at this distance two back, cuts back to this route, and gets the services of white-hot jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

RACE #12: The Travers

#2 Bayern (2-1): I'm not positive he wants to go this far, but there's very little speed in the race to go with him, and the Bob Baffert trainee has gotten REALLY good since the Preakness. #6 Tonalist (3-1): The Jim Dandy seemed like a tightener. Christophe Clement shines with horses a start or two off the bench, and he has every reason to improve stretching back out. #7 Wicked Strong (7/2): I liked his Jim Dandy win, and the blinkers certainly seemed to help. The concern of a "bounce" is there, but he's a must-use. #8 Kid Cruz (12-1): I'm not sure he's good enough, and he may not get the early pace he needs. However, he's gotten much better as the year's gone on, and 1 1/4 miles should be right up his alley. #10 Mr Speaker (10-1): He wants every inch of the distance, and while his best races have come on turf and synthetic surfaces, the strong worktab on dirt means he's worth throwing in at a price.

THE TICKET: 3-5-7 with 1-2-8 with 1-2-4-6-8 with 2-6-7-8-10 ($112.50)