Player Quick Pick: Saratoga late Pick 4 for 7/31/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

July 31st, 2014

Given the rain in the area, please make sure you check Scratches & Changes before making any wagers

by Andrew Champagne

I hate hitting the "ALL" button. It's the bane of this assignment, as I'd rarely play tickets that big and it seems like an easy way out of handicapping and narrowing a race down. Unfortunately, Thursday's late Pick Four at Saratoga has one of these races, and it's in the kickoff leg, to boot!

RACE #7: This is a starter allowance on grass, and it's a true grab bag. The race could unfold any number of ways, and while #3 Grand Rapport (3-1) is a solid favorite who has never run a bad race at Saratoga, this will be his fourth race in six weeks. He's extremely vulnerable, but I can't settle on a small group of horses who could beat him.

Therefore, I'm hitting the "ALL" button. If Grand Rapport wins, he wins, but if he doesn't, any number of long shots could jump up and start us off on a good note.

RACE #8: This is another turf route. Here we have an optional claimer for 3-year-olds, and I've gone three-deep here. I'll use #5 Shaun's Blessing (5-1), #6 Storm (5/2), and #7 Tiger Bourbon (8-1).

Storm could be a stakes-quality horse. He's won two in a row and appears to be a versatile horse. However, Shaun's Blessing overcame a lot of trouble to win at first asking, and he didn't have the greatest of trips last out in a tough allowance race. If he gets a clean trip, he's a major player.

RACE #9: This race makes hitting the "ALL" button in the first leg plausible, as I'm singling #8 Big Business (9/5).

The David Jacobson trainee has really rounded into form. He's won two of three starts, and his lone loss came by a neck to Zivo, who would win the Grade 2 Suburban in his next outing. There's some speed here, and the outside draw isn't great, but if he repeats his last race, where he romped and earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure, the rest of these horses will be fighting for second money.

RACE #10: I'll go three-deep in the finale, which is a $25,000 claimer that serves as a tough end of the sequence. On my ticket are #2 Anmaat (7/2), #3 Bold Challenger (3-1), and #9 Kid Blast (8-1).

The two favorites are extremely logical. Anmaat drops down in class and may have needed his last race, while Bold Challenger takes an even bigger drop and has been off since February. This field isn't great, though, and with the abundance of early speed, Kid Blast may have a shot at a price. The Bruce Levine trainee hasn't run a bad race this year, and his turf debut last out was encouraging. If he handles the stretch-out (and Bruce Levine is hitting at a 20% clip with such horses), he should be moving in the right direction late.

This ticket costs $49.50 for a 50-cent wager. Honestly, it could be even larger, and it may be prudent to spread even more in the second and fourth legs. If you play it, good luck, as this is NOT an easy wager!