Player Quick Pick: Saratoga Late Pick Four for 8/18/14

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

August 18th, 2014

The "ALL" button is my nemesis. Every day, I try to give out a Pick Four ticket at Saratoga that's affordable, yet provides meaningful coverage as well. A general rule is that I try not to give out a ticket I wouldn't play myself, and the "ALL" button is not only a cop-out, but an EXPENSIVE cop-out.

Unfortunately, I need to resort to it for Monday's ticket. If there's consolation, it's that the race is the only leg I'm going super-deep in. Here's how I'll attack Monday's late sequence at The Spa.

RACE #7: We'll kick it off with the "ALL" race. I could conceivably make a case for five of the seven entrants in the field, and when that ratio is that high, the "ALL" button has to be hit.

If you're asking me for a top pick in the race, I'd hold my nose and back #7 Dyker Beach (7/5). However, he's 1-for-18 with nine career second-place finishes. I can't back him with any real confidence, and while his best effort likely beats these horses, he may just be a money-burning pack animal.

RACE #8: Things get a little clearer in the second leg, I think. This is a turf marathon that's attracted a field of nine, and I'll go three-deep, using #3 Inchcape (10-1), #5 Shock Leader (10-1), and #9 Pyrite Mountain (2-1).

Pyrite Mountain is my top pick in here. He came off the bench and ran a huge race in defeat last out, and he may want this 1 3/8-mile distance. He ran third in a 12-furlong stakes race last year behind the classy Up With the Birds, and he has every reason to improve second off the layoff for Todd Pletcher. The two other horses are live longshots, but if Pyrite Mountain improves, I think he wins handily.

RACE #9: This is the $100,000 Summer Colony for older fillies and mares, and my best bet of the day runs here. I'm singling #5 Natalie Victoria (9/5), and I think she towers over this field.

Her last race was too bad to be true. She led early before tiring, and Jose Lezcano wrapped up on her. This is a mare with 10 wins and earnings of well over $400,000, and she more than fits at this level. There isn't a ton of early speed in here, so she should have things at her mercy from the moment the gates are sprung.

RACE #10: We close the card with a maiden claimer on the grass. I'm using #5 Summation Time (3-1), #6 Loves Last Chance (5-1), and, yes, #8 Summer Cove (30-1).

Summation Time was an unlucky loser in his debut. He fell a neck short after a tough start, and with a better break that day, he probably wins (which he could do here as he drops in for a tag). Loves Last Chance has several strong two-turn races on his resume, and don't sleep on Summer Cove, either. He was well-beaten in two turf starts at Belmont, but those winners (Sheldon and All Included) are legitimate turf horses. If he runs to his races at Gulfstream, where he put forth legitimate efforts, he's a threat to blow up the sequence at a huge price for a trainer who has had a solid meet with a small barn (Debra Divitto has one win and two thirds out of six runners to this point).

This ticket comes out to $31.50, even with the "ALL" button being pushed in the opener. We've got some prices in here, and if one of them hits, we could be looking at a sizable payoff. Good luck!