Player Quick Pick: Saratoga Late Pick Four for 8/31/14

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

August 31st, 2014

By Andrew Champagne

Before we go any further, any analysis of Sunday's card needs to include a mention of Tom Durkin's last day calling races. He's arguably the best ever at painting a picture of what's happening during a race, and all the tributes this past month are well-warranted. Thanks for everything, Tom. You'll be missed.

With that being said, Sunday's late Pick Four sequence is a doozy. We were a pair of noses away from hitting for a large amount of money yesterday, though, so we're back at it on the penultimate day of the meet. Here's my ticket.

RACE #9: We kick off the sequence with a six-furlong sprint, one that's attracted a field of 11. I'm going four-deep here, using #1A Mr. O'Leary (5-1), #4 John's Island (3-1), #8 Gombey Dancer (4-1), and #10 Big Guy Ian (7/2).

Big Guy Ian showed a ton of speed last out in the Amsterdam. That led to unsustainable fractions, and he wound up fading to finish sixth. However, this is a much softer spot, and he shouldn't need to go nearly as fast early on to make the lead. The outside draw is a concern, but he's the speed of the speed, and he could prove tough to stay with.

RACE #10: Tom Durkin's final call is the second leg of this wager, the Grade 1 Spinaway at seven furlongs for 2-year-old fillies. Again, I'm going four-deep, using #1 Condo Commando (4-1), #2 Angela Renee (2-1), #6 Winter Dawn (8-1), and, yes, #9 Bonnie K (20-1).

Angela Renee is the one to beat. She ran a very good second last out behind Cavorting, and she adds blinkers today for Todd Pletcher. The distance shouldn't be a problem, and her lone work since the Adirondack was excellent.

RACE #11: This is the lone turf race of the sequence, and with rain in the forecast, it may very well come off the grass. I'm going three-deep on turf and two-deep on dirt.

If we stay on turf, I'll use #4 Odeon (20-1), #8 Hard Enough (3-1), and #11 Cheyenne Nation (7/2). Cheyenne Nation didn't get a great draw, but the 8-year-old loves Saratoga and drops way down in class off a win at a significantly higher claiming price. As $25,000 claimers go, this isn't an easy race, but I'll give him the nod if we stay on turf.

If we're on the main track, I'll use #5 Unbridled Logic (6-1) and #9 Dreaming of Danny (12-1). Unfortunately, both MTO horses here scratched, meaning this could wind up a real mess.

RACE #12: The finale is a sprint for state-bred 2-year-olds. I'll go two-deep here, using #5 Persuasive Devil (2-1) and #10 Ostrolenka (7/2).

7/2 on Ostrolenka seems generous. His works are solid, and he draws John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher. The outside post is a concern, but of the horses who have run before, not many have shown much in the way of early speed. If he breaks well, he could clear most of the field and render that post position moot.

If we're on turf for the 11th, this ticket checks in at $48. If we get rained off the turf (and both my horses stay in), it's a $32 wager. Enjoy the final day of Tom Durkin at Saratoga, and best of luck on the wager!