Player Quick Pick: Saratoga Pick 4 for 7/25/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

July 25th, 2014

by Andrew Champagne

There’s a lot to like about Friday’s late Pick Four sequence at Saratoga. All four races have giant-sized fields with plenty of upset-minded thoroughbreds, and while the sequence isn’t easy, if you hit it, chances are you’ll be rewarded handsomely. Let’s take a look.

RACE #7: Here we have a two-turn turf race for older fillies and mares, and I thought this was a pretty wide-open affair. I went five-deep, using #2 Shift Colors (5-1), #3 Hope Cross (3-1), #4 Sumba Sunset (7/2), #9 Mobilize (6-1), and #10 Everything Matters (8-1).

My top pick is Sumba Sunset, and there’s a lot to like here. She goes out for trainer Michael Matz, who’s been firing on all cylinders early in the meet. The daughter of Street Cry adds Lasix, she fell by just a neck last out to a next-out winner, and Matz excels with second-off-the-layoff horses like this one.

RACE #8: Every once in a while, a horse and a race match up perfectly, and that’s the case with the eighth. This is a seven-furlong affair for older horses, and while I went two-deep in here, I think all the stars are aligning for #9 Bug Juice (3-1). He’s 2-for-2 at Saratoga, he’s 3-for-4 at this distance, and he’s coming off an impressive win against foes of similar quality to the ones he’ll face on Friday.

For security’s sake, I’ll also use #2 Writingonthewall (5-1), whose last race on turf is pretty much a throwout. Dirt is his preferred surface, and if he runs back to his dirt try on May 22nd, the Michelle Nevin trainee could wire this field.

RACE #9: This is the Curlin Stakes, which in recent years has served as a springboard to the Travers for late-developing 3-year-olds. This is an interesting field, and while I went five-deep, I LOVE one in here at 10-1.

That longshot is #5 Charge Now. His Iowa Derby run was a nightmare from the start, as he broke poorly and never took to the sloppy track.

Toss that race, and you’re left with a horse that’s done absolutely nothing wrong since switching to dirt in his second career start. He’s run well against good horses before, and 10-1 seems like a sizable overlay.

I’m also using #3 Protonico (4-1), #4 Tiz’naz (15-1), #9 Joint Custody (6-1), and #10 Life in Shambles (6-1)…which means I’m leaving out Commanding Curve. This is a horse who ran the race of his life in the Kentucky Derby, but his race in the Belmont was a dud, and for the hoopla that will likely surround the horse Friday if he runs here (he’s cross-entered in the Jim Dandy as well), the fact is that he’s never beaten winners at any level. He may run well, but I don’t think Commanding Curve wins.

RACE #10: This race and the seventh share the same conditions, but unlike the opening leg of the Pick Four, this seems a little easier to narrow down. I went two-deep in here, using #4 Knotty Pine (4-1) and

#5 Jolene (7/2).

These two exit the same race on June 22nd, where Knotty Pine ran second and Jolene checked in third. I was impressed by the race, and a repeat effort by either horse could land one in the winner’s circle in Friday’s finale.

This ticket comes out to $50, and it could be considerably pricier without much effort. The fields are full and the horses are evenly-matched, which should make for a fun sequence Friday afternoon at the Spa. Good luck, everyone!