Player Quick Pick: Saratoga Pick 4 for 7/28/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

July 28th, 2014

by Andrew Champagne

Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel mistress. In addition to making yesterday’s ticket a total washout due to storms in upstate New York, she’s dumped even more rain on the Spa overnight. As such, we’re off the turf, which affects this sequence considerably given the second leg.

RACE #6: This is a seven-furlong maiden claimer. How many forms of ‘evil’ can a racing secretary stack on top of one another?!

Anyway, kidding aside, I went three-deep here. This looks like #2 Pecorino’s (9/5) race to lose. He really hasn’t run a bad race in his career, and he’s lost to some talented horses. Seeing him go into the maiden claiming ranks is troubling, but this isn’t a great field, so he should have a great chance to graduate.

I’m also using #3 Forest Boy (5/2) and #7 Appealing Alex (10-1).

Forest Boy is a professional maiden, but he makes his first start on the East Coast for David Jacobson. Meanwhile, Appealing Alex hasn’t run since May, but the Nick Zito trainee has several strong local works, and the 10-1 price is, well, appealing.

RACE #7: With this race going off the turf, it has an entirely different look to it. I’ve gone four-deep here, with a price horse thrown in that could very well win.

I’m using #4 Big Sugar Soda (5-1), #7 Father John’s Pride (3-1), #9 Apex (12-1), and #14 Oration (7/2). Apex, in fact, has run some of the best races of his career on wet dirt tracks. He has four top-three finishes in six starts over off going, and while he steps up in class, he certainly moves up in the slop.

RACE #8: The Grade 2 Honorable Miss is a mess. It’s drawn an evenly-matched field of six, and I’m using half the field.

#1 La Verdad (2-1), #3 R Free Roll (4-1), and #7 My Wandy’s Girl (7/2) are on my ticket. La Verdad seems to be the main speed and draws the rail, but she’s far from a lock. In fact, R Free Roll was my top pick before the downpour last night. Calder shippers seem to run much faster elsewhere, and she sports an impressive bullet workout last week going four furlongs in :46 flat.

RACE #9: We finish with a bottom-level claimer for older horses going two turns on dirt. I’m going three-deep in here, and hopefully we can get something home.

#9 Romancing the Gold (2-1) was almost my best bet of the day. He returned to form last out with a late-running score at Belmont, and when he’s at his best (like when he ran second in a $150,000 stakes race at Laurel), he’s very tough to stop.

I’ll also use a couple of moderate prices. #5 Rap d’Oro (5-1) could benefit from coming back to New York after a failed try against better horses at Parx, while #6 Mr. Espresso (6-1) finally broke through last out after running several good races since joining the Gary Sciacca barn.

The ticket costs $54 for a 50-cent wager, and with the large fields and possible upsets looming, it’s a fun sequence. If you play it, best of luck!