Scully: Betting the Late Pick 4 on Churchill Downs opener

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October 30th, 2021

The 132nd fall meet at Churchill Downs opens Sunday with an 11-race Stars of Tomorrow card devoted exclusively to two-year-olds. I have handicapped the Late Pick 4 sequence (races 8-11), and my ticket and analysis are provided below.

Good luck!

50-cent Late Pick 4: 2,5 with 2,3,10 with 3,6 with 4,5,7,8,12 ($30)

Race 8

An impressive 9 1/2-length, frontrunning maiden winner under the Twin Spires two back, #2 Penny Saver appears more than capable of rebounding after weakening to seventh in the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland. Her 93 Brisnet Speed rating towers over foes, and her speed should play favorably in an entry-level allowance field lacking pace.

However, I am a little leery of how Penny Saver gave way last time, and #5 Feeling Happy will be added to the ticket. The Runhappy filly exits a fine debut score, getting up to defeat a couple of well-regarded rivals (Shotgun Hottie and Implosion), and trainer Jimmy Baker isn’t known for his prowess with firsters. Feeling Happy shows a sharp five-furlong drill over the track in preparation, and she may have more to offer the second time out.

Race 9

Spreading three-deep in this entry-level allowance. #2 Dr. Perry and #3 Hoist the Gold are major players at expected short odds, and I’m intrigued by #10 Play Action Pass, who enters in good form and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line for Robert Medina. If he makes a seamless transition to the main track, the gray colt should be prominent turning for home.

Race 10 – Street Sense S.

A prep for the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) on the Nov. 27 Stars of Tomorrow II program, the 1 1/16-mile Street Sense drew nine runners, including five with stakes experience. I’m keen on a pair of last-out maiden winners.

#6 Howling Time offered a powerful closing kick to win his Sept. 25 debut going away at six furlongs, and the Dale Romans colt is bred to relish the stretch out to two turns (by Not This Time and out of an Arch mare). He may be the goods. #3 Skippylongstocking has made fine progress for Saffie Joseph Jr. in three starts, stretching out to a mile to break his maiden by 10 lengths last time, and Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount on the promising Exaggerator colt.

Race 11

A full field of fillies will square off in the six-furlong maiden, and #7 Ain’t Broke is my top choice at first asking. A full sister to this year’s West Virginia Derby (G3) winner Mr. Wireless, the Dialed In filly shows a bullet work in preparation for Bret Calhoun, and Ain’t Broke is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.

Four others will be added, including the Brad Cox firsters #4 Promises to Dance and #12 Firewolves. #5 Old Pho should show speed in his second start, and #8 Liscolvin merits a look in her first outing.