Shapiro looking to stay hot in Late Pick 4 at Santa Anita

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TwinSpires Staff

June 16th, 2017

by Scott Shapiro

The Saturday afternoon card at Santa Anita Park is filled with full fields and challenging horizontal sequences, including the late Pick 4, which starts in Race 7 and concludes with a maiden special weight over the lawn.

Prior to taking a week off to focus on the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, we really got things going in this column.

Three weeks back we won a desperate photo in the finale to hit a 50-cent Pick 4 once that paid $849.35 and then followed up the next weekend with a strong push ($5 Pick 4), resulting in a payout of more than $1100 on an $80 investment.

Let’s stay hot!

Race 7

The sequence starts with a full field of rock bottom maiden claimers going seven furlongs over the main track.

I will be spreading in this race, but my top choice is #4 My Farmer at 10-1 on oddsmaker John White’s morning line. The three-year-old colt nearly wired out a stronger group at odds of 27-1 two back before regressing last time out. He looks like the controlling speed in this spot and will be dangerous if left alone on the front end.

I will also include #2 Liberation who has been gelded since his last start and drops in class for trainer Val Brinkerhoff; #6 Rick’s Dream who broke last in his debut but ran on okay to finish third; and a pair of runners going route-to-sprint, #11 Wheresthemoneyjack and #13 Kenzou’s Empire.

I am against 7-2-morning line favorite #8 Specimen. This six-year-old gelding has had 12 chances, including a few perfect trips in his last couple of starts and has been unable to get the job done. He is a play against for me Saturday afternoon.

Race 8

The second leg is a starter handicap event contested at one-mile over the Santa Anita lawn.

I really like the chances of #5 Hay Dude. This seven-year-old gelding came back off the layoff last month for leading trainer Peter Miller and bested a field of 10 rivals down the hill. Now Miller protects him off of that solid effort and stretches him out to two turns over a course and distance he has had success over. Flavian Prat should be able to dictate the pace and wire out this group of veterans.

I will key Hay Dude on one ticket and then spread deep in the other as I have my concerns on the soundness of 3-1-morning line favorite #3 Sky Preacher who was vet scratched on May 26th.

Race 9, Summertime Oaks (G2)

The Saturday feature is the 72nd running of the $200,000 Summertime Oaks run at 1 1/16 miles over the main track.

My top choice is #3 It Tiz Well. The Tommy Town Thoroughbreds filly was no match in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) for Paradise Woods back in April, but she has been freshened for her return to the races by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Most of her main rivals have performed at their best around one turn, so I expect her to save ground early and run them down late. How can you go wrong with Mike Smith in the saddles in a big race these days?

I will single It Tiz Well on one ticket and use #5 Selcourt, #6 Faypien, #7 Majestic Quality and #8 Noted and Quoted elsewhere.

Race 10

The sequence ends with a maiden special weight for three-year-olds and upward run at one-mile over the lawn.

I am taking a stand against 5-2-morning line favorite #2 Kopitar. This three-year-old gelding has loomed large in all three of his starts for trainer Phil D’Amato, but has not shown the desire to win. The stretch out to two turns for the first time could help, but at 5-2 I am willing to let him beat me.

My top choice is #6 Oregon. This son of Mizzen Mast was caught wide at 1 1/8 miles back in May, but his effort two back handles this field. Hall of Famer Gary Stevens picks up the mount for the first time and should be able to run them down in the lane.

The wild card in here is #11 Member State. The British-bred son of Lope de Vega makes his first start in the States for trainer Simon Callaghan and Slam Dunk Racing. Callaghan does a great job with runners first time in North America and draws the services of Flavian Prat for his first effort as a three-year-old. The outside post could be an issue, but he is the major danger to Oregon.

Here is how I will attack the late Pick 4:

50-cent Ticket 1: 2,4,6,11,13 with 5 with 3,5,6,7,8 with 6,11 = $25

50-cent Ticket 2: 2,4,6,11,13 with 1,3,5,8,9,10 with 3 with 6,11 = $30

$2 Ticket 3: 2,4,6,11,13 with 5 with 3 with 6.11 = $20

Total Budget = $75

Handicapper Scott Shapiro provides Daily Selections at for Santa Anita and Woodbine