Shapiro's Late Pick 4 analysis for Sham Day
by Scott Shapiro
The first Saturday afternoon card of the 2018 Santa Anita winter meeting is headlined by the $100,000 Sham (G3) featuring Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) winner McKinzie and the $200,000 San Gabriel (G2) run at 1 1/8 miles over the lawn.
The racing office opted to leave the Sham out of the late Pick 4, but did include a very challenging rendition of the San Gabriel as part of a sequence that should pay well given the wide open nature of each of the four races.
Normally I do not advise spreading deep in Pick 4s in Southern California given the takeout rate, as well as the minimum 50-cent denomination that tends to dilute the pool. However, without a likely short-priced favorite and chances to connect on one or two double-digit winners, Saturday afternoon may provide an exception to the rule.
Here are my thoughts on Races 6 through 9 on the Saturday afternoon card and how I am approaching the sequence.
The late Pick 4 commences with a $50,000 state-bred maiden claimer run at 5 1/2 furlongs over the main track.
Impecunious (#5) is the lone morning-line favorite over the final four races that I chose on top in my Daily Selections on Brisnet.com and looms the one to beat on the drop in class out of open company maidens at Golden Gate.
The daughter of Vronsky has shown strong early speed in both of her first two starts, but has struggled to have enough late to get to the wire first. Hopefully, the removal of blinkers, decrease in competition and switch to Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will lead to her first lifetime score.
I will single Impecunious on one of my tickets and include Whacked (#1), Smooth and Savvy (#4), Tiz Simply Awesome (#9) and My Claw (#10) on the other.
The second leg is the aforementioned San Gabriel Stakes.
I do not have a strong opinion on which runner will capture the Grade 2 event, but I am against 3-1 morning-line favorite Itsinthepost (#8).
The French-bred had a great 2017, winning three of nine and earning $573,000, but nine furlongs is definitely shorter than the son of American Post prefers. Couple that with the presence of the ice-cold Tyler Baze and you have a horse I will try to beat on Saturday afternoon.
Flamboyant (#1), Editore (#2), Top of the Game (#3), He Will (#7) and Free Rose (#9) all will provide more value and have a better shot of hitting the wire first.
Isotherm (#6) is a tough read coming off a 10-month break, but will likely be an underlay based on strong workouts and the presence of Flavian Prat. He is tough to toss, though, because his best is likely good enough to get his picture taken at Santa Anita Park for the second time.
The third leg of the sequence is an open $16,000 claimer run at seven panels over the main track.
I am severely concerned with a few of the top contenders’ ability to get seven-eighths of a mile, and quite frankly have seen enough of several of these over the past year or two. For that reason, I will side with a Northern California invader as the single on my second ticket.
Kiss My Lulu (#1) did not run well over the Golden Gate Fields synthetic surface, but has won six of 19 over conventional dirt. She makes her second start for hot-training William Morey and should be on the engine with a clean break. She is my top choice.
Sea Myrtle (#2) has been far from a “win machine” with just four victories in 41 starts, but I love the cutback in distance and the fact she attracts Flavian Prat. I expect her to be rolling late.
Scathing (#4) is not my top pick, but has proven she can get farther than six furlongs and comes in off a win at Los Alamitos. You could do worse at 8-1.
The Saturday finale is an allowance/optional claiming event which attracted a full field to run down the hill.
Instant Reflex (#10), the 3-1-morning-line favorite, was extremely impressive in her debut going five panels at Del Mar this summer, but has been unable to get back to that effort versus winners. I think she will struggle to get the final furlong for trainer James Cassidy.
I like the chances of several price options to close the day, including my top choice Salten Sapity (#12). The Don Alberto Stable filly finished full of run when breaking her maiden over this unique configuration last October and draws favorably to the far outside. I expect a strong effort from the Richard Mandella trainee.
Here is how I will play the Saturday afternoon Pick 4:
Ticket 1: ($.50 Pick 4)
Race 6: 5
Race 7: 1+2+3+6+7+9
Race 8: 1+2+4
Race 9: 1+3+5+6+7+9+12
Ticket Cost: $63
Ticket 2: ($.50 Pick 4)
Race 6: 1+4+5+9+10
Race 7: 1+2+3+6+7+9
Race 8: 1
Race 9: 1+3+5+6+7+9+12
Ticket Cost: $105
TOTAL BUDGET: $168
Good luck at the windows!