Shapiro's Pick 4 analysis for final Saturday of 2017 Del Mar meet
by Scott Shapiro
Summer has come and gone.
We have arrived at the last Saturday card of the meeting and Racing Secretary David Jerkens and his staff have put together an extremely challenging 11-race slate to start the holiday weekend action.
The co-featured John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) is the second leg of the Pick 4 sequence that commences in Race 8 and concludes with a two-turn maiden special weight event on the lawn.
Here are my condensed thoughts on Races 8 through 11 and my two suggested tickets for attacking the final Saturday Pick 4 of the meet:
The four-race slate begins with a maiden special weight event at 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track.
St Patrick’s Day (#1) is the clear one to beat. The juvenile full brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah put forth a very impressive debut, but was outrun by well-meant stablemate Zatter.
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert wheels the son of Pioneerof the Nile back quickly, suggesting he came out of his first race well. The only concern is the rail draw. If he breaks well he should handle this group. I will single him on one ticket despite the lack of value that he brings to the table.
If St Patrick’s Day does encounter trouble in this spot Instilled Regard (#3) is one that could take advantage. The $1.05 million OBS March 2017 two-year-old in training sale purchase must have looked special to command that kind of money. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is having a poor meet, but he attracts Mike Smith and brings this colt in off a strong series of works.
I also give an outside shot to Eskimo Roses (#9). This Ruis Racing gelding chased a nice looking Baffert winner in Soul Streit on debut and draws well to the outside. If he moves forward off that effort he could spring the upset.
The ninth is the aforementioned John C. Mabee. The 1 1/8-mile event over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course is wide open. I will use a bunch.
One long shot I give a look to is Insta Erma (#10). The four-year-old filly makes her first start for trainer Richard Baltas, who brings her into an ambitious spot fresh after she hit the board in all three starts east of the Mississippi this spring. Baltas excels with taking blinkers off horses (36% in his last 25 starters) and he does so on this Little Red Feather Racing gal. I will include her as well as several others.
The third leg is an open $12,500 claimer at seven furlongs over the main track.
I will take a shot against two of the three morning-line favorites in this full field event.
Airfoil (#6) took advantage of an inside speed bias to beat a compact field of four on August 12. Despite what appears on paper to be a drop in class out of the $16K field she faced, this is a much tougher task. I can see her hitting the board, but think at least one or two will beat her to the wire.
Jes Jaa (#12) is the 3-1-morning-line favorite. She exits the conditional claiming ranks and wore front wraps for the initial time when disposing of a weak group in late July. She has faced short fields in all seven of her starts in 2017, but now steps up in class and draws the far outside in a full field of 12. I think she is extremely vulnerable despite being in good form for a hot barn.
The sequence concludes with a nine-furlong event over the lawn for protected maidens.
My top pick in here is Taniko (#7). The half-brother to Tepin and Vyjack has been gelded since his last start and is obviously bred to love the lawn. He has a steady series of works leading up to his return for trainer Phil D’Amato. I love the fact that Corey Nakatani takes the call.
I also give a long-shot look to Principal Bob (#1). This son of Flower Alley was uncomfortable at the start of his first race off the layoff for trainer Paddy Gallagher. Gallagher removes the blinkers on this four-year-old, who should move forward after shaking off the rust last time out.
I will include these two on both tickets and use a few others on my ticket singled to St Patrick’s Day.
Here is how I will play the late Pick 4:
Ticket 1: ($.50 Pick 4)
Race 8: 1
Race 9: 3+4+6+8+9+10+13
Race 10: 3+5+7+10
Race 11: 1+7+8+11
Ticket Cost: $56
Ticket 2: ($.50 Pick 4)
Race 8: 1+3+9
Race 9: 3+4+6+8+9+10+13
Race 10: 3+5+7+10
Race 11: 1+7
Ticket Cost: $84
Total Budget: $140
Good luck at the windows!