Siding with Collected over Arrogate in National All-Stakes Pick 4
It is a big day of racing from coast-to-coast on Saturday and racing fans will be able to wager on the first of two All-Stakes Pick 4's over the next few weeks.
The sequence this weekend commences with the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga and also includes the Alabama (G1), the Pacific Classic (G1) and concludes with the Del Mar Oaks (G1). The minimum wager is 50 cents.
The four-race slate offers a plethora of talent and a few challenging races. Here are my quick thoughts on the four graded stakes events on Saturday afternoon and my recommended tickets:
The Lake Placid drew a compact group of six this year, but it is a challenging race to handicap nonetheless.
I landed on #2 Party Boat as my top choice. The daughter of Into Mischief comes off consecutive runner-up efforts for trainer Graham Motion. Most recently she ran on well to finish second to #4 Proctor's Ledge at 1 1/16 miles over this course. She has progressed nicely throughout 2017 and appears to be sitting on a big effort in her second start of the form cycle. I expect Joel Rosario to be more aggressive from the 2-post this time in a race void of early speed. If he can position this filly on or near the lead I think he can hold off the late runners.
I also give a shot to Proctor's Ledge. The Brendan Walsh trainee was impressive last time out winning the Lake George (G3), but has to prove she has the same late kick at 1 1/8 miles.
#6 Uni showed little speed in her first start in the U.S. in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and had to move through the inside to finish third. Her lack of speed is concerning, but if she moves forward off that last try she will be a huge factor late.
#3 La Coronel can win as the 8-5-morning line favorite, but think she is worth a shot against after a fifth-place effort at Royal Ascot and two months off for trainer Mark Casse.
The Alabama is an extremely challenging analytical puzzle given the 10-furlong distance and a few key horses moving to the dirt off of huge performances over a different surface.
I do not have a strong opinion in here, so I will use several.
#1 New Money Honey has two Grade 1s but both come over the lawn. She has shown she can get the mile and a quarter, but the surface switch is a concern.
#2 Holy Helena also proved she could get the 10 furlongs beating the boys in the Queens Plate, but can she translate that form to the dirt?
#5 Unchained Melody made an easy lead in the Mother Goose (G2) and handled her first try against stakes company well, but that was at one turn. The distance is a big question mark, especially if she gets pressed.
#7 Elate continues to move forward for Bill Mott. She was in tight during the stretch run in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) last month over this surface or may have won. I think she has a huge chance in this spot.
#3 It Tiz Well and #9 Actress ran one-two in the Delaware Oaks (G3). They will need to move forward to win the Alabama, but the value is there to include.
The big question in Del Mar's premier event is whether #8 Arrogate can rebound off of the puzzling fourth place finish in the San Diego H. (G2) last month. His best obviously wins this race, but he's hard to endorse at a short price. The questions on whether he likes this surface, as well as whether he is the same horse that rattled off four straight Grade 1s dating back to the Travers last summer make him worth taking a shot against. Sure, he can win by five, but there are too many questions to be answered to swallow the chalk.
#2 Collected and #3 Accelerate both are in great form and will get the jump on Arrogate.
Collected has reportedly trained incredibly since arriving at Del Mar and is likely to be on the lead. He is done absolutely nothing wrong in 2017 winning all three of his starts.
Accelerate is three-for-three over this track and ran a career best with the addition of blinkers. The 1 1/4-mile distance is a concern, but other than that he appears to be in the best form of his career going into his biggest race.
I prefer Collected, but give both four-year-old colts a significant chance to spring the upset.
Del Mar Oaks
The most challenging of the four races is this two-turn event for three-year-old fillies. A case could be made for several. I will spread relatively deep in one of the more competitive renditions of the Del Mar Oaks in recent memory.
Here are my recommended tickets:
Lake Placid: 2
Pacific Classic: 2+3
Del Mar Oaks: 5+6+8+11+12+13
Ticket Cost: $36
Lake Placid: 2+4+6
Pacific Classic: 2
Del Mar Oaks: 5+6+8+11+12+13
Ticket Cost: $54
Good luck at the windows!
You can find my full card Daily Selections each and everyday for the Southern California and Indiana Grand circuits here.
(Collected photo: Benoit Photos)