Taking a crack at the hardest Pick 4 of all time on Breeders’ Cup Saturday

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 3rd, 2016

Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup action gets underway in Race 4, marking the beginning of a bevy of sensational tilts on the biggest day of racing in the U.S. It also starts a Pick-4 sequence, with races consisting of the Juvenile Fillies, Filly and Mare Turf, Sprint and the Turf Sprint, all Grade 1 tilts. I have never seen a more complex four-race combination in my handicapping career, but I love a challenge and will take a shot.

Many times when viewing a multi-race wager, one can “thin-down” a field and say “I can get out of this race with two horses, or three horses” but doing so in any of these legs takes a lot of courage in my opinion.

In the Juvenile Fillies, I could make a legitimate case for at least half (maybe more) of the 12-horse field. Without going into extensive detail on each runner, I will use the following and hope to survive the opening leg: Frizette (G1) queen Yellow Agate, unbeaten Spinaway (G1) romper Sweet Loretta, Alcibiades vixen Dancing Rags, superb Del Mar Debutante (G1) starlet Union Strike and unbeaten speedster American Gal. The latter, an easy stakes winner on this main oval going six panels 13 days earlier for conditioner Bob Baffert, might be the one to catch from the outer post.

The next leg is the Filly and Mare Turf and I have to have five on my ticket. I will side with the quintet that is conditioned by Chad Brown, Aidan O’Brien or Sir Michael Stoute: Sea Calisi, Queen’s Trust, Pretty Perfect, Seventh Heaven and Lady Eli. I am not thrilled about leaving off standout sophomore Catch A Glimpse, last year’s fourth Senterio Italia or Japanese invader Nuovo Record, but I can’t have it all.

A couple of runners have been withdrawn, Lord Nelson and Joking, and that leaves A.P. Indian and Masochistic as must-use contenders in the Sprint. A couple of others have appeal as well in a well-matched group. Drefong has improved in every lifetime start and was a facile winner of the King’s Bishop (G1) for Baffert last time. Limousine Liberal has always interested me and his nose second to A.P. Indian at Keeneland last out with the addition of first-time blinkers was super impressive. I feel very good with all five of these.

The closing race, well, that’s no fun at all. The downhill turf dash presents such a question mark to those who have never run on the unique course that I have no idea where to make a stand (not exactly what you want to hear from a handicapper!). I have endured success in the past leaning towards horses with local experience, but this season doesn’t present a lot of options for that theory. So, as I have done many times in the past in differing turf races in the Breeders’ Cup, I will simply use each of the Euros with blind faith that one runs out of his skin in this turf dash. Home of the Brave, Washington D.C., Karar and Suedos are the ones.

It’s a big swing but a lucrative return awaits anyone with a winning early Pick 4 ticket. Here is how I will play it:

50-cent Pick 4 (Races 4-7)

4,5,8,9,12 with 1,3,8,11,12 with 2,5,7,9 with 4,5,7,8 ($200)