Analyzing the Late Pick 4 on Santa Anita Derby Day
The big day in thoroughbred racing spans from coast to coast on Saturday and that includes a 13-race card in Southern California headlined by the Grade 1 .
The final race is an Arabian event, so the late Pick 4 commences with the Santa Anita Derby in Race 9, includes the Grade 2 Royal Heroine and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and ends with an optional claimer at a mile and an eighth over the lawn in Race 12.
Here are my thoughts on the late Pick 4:
Race 9: The Santa Anita Derby
The majority of racing fans will view the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby as a two-horse race between #3 Bolt d’Oro and #6 Justify.
Bolt d’Oro entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile a perfect 3 for 3, but a less than ideal start and a wide voyage throughout prevented him from finishing better than third. He ran better than I expected in the Grade 2 San Felipe in his lone start of 2018 when he finished second, but was placed first via disqualification. If he can avoid regression in his second try of the layoff, he should run another big one leading up to the first Saturday in May.
has been the talk of the Triple Crown series since breaking his maiden over this racetrack on February 18th. The son of Scat Daddy backed that debut up with a six and a length win in the slop on March 11th and heads into his first stakes race with the look of a special horse. I expect jockey Mike Smith to get aggressive early, which will make him tough to catch late if he continues to move forward on Saturday.
I also give a shot to #1 . The son of Arch showed he can compete with the top horses on the West Coast three-back in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity and followed that run up with a nice looking victory in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds.
I can forgive Instilled Regard’s last race in the Grade 2 Risen Star because he did a lot of traveling from Louisiana and California in a five-week span. He comes into the Santa Anita Derby fresh. On his best he can run with the top two on the morning line and will provide some separation in the late Pick 4 if he can get to the wire first.
Race 10: The Royal Heroine
The pace in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine should be an honest one, so I will lean on two runners to come from well out of it to get the best of this field of 9.
#3 Beau Recall clearly used the Grade 3 Las Cienegas on January 20th as a prep, since trainer Simon Callaghan knows she does his best running at two turns. If they go at it early, I anticipate this Irish-bred to be rolling late under jockey Joel Rosario.
#7 Madame Stripes makes her first start since a disappointing seventh place effort in the Grade 2 Buena Vista on February 17th. She will need to work out a trip under jockey Kent Desormeaux to get the best of this group, but if the race falls apart she is in with a significant shot.
Race 11: The Santa Anita Oaks
The Grade 1 goes through #3 Midnight Bisou. The daughter of Midnight Lute took two extremely tough beats to Dream Tree to start her career for trainer Bill Spawr, but since then has rattled off a pair of consecutive graded stakes scores under jockey Mike Smith.
Like her connections expected from the start, the $80,000 OBS April 2017 purchase has shown an affinity for two turns. She meets a group she should handle before heading to Louisville for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks next month. She will be very tough to beat barring traffic issues.
The thoroughbred finale is a nine-furlong event run over the Santa Anita lawn.
The high level optional claimer drew a field of ten led by #1 Laseen. The Irish-bred mare has faced mostly graded stakes company over her last several starts, including last time out in the Grade 2 Santa Ana when she refused to run for trainer James Cassidy. On paper she is the one to beat, but her 3 for 34 career record with 10 seconds and 5 thirds combined with her non-effort on March 18th makes her tough to endorse on top at 7 to 2.
Since I am singling a likely short priced favorite in the Oaks and do not see any “bust out” potential in the Derby, I will try to beat Laseen as well as the other morning line choice #2 Pantsonfire.
Since I lack a strong opinion on which filly or mare will spring the upset , I will include #5 Majestic Angel, #7 The Tulip, #8 Hachi, #9 Queen of Troy and #10 Queen Blossom to end the card.
There does not appear to be a ton of upside in Saturday’s late Pick 4, so I recommend keeping your spreading to a minimum unless you are against the top two in the Santa Anita Derby and Midnight Bisou in the Oaks. If you want to invest more, hit the repeat button instead of adding extra horses.
Here is how I will attack the sequence:
Ticket 1: ($2 Pick 4)
Race 9: 6
Race 10: 3+7
Race 11: 3
Race 12: 5+7+8+9+10
Ticket Cost: $20
Ticket 2: ($2 Pick 4)
Race 9: 1+3+6
Race 10: 3
Race 11: 3
Race 12: 5+7+8+9+10
Ticket Cost: $30
Total Budget: $50