Late Pick 4 Analysis for Saturday Afternoon at Santa Anita Park

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

February 9th, 2018

The stakes action at Santa Anita Park takes place before the late Pick 4 begins, but the racing office has provided horseplayers with a challenging sequence to close Saturday afternoon at “The Great Race Place.”

The four-race slate commences with a rock bottom maiden claimer and concludes with a maiden special weight event down the hillside turf course.

Here are my thoughts and how I will attack the sequence:

Race 7

The late Pick 4 gets rolling with a two-turn event over the main track for $20,000 maiden claimers. I am going to go three-deep to get things started.

#3 Wise Curlin is my lukewarm top choice on the class drop for trainer Peter Eurton. The five-year-old makes his second start of the form cycle after a stalk and fade effort versus better over the lawn on January 14th. The son of should be in a prominent spot early under jockey Mario Gutierrez. If he can get back to his races at Santa Anita last winter he will be tough to beat.

I will also include #4 Is Trevor Clever and #5 Path of Exile.

If they go too quick early, Is Trevor Clever should be picking off rivals late. However, he is tough to get too excited about since he has already had four chances at the level.

Path of Exile dropped down to $20K last month and ran third going seven-eighths of a mile. If he can avoid another slow break from the gate he has a significant chance to be around late as he goes two sprints to a route in his third start off the layoff for trainer Michael McCarthy.

Race 8

The eighth is the most challenging race on the Saturday afternoon card.

There appears to be a lot of early pace signed on in this optional claimer at one mile over the sod, which should set things up for a runner from off the pace. However, I am not in love with any of those that like to come from out of it, so I will use several in here.

I landed on #7 Tony Blackjack as my top choice based on running style and pedigree, but he is hard to trust taking on winners and racing over the lawn for the initial time.

#6 Sawyer’s Hill is worth noting because on paper he looms the one to beat, but I am not a fan of him being available for $40K off the bench. The seven-year-old won 2 of 4 in 2017 and has not been seen since late April. I will take my chances against the Kristin Mulhall trainee since the pattern certainly is concerning.

Race 9

The third leg of the late Pick 4 is a starter allowance event at seven furlongs over the main track.

I landed on #12 Desert General as my top choice in here. The California bred son of Desert Code draws to the far outside, which should allow jockey Tyler Baze to stalk just off the early pace. His lack of wins is troubling, but he should get the right trip on Saturday afternoon.

I will also include #1 Acker making his first start off the claim for trainer Peter Miller and #10 Quick Finish coming off an impressive maiden score for trainer Dan Blacker and Harris Farms.

Hopefully these three will be enough to get us to the payoff leg.

Race 10

In the Saturday finale, I will single #5 Frenchmen Street.

The son of Malibu Moon returns quickly after a speed and fade effort around two turns for trainer Richard Baltas. I assume the three-year-old gelding came out of the race well for Baltas to bring him back after just two weeks rest.

Look for jockey Rajiv Maragh to stalk a bit off the early pace in this six and a half furlong dash over Santa Anita’s unique one-turn configuration and find his way to the wire first for career victory number one.

Here is how I will play the Saturday afternoon Pick 4:

Ticket 1: ($1 Pick 4)

Race 7: 3+4+5

Race 8: 1+3+5+7

Race 9: 1+10+12

Race 10: 5

Ticket Cost: $36

Good luck at the windows!