Monday kicks off another week of racing at Delta Downs, and the late Pick Four begins in the seventh of 10 races on the program. My $22.50 ticket ends with what figures to be a pretty popular single, but I’m hoping we can get a price or two home before that one to extract some value from that favorite. Here’s how I’ll play it.
I thought the first leg was the most wide-open race in the sequence. This $5,000 claiming event attracted what hit me as an evenly-matched field, and I’m using five of the nine runners.
I’m most intrigued by #1 ON TILT, who may be a pretty big price. He’s 12-1 on the morning line after a clunker in his return off a long layoff, but that came against much better horses than what he’ll line up against here. He was 1/5 two back at this level, and it’s safe to assume something went wrong that day. If he’s more fit in this spot, I think he’s a win candidate at a big number for a capable trainer/jockey combination.
#4 MOVE IT, #5 CHITTO, #6 IT’SUPTOYOUPAL, and #7 DREAM TWISTER are on my ticket as well. Chitto is the 2-1 morning line choice, but I think he’ll drift up a bit from that. I also believe there’s a chance #8 SUPERCONDUCTOR goes favored, and I don’t like him. He’s been at this level for what seems like forever, and I can’t back him at a short price.
These next two races are pretty fun. Here we have an allowance race for state-breds, one that drew an overflow field of 10 runners and one also-eligible.
#4 YOUR TIME’S COMING is a price play for me. He ran well in back-to-back starts before finding stakes company too tough at Fair Grounds last month, and he’s back to the right level here. Add in that Gerard Melancon sees fit to ride, and that there’s plenty of speed to set up for his late-running style, and I think he’s got a big shot.
I’ll also use #6 VENN and #7 COMMANDER SCOTT. Commander Scott is the 9/5 morning line choice, but I don’t think he’s a cinch. His last-out effort in the mud was fine, but he hasn’t won in nearly a year and has never run at Delta. Perhaps the switch to the bullring wakes him up, but he’s more of a defensive use for me than anything else.
Older horses will go five furlongs in this optional claiming race, and I’m against #6 CORRUZE. He’s run against tough horses, sure, but his lone dirt try to date was a poor effort, and I’m just not sure this is what he wants to do.
By contrast, #8 ROYAL PRIVACY has shown he loves this route. His wins two and three back were excellent, and he recently ran third in a tough race for the level at Sam Houston. The outside draw should help him, and we may get a square price given the presence of a favorite I don’t like.
#1 SCARLETTSBLACKJACK and #9 I WANT A PICTURE also make the cut. Scarlettsblackjack, in particular, seems like a candidate to improve. He showed two and three starts ago that he doesn’t like mud, and he set a very fast pace last time out at Fair Grounds. He’s got the speed to use the rail draw to his advantage, and the Tim Thornton/Karl Broberg tag team can’t be ignored.
We’ll finish things off with a maiden claimer, and I’m not getting cute. I’m singling the morning line favorite, largely because I think the last-out effort was too poor to be true.
#6 BIRDCATMOUSE was 2-1 that day, but he ran just eighth of 11. However, he returns to Delta Downs, and this track is the site of most of his better efforts. He’s done well going this two-turn route, most notably running second and third in two starts against state-bred maiden special weight foes. If that Birdcatmouse shows up, I’m confident Monday will be Graduation Day.
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