Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Saratoga
The upcoming Friday card at Saratoga is the final one of the 2021 summer meet, and there’s some weather-related uncertainty surrounding it. We were off the turf Thursday after some significant rain rolled through Wednesday night, and several races in the late Pick Four sequence are scheduled for the grass. If we’re on the turf, I’ll have a $40 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together!
The first leg is an optional claimer for turf milers, and it’s a fantastic betting race without an overwhelming favorite. I’m going four-deep, and I think you’ll get a square price on whichever horse you happen to like.
#8 EMARAATY has been running up against several very fast horses since coming over from Europe a few years ago. However, as tough as this race is, it may very well be the weakest group he’s run against since that trip across the Atlantic, and it helps that he has a win over this turf course, too.
#4 VOODOO ZIP, #5 PRINCIPLED STAND, and #6 HIEROGLYPHICS are also on my ticket, and that last horse figures to be a price. He’s 15-1 on the morning line, but he loves Saratoga and is aggressively spotted in his first start off of the claim. He fits on speed figures, and at his likely price, I simply couldn’t move forward without including him.
I’m not getting cute in this seven-furlong allowance for state-breds. The race has drawn a nine-horse field, but I think the likely favorite will be very tough.
#1 GOLD PANDA graduated out of the maiden ranks in impressive fashion last time out, and he did so in a manner that indicated there was plenty of gas left in the tank. While I respect #4 BIG BOBBY, I simply think Gold Panda is far quicker early on than anything else that will line up against him in this spot. Therefore, I’m singling the chalk here, and I’ll look to extract value elsewhere.
Such as in the Friday feature, where I’m going against the likely choice.
#8 MAVEN hits me as a significant underlay. I just think he’s far better over the turf course at Keeneland than he is anywhere else, and I think he’ll come down quite a bit from the 5/2 morning line. If he beats me, I’ll live with it, and if I can beat him with a bigger price, we could be in a great position to make some money.
I prefer #4 PULSATE, who goes back to the turf and ran the ultra-talented Fiya to a head two starts ago at Belmont. I’ll also use #2 THE CONNECTOR, #3 NOBLE EMOTION, and #5 MAXWELL ESQUIRE, and I’m hoping I’ve gone deep enough in my attempt to beat a chalk.
If we get to the Friday finale, we’ll have many chances in a maiden special weight event with plenty of inexperienced horses signed on. I’m using half of the 10-horse field, and I pray that’s enough.
#3 GAUFF is my tepid top selection. It’s not easy to debut going a mile and an eighth, but she’s bred to be a very strong turf runner and has worked consistently for red-hot horseman Brad Cox. This doesn’t seem like the strongest group for the level, and if she’s ready to run, I think she’ll have a big chance.
#2 SITTING PRETTY, #4 LADY VALENTINE, #8 PRUNING, and #9 FEDERALIST PAPERS are on my ticket as well. Of this secondary quartet, I’m most intrigued by Sitting Pretty. She didn’t do much running last time out, but she’s bounced out of that effort with several strong drills for trainer Christophe Clement. I think she’s sitting on an improved effort here, and the presence of Joel Rosario is a big plus.
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