Saturday Free Horse Racing PIcks: Late Pick Four at Kentucky Downs
There’s no other way to put it: Saturday’s late Pick Four at Kentucky Downs is HARD. It starts in the eighth, features several large fields, and boasts very little in the way of short-priced favorites. However, there’s a super-low 14% takeout, and if you hit it, chances are you’re going to get paid. I’ve got a $37.50 play (before scratches), and here’s how I’ve assembled my ticket!
We’ll kick things off with the Grade 3 Fanduel Turf Sprint for older horses. $1 million is on the line, and for several of these, this is likely a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Del Mar.
My top pick is 10-1 on the morning line, but I’m not sure we’ll get that price. #2 FAST BOAT put up a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Grade 3 Troy last time out at Saratoga. He’s won three of his last four and 10 of 26 overall, and when Joe Sharp gets horses on the right track, they tend to stay there. He’s won over this quirky turf course before, and I think he’ll be the one they need to hold off late.
I’ll also use #9 GOT STORMY and #12 IMPRIMIS. Got Stormy romped in her lone prior start over this surface and exits a win in the Grade 1 Fourstardave, while Imprimis goes second off the bench and may be talented enough to overcome the wide draw.
As tough as it is, one sort of needs to single somewhere, and this leg is where I’ll take my stand. It’s the Grade 2 Calumet Turf Club, and I’m riding or dying with a horse very familiar to the Kentucky Downs faithful.
#5 ARKLOW has never run a bad race over this surface. He’s won twice, finished second once, and earned nearly half of his $2.7 million in career earnings in those three starts. There certainly seems to be enough pace signed on to set up for his late kick, and even if he isn’t quite the same horse he was last year, I think he’ll be enough to top this bunch for another big win at the former Dueling Grounds.
Singling Arklow allows me to spread in the last two legs. This is a good thing, because the Grade 2 Franklin-Simpson for 3-year-old turf sprinters is a very tough race to handicap.
I’m going five-deep, and my tepid top pick is #2 THE LIR JET. He has a ton of back class from his time in Europe, as he’s tried Group 1 company on several occasions and topped the ultra-talented Golden Pal in last year’s Group 2 Norfolk at Royal Ascot. He’s been gelded since his last start at Newmarket, and his best effort could absolutely win this at a nice price.
#1 INTO THE SUNRISE, #7 ANNEX, #10 POINT ME BY, and #13 FAUCI are on my ticket as well. Fauci needs some luck to run, as he’s the first of three also-eligibles. If he scratches, the cost of my ticket dips a bit, but if he runs, I have to use him coming out of an impressive second-place finish at Saratoga.
We’ll finish things off with another puzzler, as 2-year-old maidens will go one mile. #10 SEAL BEACH is a lukewarm morning line choice, and if he can replicate his dirt form on turf, he’ll be tough. However, the pedigree says that’s no cinch, so while I’m using him, I can’t trust him too much.
#1 CLOSE KNIT is actually my top pick. He debuted at Ellis Park and ran well despite rating a few lengths behind a very slow pace. He was second, beaten less than two, and I think he’s sitting on an improved effort at second asking. The rail draw could help him save ground, and at a minimum, we know the distance shouldn’t be a problem.
I’ll also include #2 BAJ, #7 TUSKEGEE CAT, and #9 GARMENTO, in addition to Seal Beach. Simply put, my game plan is to get to Arklow, hope the “horse for course” comes through, and then cover as much as I can in the last two legs while staying under my usual $40 budget. In going five-deep in the third and fourth legs, that’s what I’ve done, and hopefully I’ve set myself up for a nice score.