Sunday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Santa Anita
Weather is a major concern across the country Saturday, but the forecast for Southern California looks pretty clear. With that in mind, we’ll head to Santa Anita to preview the late Pick Four, which starts in the seventh of 10 races on the program. I’ll look to take it down with a $12 play, and here’s how I’ve constructed it.
We’ll kick things off with 2-year-old maiden claimers, and I think the morning line is a bit misleading. #7 TALKATIVE GAL is the 3-1 second choice, but I think she’ll go off favored, and I hope that happens because I don’t like her in here.
I’ll try to beat that one by going four-deep. I’m most intrigued by #6 KOBE IN MOTION, a first-time starter trained by Peter Eurton. This barn’s debuting runners often need a race, but the gate works on her tab look very impressive, especially for this level. Tyler Baze sees fit to ride, and I think she’ll have every chance in her unveiling against a field that certainly doesn’t include any monsters.
I’ll also use #2 HEAD START, #4 AWESOME TAYLOR, and #5 SANGRE AZUL. Head Start drops in for a tag after shipping to California from Indiana. She makes some sense, and I think she’ll take plenty of money, but the layoff is a concern and it’s not like the barn she started out in doesn’t win races.
My strongest opinion of this sequence comes here, in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss. 3-year-old fillies will go a mile on the lawn, and I like a runner in here enough to single.
#5 EGO TRIP is still a maiden, but she ran a pair of very strong races at Saratoga. She was a fast-closing second behind a next-out stakes winner two back, and then caught a yielding, speed-favoring turf course when third in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. I think the horses she ran against on both occasions are better than the new opposition she’ll face in this spot, and I also believe she’ll benefit from the firmer footing. She’s 5-1 on the morning line, and that hits me as a significant overlay.
The third leg is another 2-year-old race, and this one is a puzzler. It’s drawn a field of eight Cal-breds, and it’s tough because there isn’t a ton of proven form signed on.
With that in mind, why can’t #8 JACK SIXPACK win at first asking? He draws a cushy outside post in his debut, and he’s been working consistently at Los Alamitos for Phil D’Amato, who can win with first-time starters and is enjoying a strong stretch with 2-year-olds. He’s the 4-1 third choice, and if you’re looking for value, I think this is the one to land on.
#1 CREATIVE PEAK and #3 MOOSE MITCHELL are on my ticket as well, and I feel a bit dirty doing that. They’re the two likely betting favorites, and they’re moreso “defensive uses” for me. However, if I beat the chalk in the first leg and get Ego Trip home at a bit of a price in the second, I’ve already created value, so I can afford to spread a bit here. In addition…
I’m chucking out the morning line choice in the Saturday finale. This is the third 2-year-old race of the sequence, and it’s attracted a field of 10 turf milers. I’m against #3 TRAVEL SMART. She’s run just once, going five furlongs on dirt at Del Mar, and nothing says she has to like turf here.
I’ll try to beat her, and my top pick is #2 BLOSSOMING. Like Travel Smart, this one didn’t show much at first asking, but the Paddy Gallagher barn simply does not win with first-time starters. She’s bred up and down to go long on the turf, and I think it’s telling that Umberto Rispoli lands here when he probably had a few options. I’m expecting big improvement, especially given the drop in class, and such a step forward would make her a major player.
In addition, #5 FRENCH FRANC goes second off the bench for Mark Casse. She had every right to need her last start off a bit of a freshening, and she ran two solid races this past summer. A return to that form could be good enough.