by Frank Carulli
August 19, 2021
The road to Pimlico's Late Pick 4 has gone through the barn of trainer Claudio Gonzalez. The track's top conditioner won at least one race on each of the four Fridays the 50-cent wager has been offered at the current meet. His only starter today, Super Houdini in the sixth race, will be ridden by J.D. Acosta, whose three wins leads all jockeys in that same span. Here's a look at today's Pick 4:
RACE 5 (2:57PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)
HEART OF GOD held second behind three-peat winner Missing Link (4-10, $74k) in her most recent turf start, just missed in her follow-up try on the main track, then dueled on the lead and gave way to rivals who were fifth, ninth and 10th at the first call. GREAT CAUSE was outrun in his only turf try three starts back, but she won easily in a bottom-level claimer last out and her new connections are 9-53 in the last year with a positive return on investment. ARTEMIS RISING 'didn't break sharply' two starts ago but led clear until the final yards nontheless. Another slow start plagued her as the beaten favorite last out, so she will be omitted from the ticket.
RACE 6 (3:32PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT)
SUPER HOUDINI finished second in his last two main-track starts at this distance, the latest against the odds-on pace controller at Monmouth. His connections have accounted for eight wins over the last five weeks in the Late Pick 4. SANTO tried a dirt sprint for his new connections after a series of turf routes. He found his 'best stride late' but was no match for the winning favorite. TREMENDOUS, 4- to 6-wide throughout from post 10 at Belmont, held third at one mile in an improved try with Lasix.
RACE 7 (4:04PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)
WHISPURRING KITTEN, MARGIE'S HEAVEN and OLIVE KAT arrive in excellent form, with all having won in their most recent start on grass. ELLANATION won a restricted turf stakes on soft footing at Pimlico at this distance. BEAUTIFUL GRACE'S last three scheduled turf starts were moved to the dirt, but she's 3-7 this year with an allowance victory last out. It adds up to an 'ALL' punch on the ticket.
RACE 8 (4:38PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
RAISED WRONG broke a step slow, engaged in a race-long duel and held the trip-sitting favorite at bay to win in her 4-1/2 furlong debut at Charles Town. She could move forward off that effort and upset possible odds-on favorite UNREQUITED LOVE, who gunned for the lead in a $25,000 maiden claimer and led until the second favorite passed by in the final eighth of a mile.
PIMLICO LATE PICK 4 TICKET
5th race: 2, 8
6th race: 1, 2, 3
7th race: ALL
8th race: 1, 2
Cost for 50-cent ticket: $48