by Johnny D
November 11, 2021
With Breeders’ Cup in the rear-view mirror, now’s a good time to revisit our analysis of the Late Pick 4.
Why bother? you ask. Cat’s already out of the bag. Races ‘Official.’ Money lost.
We can learn a lot by comparing predictions to what actually happens in races--both with horse-by-horse analysis and ticket construction. Losing Pick N wagers usually come from mistakes in one or the other category. Then again, sometimes a losing ticket is the result of an unforeseen upset.
Race 9, Breeders’ Cup Mile, went to favored #3 Space Blues. On one ticket we took a stand and singled #6 Mo Forza. He finished last. Were we completely wrong? Not exactly. #2 Smooth Like Straight set the Mile pace and missed by one-half length at 12-1. #6 Mo Forza handled #2 Smooth Like Straight on several occasions in SoCal. What might the Mile result have been had #6 Mo Forza not been ‘roughed between foes early,’ according to the Equibase chart? Who knows? Guess that’s why they call it ‘gambling.’ We included #3 Space Blues on a spread ticket along with #2 Smooth Like Straight but our other sheet with #Mo Forza singled was dead right out of the box.
Race 10, Breeders’ Cup Distaff, produced the biggest upset of the 2-day event when Japanese invader #10 Marche Lorraine got home by a nose at nearly 50-1 odds. The bomb keyed $4,391 Pick 4; $48,292 Pick 5 and $513,085 Pick 6 payoffs! We didn’t have #10 Marche Lorraine on any of our tickets, but we did use nose-loser #11 Dunbar Road at 12-1. On one ticket we used frontrunners #1 Private Mission, a possible upsetter, and favored #6 Letruska. We figured they would battle on the lead early. On another ticket we spread the net, just in case the early pace battle left them empty and vulnerable to closers. The latter scenario occurred and in the ‘you’re-right-but-you’re-wrong’ category our closer missed by a nose. Nobody ever said this game was easy. Lesson learned: When a race figures to fall apart…anything can happen! Don’t get caught without having the bomb!
Race 11, Breeders Cup Turf, we completely missed the winner #10 Yibir on both tickets. Poor handicapping. No other excuse. Going in the trainer was as hot as any in the nation and he already had shipped and won races in the US this season, including one with this horse, as well as previous Breeders’ Cup events. Our analysis reported the following: “#10 Yibir scored a powerful romp in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont last out for trainer Charlie Appleby. His figs are a bit light for this, so he’d need to do better, but the 3-year-old gelding has won 5 of 11 and 2 of 3 at the distance. The post is a concern.”
What is a real concern is how the heck we did not include this guy on our tickets? In the future, more attention needs to be paid.
Race 12, Breeders’ Cup Classic, was taken by #5 Knicks Go and as poorly as we handicapped Race 11 is about as good as we doped out the Classic. We had #5 Knicks Go singled on both of our defunct tickets. Credit where credit is due. We saw him as a single and he paid $8.40! We didn’t think #8 Medina Spirit or any other runners in the race could press #5 Knicks Go early and when Medina broke a bit slowly, it was all over but the ‘Official.’
Hope you enjoyed Breeders’ Cup. We did and look forward to next season and shots at those huge wagering pools once more.
Racing continues at Del Mar and below is one man’s opinion of Saturday’s Late Pick 5.
DEL MAR // RACE 5 (5:30PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (TURF)
Please note that the turf course rail is at 30 feet and the configuration favors inside speed and hampers deep closers.
#1 Spanish Channel emerges from a race common to several of these. In fact, she comes out of two races common to several of these. Her last wasn’t good but she did manage to finish third before that. She’s a 5-year-old with 27 winless starts.
#2 Austin James will stretch out from three-quarters on turf to one mile on grass. She was a big price and will need to improve to threaten here.
#3 Chao Mar hasn’t been better than fifth in five starts since an initial maiden voyage when third, beaten more than five lengths.
#4 Big Bell has tried hard in three career starts—the first sprinting on dirt and the last two one mile on turf, including a half-length defeat last out at 16-1 odds. That she started for M32k first out may have fooled folks into discounting her, but she’s moved up on turf and that makes her live in here.
#5 Renegade Princess has not fired in three starts, two of them in claiming races.
#6 Kitten’s Kid has speed, top connections in trainer Miller and jockey Prat, and finished a dirty nose behind the winner of a common race to many of these. She stretches out from six and one-half furlongs to one mile on grass and she ought to have the lead most of the way. She’s the one to beat.
#7 Issa Court tried hard from the rail in her only start at six and one-half furlongs on turf when third, beaten less than 3 lengths. She had trouble in the race behind #6 Kitten’s Kid and couldn’t get through inside in the lane. Trainer Dan Blacker is just 5% second time out, but it’s clear this filly can run some. She deserves a look.
#8 Piazzetta also comes out of the Big Summer/Kitten’s Kid race and was nearly 4 lengths behind those two. That was her third start and second sprinting on turf. She will appreciate the added distance and should be good price worth consideration in exotics.
#9 Finney’s Kitten broke from post 12 of 12 last out going one mile on turf and now finds herself breaking 9 of 9! Blinkers were added for a try last out in August. She responded with another evenly run race. Top jock Prat moves to #6 Kitten’s Kid and Rispoli replaces.
EXOTICS PROBABLES: #7, #8
DEL MAR // RACE 6 (6:00PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Pec Tacular ran OK despite trouble first time out. Trainer Hess is just 9% second time out and the colt has drawn the rail after having post 8 out of 9 first time out. Exotic consideration seems best for this guy if he can save ground and gain ground inside under jockey Van Dyke.
#2 Air Combat is one of 3…that’s right 3…loaded Bob Baffert runners in this race. A 1:00 2/5 gate work preceded by a :58 4/5 five-furlong move scream ‘talent.’ Baffert’s barn is an embarrassment of riches, that’s for sure, all three of his runners in here are talented. Let’s see if he ultimately runs all three. If he does, why split hairs? Use ‘em all. The ‘other’ Baffert wins often at a price…not to mention the ‘other, other’ Baffert.
#3 Kid Corleone moves from turf to dirt for his second start. He had trouble first out on the inside in a field of 11 and ran well to finish fourth, just 3 lengths behind the winner and next-out winner Cabo Spirit.
#4 War At Sea cuts back from a one mile try. That effort looks horrible on paper, but he had trouble at the start. Before that he moved along to be a well-beaten third first out sprinting behind BC Juvenile winner Corniche. A return to that form puts him in the exotic picture.
#5 Sir London broke slow from the rail first time/last time under Prat and finished second, beaten over 4 lengths. It was a good try and a bit of improvement puts him in the picture.
#6 Newgrange is one of Baffert’s 3 runners. The son of Violence has a :59 4/5 gate work on his resume. He doesn’t appear as good as stablemate #2 Air Combat but with Baffert, it’s best not to split hairs. He’s got too many good ones. Perhaps additional clocker report info can help sort them out. My experience, use ‘em all.
#7 Weslyan is the third of 3 Baffert runners in here and topped off his morning work with a 1:00 2/5 from the gate. That’s a nice move on top of a :59 1/5 and :46 4/5 moves. Son of Curlin sold as yearling for $250k at Keeneland September. Breezed in company with #2 Air Combat Nov. 8. Can’t ignore.
#8 Bron and Brow makes a first start for Peter Miller, an 11% trainer first time out. The Louisiana-bred son of Gormley been training steadily at San Luis Rey and has two nice 5-furlong gate moves sandwiched around two six-furlong moves. This guy won’t be short on conditioning.
#9 Brady Boy makes a first start for trainer Peter Eurton and he’s worked like he can run some. The Washington-bred son of Twirling Candy has a steady 6/7-day work pattern, including six consecutive impressive five-furlong moves. Nice outside draw for debut. Jockey Baze can be counted on to ‘send’ one away from the gate.
LOADED RACE: #2, #6, #7 (Check Clocker Reports including Jeff Siegel’s Workout Analysis)
POSSIBLE ADDITION: #9
DEL MAR // RACE 7 (6:30PM ET) // ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)
#1 Crossword has one career win and that came over Del Mar turf about a year ago. That was a state-bred, 2-year-old maiden score. The bad news is that 8 more races have passed like water under a bridge and this 3-year-colt has yet to win another heat. He did run well last out going six furlongs over Santa Anita turf.
#2 See Through It won at this level at Los Alamitos last out. It was an explosive 4-length score. He’s made just one start on turf, so there’s a question, but you can’t argue with his current form.
#3 Riding With Dino adds more speed to what should be a fast early pace. He’s been competitive at this level—in the money in his last 3 starts—two of those at five furlongs over Del Mar turf. He’s blown stretch leads in his last 3 races, too. So there’s that.
#4 El Tigre Terrible was claimed last out from Peter Miller by Ed Moger, Jr. Current trainer is 0-11 off recent claims. 4-year-old gelding was lukewarm favorite last out at this level going one mile at Santa Anita on dirt.
#5 Aligato is a lightly raced 4-year-old with just 2 starts. He ran well in both races—a troubled, fast-closing five furlong Del Mar debut and a troubled, fast-closing winner going six and one-half furlongs at Santa Anita. He’s got to be appreciated in here and anticipated to be in trouble at some point.
#6 Austin’s Boy has raced 3 times at this level and needs more ‘stick’ to go with his early ‘lick.’
#7 Bound to Bet has two recent starts at this level and hasn’t impressed much. We’ll look elsewhere until this guy turns things around.
#8 Too Late is an interesting 4-year-old with 4 out of 8 turf starts in the money. Draw a line through his last race on Los Al dirt when he was hooked in an early speed duel from the rail. One back finds a neck defeat from off the pace going five furlongs at this level over the Del Mar course. Keep him around even though he’s 1-13 overall.
#9 Bench Judge is 0-5 on Del Mar Turf and 1-5 at the distance. He comes off two unsuccessful Golden Gate races—one main and one turf. The 5-year-old will need to turn things around to threaten in here.
#10 Psycho Dar is a 6-year-old with speed, 3 wins in 12 turf starts and 0 wins in 7 outs over the Del Mar lawn. Veteran Eddie Truman claimed this one two back out of a neck loss in a $32k 5 furlong turf sprint. Even if this one gets to start, the outside post will be a challenge and there’s plenty of other speed.
The urge under the circumstances (5 furlong Del Mar Sprint, Rail at 30 feet) is to embrace a speed horse. However, there’s so much speed in this race that bettors may lean toward closers who may need luck to find a way home.
LEANS: #5, #8
DEL MAR // RACE 8 (7:00PM ET) // $100K DESI ARNAZ S. // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Lady T is a maiden but she’s been second best twice. Unfortunately for her, one of her runner-up efforts came against #1 Lady T last out in the Anoakia Stakes at Sant Anita. This filly draws inside that foe again and will need to work out a trip from behind.
#2 Endless Thirst cuts back from one mile and moves from turf to dirt. She broke maiden against fellow Cal-breds at Los Alamitos going five and one-half furlongs. She has no early speed and would need to greatly improve in here.
#3 Under the Stars is a maiden but didn’t miss by much in her only start when third by less than one length. She’s trained by Bob Baffert…enuf said. She took big money and closed well from off the pace so the extra half furlong should be to her liking. Can’t leave home without her on your ticket.
#4 Tonito’s was bumped at the start in her debut to break slowly but she rolled wide into the stretch and won nicely by one length. That was at one mile on grass. This is six and one-half furlongs on turf. She caught a really hot pace first out that helped. Can she transfer that turf form and set up to the dirt? Not for us.
#5 Edna finished second in her first two starts for Bob Baffert—one in a maiden, the other in a Gr. 2 stakes race. She then was cooked on a hot pace in the Gr. 1 Del Mar Debutante as favorite. Last out she showed good speed from the rail and then drew off to win the Anoakia at Santa Anita at 20 cents to the dollar. This cozy outside box ought to be just what the doctor ordered for her to run well. Gotta have her.
USE: #3, #5
DEL MAR // RACE 9 (7:30PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)
Reminder that rail is scheduled to be set at 30 feet.
#1 Muay Thai drops to the lowest level of his career and has apprentice Herrera up for trainer John Sadler. Hronis Racing claimed this one for $40k in July. Drawback is the filly’s 0-6 turf record.
#2 Inch changes trainers and stretches out from six furlongs to one mile on turf. 0-7 turf record is one of the discouraging factors.
#3 Ottawa Fire goes for a tag for the first time and that’s always a dangerous move. Rispoli and D’Amato are strong 33% together at Del Mar. Cut back from one mile and one-quarter to one mile should have him fit. One to beat.
#4 Ox Bridge tries again at about this level and figures with this group. He set the pace last out and probably will attempt similar tactics, although he’s had difficulty sealing the deal 1-10 lifetime.
#5 Cool Your Jets makes an appearance for a tag for the first time in an 18-race career. He’s a 6-year-old with no speed but he likes Del Mar—that’s where he earned the only win of his career.
Trainer Shelbe Ruis does a fine job. Exotics possible.
#6 Good Bye Putin’s last race can be tossed because it came on Santa Anita dirt. Trouble is he’s just 1-11 on turf. He did finish third at this level two back. He’s another one in here with no early speed.
#7 Rocks and Salt has no speed but finished third, less than two lengths from victory last out at about this level. 1-10 record overall and on turf is off-putting on the win end.
#8 Bud Knight has won just 1 of 19 starts. He came close last time when second, less than 2 lengths back in a race common to several of these. Jockey Prat has had success with this 5-year-old and was aboard for the gelding’s only win. They’ve teamed up for 3 runner-up finishes, including last time out. This guy’s tough to back on the win end but he’s most likely to be second.
#9 Cosmo’s like many in this race with just 1 win out of 14 starts. He has no speed. A positive is that he will start for a tag for the first time and that’s often a key to an improved performance. He’s tried NoCal, SoCal, dirt, turf and synthetic. He’s got competitive Beyer figs but still, 1 for 14 and 1 for 12 on turf.
#10 Bold Voyager has speed, is drawn outside and must ‘go’ under jockey Cedillo if he’s to add win number 2 to his resume. He was claimed for $20k out of a maiden race and has a win, a second and a third to his credit since in just four starts.
ONE TO BEAT: #3
WHERE'S THE SPEED?: #4, #10
Race 5: #4, #6
Race 6: #2, #6, #7, #9
Race 7: #5, #8
Race 8: #3, #5
Race 9: #3, #4, #10
Cost: $48.00 for 50-cents