The week between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness used to be a ‘slow’ week in racing circles. You know, the kind of week where the good horses stay in their stalls on Saturday and bettors dive into multi-race sequences that are far more functional than flashy.
At least that was the case until the fine folks at the New York Racing Association decided to shake things up. They’ve put together an extraordinary docket of races, headlined by the Grade 1 Man O’ War Stakes that attracted a loaded field of 10 top older turf horses.
Plus, the Peter Pan Stakes is on the card and that generally propels one or two Triple Crown prospects into the Belmont Stakes.
And even better, they’ve carded an All-Stakes Late Pick 4 that gets underway with Race 8. Here’s how I’m tackling that sequence.
Race 8 (5:14PM ET) – Runhappy Stakes (150k)
- 1. Skyler's Scramjet (7/5) - Came up short against much nicer horses (Army Mule, Awesome Slew) in the G1 Carter, but should rebound nicely here.
- 2. Westwood (2/1) - Close-up 5th in the G3 Commonwealth last out. Gets John Velazquez to ride and generally fires a big race.
- 4. Great Stuff (7/2) - Can benefit from a fast pace today, but is just 1-for-11 at distance. Treading carefully.
Race 9 (5:46PM ET) - Beaugay Stakes (Gr III; 200k)
- 1. My Impression (4/1) - Makes her second start off the layoff and should improve from a disappointing try at Aqueduct. Jose Ortiz had her within a neck of two stakes wins last fall.
- 6. A Raving Beauty (GER) (2/1) - First start for Chad Brown after beginning her career in Europe. Placed second in a Group 1 race in Italy when she was last seen in October.
Race 10 (6:18PM ET) - Peter Pan Stakes (Gr III; 350k)
- 2. Core Beliefs (2/1) - It's tough to ship cross-country but this one chased Justify and Bolt d'Oro last month in the SA Derby and those two are serious runners.
- 3. Just Whistle (5/1) - Check out his race two back when he was beaten just 1/2-length by Hofburg at Gulfstream. That one ran in the KY Derby and would be odds-on today.
- 6. High North (4/1) - Benefited from blinkers-on and a class drop from the G2 Rebel into the ungraded Northern Spur last out. He could keep right on motoring this time around.
Race 11 (6:50PM ET) - Man O' War Stakes (Gr I; 700k)
- 2. Sadler's Joy (pictured) (3/1) - Faced an impossible task closing into a slow pace on a speed-favoring course last out at Gulfstream. He should fare better here with a pace to run at.
- 4. Catcho En Die (ARG) (50/1) - 50/1 is just too big of a price and I'll take a swing. He was claimed last out by Chatterpaul from Mott for $40K and you don't have to go back far at all to find good form on his resume. He was 2nd in a strong allowance at Gulfstream in December.
- 5. Wake Forest (GER) (6/1) - Won this race in '16 (5th here last year) and he put forth a decent effort in his seasonal debut at the Big A. Castellano stays aboard and Chad Brown trains. Talk about a potent combo.
- 6. Call Provision (9/2) - Like Wake Forest, he's a Chad Brown-trainee making his second start off the pine. He put in a decent run in the G2 Elkhorn at Keeneland and this race is up his alley (3-for-5 lifetime at distance).
- 7. Hi Happy (ARG) (5/2) - Crushed the field in the G2 Pan American at Gulfstream in his last and he's now 6-for-9 on the lawn in his career. He's dangerous again and we should note he beat Sadler's Joy and One Go All Go last out.
- Race 8: 1, 2, 4
- Race 9: 1, 6
- Race 10: 1, 3, 6
- Race 11: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Ticket Cost: $45 for $0.50