by Jerry Shottenkirk
May 19, 2018
A race with the bona fides of the Preakness usually isn’t a forgone conclusion, but even the least chalkiest horse player would have to admit a Justify defeat in the Preakness would be a surprise of the likes we haven’t seen in a while.
Therefore, from this corner, Justify is a single in the $2 million-guaranteed Pick 4 for Races 10 to 13 over the strip at Pimlico. If you want to double your cost, make an addition in the 13th. However, this one is $60, which is plenty and a little more than usual in the suggested Pick 4 plays from here.
Justify’s win in the Kentucky Derby was particularly impressive after being part of fractions that were not that common when it comes to 1 1-4-mile races. Good Magic had a good power move toward the leader, but when it came down it, he probably wasn’t going to get by no matter the distance. Taking a trek a 1-16th of a mile less than the Derby should make Justify even that much tougher.
But, of course, there’s more going on than the Preakness. The Pick 4 starts out with the 10th, which is the Maryland Sprint Stakes followed by The Very One and the Sir Barton Stakes. If you can fish out singles in that group, you have handicapper’s courage. This ticket suggests using three in the 10th, four in the 11th and five in the 12th.
Lewisfield, Switzerland and Long Haul Bay have the credentials to be big players here. Lewisfield was very good at Laurel, and Long Haul Bay is the favorite in his 2nd of the year. Long Haul Bay won the Grade 3 Bay Shore last year and began his 2018 campaign with an easy win over New York-breds at Aqueduct. Switzerland makes his 1st stakes start, and judging from his last three races, he’ll be comfortable at this level. He cruised easy and fast wins at Oaklawn and clearly has figured out this game. He lost his 1st nine and then won his last three.
Fillies and mares will have free for all in the The Very One. Chanteline, Girls Know Best, Smiling Causeway and Just Talkin all are on the ticket and will mix it up for the five furlongs on turf.
The Sir Barton Stakes is once again a mystery as 3-year-olds that might be just a notch below the Preakness level. Pony Up, Dream Baby Dream, Ax Man, Prince Lucky and Title Ready warrant consideration in the wide-open event.
Here’s the suggested ticket for $2 million-guaranteed Pick 4:
Race 10: #4 Lewisfield, #5 Switzerland, #9 Long Haul Bay
Race 11: #1 Chanteline, #7 Girls Know Best, #11 Smiling Causeway, #12 Just Talkin
Race 12: #2 Pony Up, #6 Dream Baby Dream, #8 Ax Man, #10 Prince Lucky, #11 Title Ready
Race 13: #7 Justify
50-cent Pick 4: 4-5-9 with 1-7-11-12 with 2-6-8-10-11 with 7-2. ($60).