Monday kicks off another racing week at Delta Downs, and the nine-race card boasts a late Pick Four starting in the sixth event of the program. We had a good day Sunday, turning $30 into $266.05 at Gulfstream, and we’ll hope to keep the mojo going with a ticket that starts out costing $18 and may be cheaper after scratches. Here’s how I see the sequence!
RACE #6: Nine $4,000 claimers will go to the gate for this five-furlong sprint. #6 ACADEMY BAY is the 9/5 morning line favorite, but I don’t think he’ll go off that short. He hasn’t won since December of 2019 and his jockey is in the midst of a 1-for-41 slump. I’ll use him, but I prefer a bigger price on top.
#4 TIN ROOF RUSTED came off a layoff of nearly six months to run fairly well against similar last month. He rallied to run fourth, which is no small feat at this five-furlong distance, and he may be in line for a step forward in his second start off the bench. He’ll need a pace to run at, but his best effort would put him right there at a bit of a price.
I’ll also throw in #7 ONEHOLYLION, who finished second at this level and route earlier this month despite a less-than-ideal beginning. Gerard Melancon sees fit to ride back for a smaller barn, and a smoother start could be all he needs to get to the winner’s circle.
RACE #7: I’ll take my biggest stand of the sequence in this one-mile event. We’ve got a field of 10 signed on with one also-eligible, and I think powerhouse trainer Karl Broberg holds a very powerful hand.
#1 GREELEY’S DEALER exits a victory in a $50,000 stakes race for Louisiana-breds, and a repeat of that effort would make him incredibly tough. It’s a big drop from that event to this $5,000 claimer, and the 2-1 morning line actually hits me as an overlay.
#1A EXTON is the race’s also-eligible, and he’s not without a chance if he’s allowed to run. He’s won three of his last four starts, including one at this level and route last month for another barn. Broberg moves horses up off the claim as well as anyone in the game, so if he draws in, that barn’s chances at a win become even higher.
RACE #8: This race also features an entry that’s likely to take a lot of money. However, in this instance, #1 J S BACH and #1A ZIPZAPTIME are defensive uses for me.
I prefer #4 HE’S AN HONEST MAN, who was claimed by Broberg last time out and has run some of the best races of his career over this track. He showed speed against a group of higher-priced claimers last time our, and the barn switch could wake him up. A return to his late-2019 and early-2020 form would make him the one to beat.
I’ll also throw in #2 SUMMER APPEAL, who rallied to win his first race in a year at odds of 75-1 last month. In hindsight, there were things to like about him, as he’d run second over this bullring track twice the previous season. Is a repeat of the last-out effort enough to beat this group? We’ll see, but even though he won’t be 75-1 again anytime soon, his likely price does offer some value and I need to have him on the ticket.
RACE #9: Here’s where the uncertainty about ticket cost comes into play. I’m four-deep in this $5,000 claiming event, and two of the runners I’m using are on the also-eligible list. If #11 SANDBAGGER AL or #12 RAMAAH draw in, I need to use them. If they don’t, my ticket cost could go down considerably.
#8 CARRIES MAN is the 9/5 morning line favorite, and it’s easy to see why. He tries winners for the first time after a pair of strong recent efforts, including his first victory last time out. He seems to have taken to this track well for Scott Gelner, who does good work here, and it’s not like this is the strongest race for the level in the condition book.
I’ll also use #1 POPPI IS SMILING, who cuts back in distance after two tries at a mile and may benefit from a trip at this route. Gerard Melancon has the mount for conditioner Brett Brinkman, and I think there’ll be enough pace to set things up for her late kick.
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