Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Delta Downs on Monday.
A new racing week kicks off Monday at Delta Downs, and we’ll have a nine-race program waiting for us to kick things off. The late Pick Four begins in the sixth, and I’ll attack the sequence with an $18 ticket. Here’s a deep dive into my approach.
RACE #6: We’ll kick things off with a claiming event for older horses. The favorite is a speed horse that’s drawn the rail, and I’m using him, but my top pick is a bit of a price.
#3 RAMAAH has run well at this level three times so far this meet. He’s shown an ability to come running late, which isn’t something seen very often at this bullring track. I think there’s plenty of speed signed on, and the faster they go early, the better this 8-1 shot’s chances figure to be.
#1 HIGH CRUISE is a logical favorite. He’s taking a huge drop in class and has shown speed against far better horses, and I wouldn’t be stunned if he won. I’ll also use #4 DRACARYS FIRE, who probably moved too early last time out when third at this level and route.
RACE #7: This maiden claimer drew a field of eight fillies and mares, and it’s one of a few spots where I’m going against the morning line favorite. #4 SWEET PERFECTION ran reasonably well when third last time out, but she had a dream trip against a lower-level group and couldn’t get the job done.
I’m going three-deep without her, and my top pick is #3 CONNIE BABY. She came off a year-long layoff a few weeks ago at Fair Grounds and almost certainly needed that effort. Now, she returns to where she started her career, and she’s got a few solid races over this surface from the 2019-20 meet. A step forward off her last-out effort seems logical, and I hope it comes.
#6 SNEAKY FREAK and #7 CLEVER ARCH are on my ticket as well. The former drops in for a tag for the first time, while the latter has a strong work tab ahead of her first start since March and showed some potential in her unveiling here last February.
RACE #8: I thought this was the most wide-open race of the sequence, and it’s another instance where I don’t love the morning line choice. #1 DEBONNAIRE DUDE had a picture-perfect trip last time out and wasn’t overly impressive against a far weaker group two back at this distance. Maybe he’s turned a corner for Karl Broberg, but 8/5 is too short for me.
I prefer likely second choice #9 APPLEWOOD, who was probably too far back early against a better group last month. That day’s runner-up has since come back to win, and it helps that he’s run several solid races at this route. I think he presents far more value than the chalk, especially third off the bench for a barn that’s found some success this meet.
I’m also using #5 FRONT PAGE, #6 HONOR MY SPEED, and #10 ROSSLARE HARBOUR. I don’t think Debonnaire Dude towers over this group, and it seems like a good spot to take a stand. If I’m right, I’ll be alive to a nice will-pay headed into the Monday finale.
RACE #9: I mentioned just one will-pay because my best bet of the day comes in this $5,000 claimer for older fillies and mares. Unlike the last two races, I think this favorite is quite formidable, and I’ll go all-in on her.
#5 SIDASTA hasn’t finished worse than second in three starts at the meet. She’s got some tactical speed but doesn’t need the lead in order to run well, and I think that’s a big plus for her. I think she’ll sit just off the early pace-setters and have first run turning for home. Such a trip should make her a handful, and hopefully my ticket allows me to extract some value from a short-priced chalk.
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