Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Remington Park on Monday.
The final Monday card of this year's Remington Park meet is upon us, and with it comes a tricky late Pick Four sequence that starts in the seventh race of the program. I've got a $36 ticket, and here's how I'm approaching it.
RACE #7: We start things off with a $5,000 beaten claiming event, and many of these horses have not visited the winner's circle in quite a while. I'm going three-deep here, and while the top two choices do merit some interest, a bigger price is actually my top pick.
#5 ROCKET POWER isn't just a shout-out to one of the best children's cartoons of my era, it's also the name of an interesting 8-1 shot. He was left with far too much to do in his local debut last time out, when he was 10 lengths back turning for home against an unrestricted group of claimers. This is a softer spot, and I think he'll be up a bit closer this time around. I like that he can pass horses late, and those morning line odds hit me as an overlay.
#3 INSURRECTION and #4 SHIFTY HENRY are both on my ticket as well. They both hail from powerful barns enjoying strong meets, and they both hit the board against similar-quality opposition last time out.
RACE #8: Seven older fillies and mares will go postward in this sprint, and I'm using half the field. There are a number of runners moving down in class, and this makes for a tricky handicapping puzzle.
#6 NAUTICAL GEM makes sense. She's run strong races in each of her last seven efforts, a stretch that includes three wins and a last-out triumph here a few weeks ago. She's got a lot of speed, and if she makes the lead, she'll be tough. The question is, can she get there without using too much energy?
That question is a major concern, and it's why I'm also using #1 LAY M OUT, #2 DULCE RIDE, and #4 SKAMANIA. Lay M Out hasn't won in a while, and I don't love the inside draw given her running style, but she's a closer in a race with plenty of early zip and she's run well against better horses in each of her last two outings.
RACE #9: Eight horses are entered in this allowance race, but many handicappers will see this as a two-horse race. I'm inclined to agree, as I've gone two-deep using the likely favorites.
It's safe to assume #8 OH WHAT LUCK has had his issues. He's a 5-year-old with just three lifetime starts, but when he's right, he's very fast. He earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure last time out when trouncing claimers in his first try since the summer of 2019, and a similar effort likely tops this group as well. Can he replicate it in his first start without a layoff line, though?
If he can't, that bodes well for #1 TROY OUNCE, a consistent sort who did everything but win last time out after pressing a very fast pace. Cabrera sees fit to ride back, and while this is a decent group, he's got enough tactical speed to make the inside draw an asset. For that reason, I couldn't leave him off the ticket.
RACE #10: We'll finish off the card with yet another head-scratcher. This is a maiden claiming event, and while I'm not in love with the ones who have run before, the four first-time starters in this 12-horse field hail from barns whose runners tend to need a race or two to get going.
I'm reluctantly going three-deep with runners that have combined to go 0-for-45. #10 TELL ME BOO BOO has accounted for more than half of those losing efforts, but she's actually my top selection. Her last several outings have come against maiden special weight foes, so she could capitalize on the drop into the maiden claiming ranks. She gets a positive jockey switch, and the outside draw should give horse and rider plenty of options out of the gate.
I'm also including #5 DEDE'S TRICK and #7 FATEFULLY YOURS. Of the two, I prefer the latter, who has improved significantly in her last two starts. She's got some speed and could get brave if left alone on the front end against this uninspiring group.
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