Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Delta on Tuesday.
The racing week at Delta Downs continues Tuesday with a nine-race program. The late Pick Four starts in the sixth race of the day, and my $30 ticket turns it into a Pick Three. Here’s how I’ll play it!
RACE #6: We start off the sequence with the Tuesday feature, the Magnolia Stakes for older fillies and mares bred in Louisiana. It drew a field of six horses, and I’m using three of them.
#5 SAINTS N MUSKETS may be the biggest price of the trio, but she hits me as a “horse for course.” She has two wins and a second in four local starts, and she looked very good when winning a similar stakes race here earlier in the meet. She has tactical speed but doesn’t necessarily need the lead to run well, and a repeat of her most recent effort would make her a major player.
I’ll also use #2 SOUTHERN LIAISON and #6 STEPH’SFULLASUGAR. The latter is a heavy morning line favorite second off the bench for trainer Al Stall, but she’s more of a defensive use for me. Her win here last year was very good, and she’s got a shot if she repeats that effort, but it’s not like her races dwarf those of her rivals, either.
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RACE #7: This claiming race attracted a field of nine runners. Like in the first leg, there’s a pretty heavy chalk on the morning line. I’m using that runner, but there’s another in here that I think merits inclusion as well.
#8 MUSCADINE dropped in to face similar-level horses in his first start since August and ran well when third beaten just a half-length. He rated behind a very slow pace that day and should step forward with that start under his belt. Gerard Melancon sees fit to ride, and any sort of improvement would make him formidable.
However, I need to throw in #6 TITANIUM PLEDGE as well. He hasn’t won in a while, but most of his races have come against far better groups. He was a decent third last time out in his first start for a tag, and while he steps up from state-bred competition to face open-level foes, there’s no substitute for solid races over this surface. If he wins, a lot of tickets will go up in smoke, and I think he presents real value.
RACE #8: My biggest stand of the sequence comes here in this claiming event for older milers. It’s not a tremendous field, but I think the morning line favorite will have a decided tactical advantage over his rivals in this spot.
#5 APALACHEE BAY was second behind a next-out winner in his local debut last month. Unlike many of those that will line up, he has some tactical speed and could find himself in a perfect spot going into the first turn. I like the rider switch to Diego Saenz first off the claim by a barn that doesn’t claim many runners, and while he won’t be a big price, he’s my most likely winner in this sequence. I feel the need to single him…
RACE #9: …because I have no idea what’s going to happen here.
I’m as disappointed as you are. You come here for hard-hitting analysis and ticket construction, and for this, know that I appreciate you. However, there’s next to no form signed on in this maiden claiming race, and I’m far from entranced by the shorter prices on the morning line. #4 LAOBAN FUREN leaves a high-percentage barn for one that’s 10% on the meet, and #5 SHACKS RIVER drops in class but has shown little to this point.
You can probably guess what I’m doing. I’m hitting the “all” button and buying the finale. I simply cannot project with any degree of confidence how this will shake out, and I’m narrow enough in the earlier races to be able to do this and not play an absurdly-priced ticket. If a big price comes in, we’ll benefit from it. If a shorter price comes in, I’ll live.
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