Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Parx on Tuesday.
For the first time since I started this daily column, we’ll head to Parx near Philadelphia Tuesday to look at their late Pick Four sequence. Several of these races have very large fields, and I’ll have a $24 ticket that I’m looking forward to playing.
RACE #7: We’ll kick off the sequence with a full field of 12, plus two also-eligibles. It’s tough to have a strong opinion since we’re dealing with 2-year-old maidens, some of which have never run before. For that reason, I’m going four-deep.
My reluctant top selection is #6 NOMINATOR, a first-time starter trained by Michael Pino. He’s very good with debuting runners, and he’s got several works on his tab that hint at some talent. He’s 8-1 on the morning line, and that hits me as a bit of an overlay (especially since he may not have to be much to run well in his debut).
I’ll also use #3 PRINCE FILIP, #10 RUN HAPPY RUN, and #12 HOLLYWOOD JET. The latter two both ran third in similar spots, and perhaps they’ll improve at second asking in what seems like a wide-open event.
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RACE #8: Older distaffs will go postward for this $5,000 claimer, one that’s attracted a field of 11 fillies and mares. I’m two-deep, and my top pick is a bit of a price.
When #6 SEEKING SHAMROCKS is good, she’s very good. Her wins three and four back were excellent, and she’s shown she doesn’t need the lead in order to run well. The problem is, when she’s bad, she’s pretty dreadful. I’m hoping the drop back to the $5,000 claiming level wakes her up, as her best race could absolutely win this.
#4 PROSPECTIVE BELLE is on my ticket as well. She led every step of the way last time out to earn her ninth career win, and she’ll look to make it two in a row for a 22% trainer. Perhaps she’ll need to work harder to make the lead in this spot, but she’s another taking a slight drop in class.
RACE #9: The third leg is a pretty strong allowance event, and several of these runners have recent stakes experience against classy horses. I’m using three of the seven horses in the field, including the one that hits me as this race’s lone closer.
That’s #1 JUMP FOR ALEX, who rallied to win going a mile last time out in September. He hasn’t raced since, but he’s been working steadily ahead of his return for one of the highest-percentage barns on the circuit. The faster they go early, the better his chances figure to be, and several of his opponents will likely be ridden aggressively from the gate.
I’ll also use #4 DR BLARNEY and #7 EMPTY TOMB, and I’ll take a shot against morning line choice #5 ROCK ON LUKE. That one has won two in a row at this distance, but he’s gotten fairly easy leads both times and I simply don’t see that scenario playing out again here. Perhaps he’s good enough to overcome it, but given his likely price, I think the smart play is to bet against him.
RACE #10: We’ll close things out with a claiming race for older sprinters, and just in case you thought you were in for a break, think again. We’ve got 12 runners signed on, and I’m hoping using two will get me into the cashing line.
#7 ADMIRAL EASTWOOD makes a lot of sense. While he hasn’t won in a while, he’s run well in each of his last three starts and gets a cutback in distance from seven furlongs to six in this spot. His usual race would put him right there in this race, and it wouldn’t shock me if he went off favored.
I’m also throwing in #11 TAYLORSINITIATION, who makes his second start off the bench. He was third in a similar spot last month, and he may not have cared for the slop that day. He’s shown an ability to pass horses, which could come in handy, and the outside draw should give his rider plenty of options.
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