Despite Eskendereya last year being a heavy-favorite in the Wood Memorial, the pick four still paid $47.50 for a $1 ticket. This year's sequence is more competitive, however, so a juicier payoff potentially looms.
Here is how I broke down the four races. Column A are my top horses, while Column B are my back-ups. I used Formulator's TicketMaker to create these images.
Some thoughts race-by-race...
R7 - THE COMELY (G3) - This is a very evenly matched group on paper. I think #3 HER SMILE, however, has a lot of upside and exits a race I think is going to turn out as pretty live. She's third-off the layoff as well. #4 MYSTERIOUS CHIMES lost to a 4-year-old last time in a live heat in her first try against winners. She is lone speed in this spot.
R8 - THE BAY SHORE (G3) - #1 JUSTIN PHILLIP has always been a better sprinter than router. His efforts around one-turn last fall are good enough to win, and he's going to offer excellent value.
R9 - THE CARTER (G1) - Lots of speed plus the atypical seven furlong distance gives me reason to look for horses coming from off the pace. This is a tough race to really draw lines between contenders, but I think it's also a good race to gamble on. #3 LAYSH LAYSH LAYSH is an interesting closer who always fires. #4 KENSEI ran second to the best older horse in training last time. #7 APRIORITY is a new horse with an awesome effort at Gulfstream Park last time out. He's risky to toss.
For a longshot (I used him as a backup), I think #6 YAWANNA TWIST is poised to run a big one.
R10 - THE WOOD (G1) - Um, Uncle Mo.
Let's build these tickets...
If our top picks sail home, we would have $4 on the pick four. Total investment is $144. Good luck!