Race 7 on Saturday at Belmont Park, set for a 3:43 p.m. post time, kicks off an all-stakes Pick 4 in New York.
HRN handicapper Jarrod Horak lays out three ways to play it -- but first, analyses of the races:
Grade 3 Athenia Stakes (Race 7 - 8.5T)
#5 TIME AND MOTION (6-1) was very good last year but has not been able to get things going in 2017. It appears that Toner finally has her healthy again and she has two bullets in her holster. She reconnects with winning rider Johnny V and should offer value. #7 Off Limits (2-1) fired Exacta shots in her last five and bumped her numbers up nicely in her last two wins. She is razor sharp now. #1 Elysea’s World (5-1) can be dangerous when she gets pace help but her only win in her last 10 starts was a 9f optional claiming score at GP (December 2016). She has placed in four graded turf routes this year.
Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm (Races 8 - 8.5f)
#3 MISS SKY WARRIOR (8-5) was part of a collapsing pace when last seen in the G1 Kentucky Oaks on a wet track and she ended up 8th of 14 that day. She rattled off five straight fast track wins (4 graded scores) before the Oaks and figures tough to deny if she is ready to roll off the bench for Breen. She has four bullets in her holster and Castellano hops aboard the early/pressing type. #5 Birdatthewire (8-1) stretches back out off a layoff and she likes this distance (7-2-2-1). #7 Eskenformoney (3-1) is 1-for-14 with 10 minor awards at this distance. She can get a piece of this or possibly more in her career finale.
Grade 3 Bold Ruler (Race 9 - 7f)
#11 DIVINING ROD (7-2) was clearly second best in the G2 Kelso Sept 23 and winner Sharp Azteca is a contender in the upcoming BC Dirt Mile. My top sports back-to-back Fair Hill bullets for this and usually runs his race under Centeno. #7 Stallwalkin’ Dude (4-1) is a tough veteran sprinter with more than a $1.5 million bankroll. He owns four wins at this course and distance and figures to stalk the pace under Ortiz Jr. #9 Seymourdini (3-1) ran lights out in his last three romping wins including a stakes blowout at Saratoga July 3. He runs well fresh and 4 of his 5 wins were by margins of 9 lengths or more but he might prefer some moisture in the track. #10 Mr. Crow (5-1) had a bad start in the G1 Vosburgh and that cost him any chance. He ran well throughout in his other three starts and earned triple-digit speed figures on July 22 and Aug 30. #5 Tommy Macho (10-1) has been below form recently but is capable of earning strong numbers and sports a win and four show finishes in graded events this year.
Awad Stakes (Race 10 - 8T)
#6 WAR CHEST (9-5) got plenty of pace help in his late running course/distance debut Sept 23 but he looked good winning and should get pace to chase once again. McGaughey excels with his second grass starters and the well-bred $500k purchase should continue to develop. #9 Devine Entry (8-1) owns an ascending numbers pattern and might be able to handle a flat mile. Rice excels with her recent grads trying winners for the first time and Ortiz stays put. #4 Bourbon Currency (5-1) switched to turf and beat Devine Entry Sept 9 and he is bred to go this far.
Strategy #1 - One Pick 4 ticket with all contenders - Total Cost - $67.50
This is not the most efficient strategy, but some players like to lump all of their contenders on one ticket. You are giving all of you contenders an equal chance of winning and can only hit the Pick 4 once using this method.
50 cent Pick Four 1-5-7/3-5-7/5-7-9-10-11/4-6-9 ($67.50)
Strategy #2 - Key Top Choices in each leg of the Pick 4 - Total Cost - $81.00
This strategy costs a few dollars more, but you can hit the Pick 4 multiple times if more than one of your key horses win. It is vital to make your wins count when you are on a handicapping roll, and this strategy takes full advantage of that scenario. This is my favorite Pick 3 strategy, and I have used it successfully in the Pick 4 as well.
50 cent Pick Four 5/3-5-7/5-7-9-10-11/4-6-9 ($22.50)
50 cent Pick Four 1-5-7/3/5-7-9-10-11/4-6-9 ($22.50)
50 cent Pick Four 1-5-7/3-5-7/11/4-6-9 ($13.50)
50 cent Pick Four 1-5-7/3-5-7/5-7-9-10-11/6 ($22.50)
Strategy #3 - Primary/Secondary Contenders - Total Cost - $32.00
This one is similar to the first strategy, but it is much more efficient in the long run because you are taking a stand and saving money simultaneously. Key the horses you like best and use the remaining contenders as backups. If you have followed Pick 6 Blog or checked out my full cards from Southern California, then you know that I use this strategy on a daily basis and have had plenty of success with it.