The highest Pick 4 payout of opening week at Saratoga was on races 7 through 10 last Friday. Will history repeat itself and produce another $981 payout for a 50-cent wager? Here’s a look at the action:
SAR 7th race (4:29 EST) -- KEEPMEINMIND finally gets a chance to exercise his entry-level allowance option after making his last 10 starts in graded stakes company. He finished in the money three times against champion 3-year-old and Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality, including the Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga when last seen nearly a year ago. He shows a series of sub-1:01 works to prepare for his first start as a 4-year-old and first for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. He is today’s solo play.
SAR 8th race (5:05 EST) -- With five entrants arriving to this turf sprint off recent allowance victories and half of the field with more than $100,000 in grass earnings, hit the ‘ALL’ button in this leg of the Pick 4.
SAR 9th race (5:39 EST) -- AL QAHIRA (12-1) could escalate the Pick 4 payout. In her last three turf starts at longer distances, she finished second in a race that produced five next-out winners, second to eventual multiple graded stakes winner Spendarella, then broke her maiden in a 12-horse field. Her comment lines in the stretch include ‘briefly kicked clear’ and ‘drew clear’ and a ‘solid bid through the lane,’ all suggesting the one-mile distance will suit her well. KOALA PRINCESS was visually impressive in a pair of sprints to start her career last summer. She then finished a non-threatening seventh in the Breeders Cup Filly Turf, but only lost by 2-1/4 lengths in a blockbuster race that produced the likes of Grade I winner Cachet, G-II victors Consumer Spending and Turnerloose and multiple G-III winner Cairo Memories. She hasn’t raced since November but that’s no problem for trainer Arnaud Delacour, who sports a 10-22 record with layoff types of 180-plus days. Chad Brown, a four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, sent out five of the last seven winners in the Grade III Lake George. EMINENT VICTOR ran third behind Breeders Cup-winning stablemate Pizza Bianca in her first start for Brown, then benefited from a good setup when she got up to win in her seasonal debut in the $100,000 Wild Applause at one mile.
SAR 10th race (6:13 EST) – LEELOO raced 5-wide on the turn, drew even in deep stretch but was out-kicked for the win by Bank On Anna, a winner of her last three non-stakes tries. Prior to that Leeloo romped to a maiden win and faded while on the outside in the Franklin Square Stakes on a day when seven of nine winners raced on or near the rail most of the way. LET HER INSPIRE YOU led at the stretch call in her last three starts, finally prevailing as the 1-to-5 favorite off a nine-month layoff. Third-place finisher Sweet Mystery rallied to a MSW upset in her next start. She is a must use as Pletcher’s runners ‘repeat’ 25 percent of the time. QUEEN ARELLA won her last five races at Finger Lakes by a combined 17 lengths, but if she doesn’t carry her speed in her toughest race to date, she could help set up entry-mate TRUE EMPRESS, who can’t seem to avoid extremely wide trips but who broke her maiden at 6F three starts back.
Suggested 50-cent Ticket
SAR 7th Race: 1
SAR 8th Race: ALL
SAR 9th Race: 3, 4, 6
SAR 10th Race: 2, 7, 8