Every time I think the pick-4 is an indecipherable mess, the longest price in the sequence is 3-1. At first glance this looks like a pick-4 with plenty of upset possibilities, but here goes.
In my opinion, there is no stickout in the 6th. #2 Sacred Ground is listed as the morning line favorite off a 42 day rest and a drop to the lowest claiming level he’s seen since January 2013. Sacred Ground is a 7 year-old horse who has been a steady earner in the low claiming ranks. He is placed correctly in this race and the distance should be no issue, but he may lack enough pace to run at. He certainly has a chance but I wouldn’t make him better than a 20% probability.
#6 Seeker should be the speed here. There is no reason why the five year-old gelding shouldn’t be able to establish his own fractions and hang on in the stretch. He won a $20,000 claiming mile race on May 23 in front running style, came back on the turf, and is back on his favored dirt surface today.
The #4 No Brakes had zero wins from 13 starts in 2013, but already has two wins this year, albeit at Charles Town and Pimlico. The hard-knocking nine year-old gelding wouldn’t be a complete surprise.
“A” Horses -2, 6
“B” Horse – 4
This race is another tricky event. In the nine horse field there are only a couple of horses I don’t think have a chance of crossing under the wire first.
#5 The Brothers War shipped over from Europe in 2013 and finished third in a turf sprint at Saratoga. The well-bred son of War Front clunked in a minor stakes sprint at GP and faded to third after setting the pace in a 7-furlong OC turf sprint in his last. He looked like he needed the conditioning, but could get seriously compromised if he tries to stay with some of the other speed in the race. Still, at 6-1 he could make the pick-4.
#1 Hear the Footsteps is at his correct level today and should find the distance to his liking. His closing style shouldn’t hurt him in this field. #3 Morpheus, half-brother to the great Frankel, is another shipper from Europe making his third start in the States. The 4 year-old still looks like he has some improve left in him, and wouldn’t be a total surprise. #4 Marriedtothemusic has the best figure in the race but has never started on the turf. He is another with early speed and could wind up setting the race up for a closer. #9 Spring Sky as only won once in his last 13 starts, but did just miss at today’s class and distance on May 16. He is another one who looks like he wants to prompt the pace.
# 2 Honorable Dylan get a look simply because he is at the right level, and he raced well in his turf sprint debut on May 16. Perhaps today he turns the tables on Hear the Foorsteps and Spring to the Sky.
“A” Horse – 5
“B” Horses – 1,3,4,9
“C” Horse – 2
This race is super-competitive and even the longest shot on the morning line, West Coast Chick wouldn’t be a total shock. Five of the seven starters appear to be front-running types, and the other two are more pressers than closers. Only one of the starters has ever won a Graded stakes, Miss Behaviour.
#3 Milam is the morning line favorite, and although her pace figures put her near the bottom of the field, she may have an advantage because of her running style. She comes out after finishing a close second in the 8 Belles on Derby Day. The winner of that race, Fiftyshadesofgold, is multiple stakes-placed and would be 5 for 7 if not for some horse called Untapable. #2 Miss Behaviour comes off a front-running victory in the Ms Preakness and seems to be able to run without keeping her nose in front of a field. Todd Pletcher’s #6 Red Velvet wired a short stakes field in her last and has every right to keep improving.
#1 Isabelle has yet to face open competition, but was impressive in winning a state-bred stakes last out. #4 Street Story has to be considered because if the front runners falter she is most likely to pick up the pieces.
“A” Horses – 2,3,6
“B” Horses – 1,4
“C” Horses – 5,7
The nightcap is one of those typical NY state-bred maiden races on the turf where horses either look possible or horrible, but nobody sticks out.
I’m going to look for horses who don’t have many starts, but have at least shown some potential. My choices are the #8 Zafiro Azul and #10 Josie’s Prospect. Both ran competitive figures in the same race on June 12, Josie’s Prospect on the front and Zafiro Azul making an impressive closing run. Of the two other horses coming out of that race, #2 Nanoon was strangled in the early going and had nothing left for a stretch drive, and #5 Sweetest Peach showed nothing at all.
#7 Transplendid was approaching professional maiden status when she fell and was vanned off in her last start of 2013. If she returns to her best form she has a chance to finish in front. Lil’ Zilla is also returning off a nine month plus layoff with a new trainer in tow. She is dropping from straight state-bred maidens, should have no problem with the distance and has a better pace figure as a two year-old than any other horse has as a three year-old. At 6-1 it is tough to ignore her.
“A” Horses – 8,10
“B” Horses – 7,9
“C” Horse – 2