Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oaks Day Late Pick Four Analysis

--Brian DiDonato

GI Kentucky Oaks - The whole world knows that this race goes through Untapable. Her two efforts
this season tower over the competition, and she’ll probably win. But being drawn out in the 13 post makes her a little vulnerable, and she’s not absolutely guaranteed to get the distance—plus she does have a target on her back. I’m not crazy enough to toss her, and many of my bets will use her on top, but I do think there’s some value to be had here—either on the win end if the favorite falters, or at least underneath.
   The horse I’m most interested in is Thank You Marylou, who’s an extremely generous 30-1 on the morning line. The Mike Maker trainee is by Birdstone—whose progeny almost universally prefer a conventional main track, and who are better the longer they go—out of a Menifee mare who was much better on dirt and a stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles. Yet this will be the first time Thank You Marylou routes on dirt, and the first time she goes beyond 8 1/2 panels. A late-on-the-scene third (promoted to second via DQ) in the GII Saratoga Special in August, the chestnut resurfaced to take Gulfstream’s seven-furlong Any Limit S. by 2 1/2 lengths over a decent field Mar. 9, good for a 95 Beyer Speed Figure (that makes her the third-fastest horse in the race, believe it or not). Perhaps she should’ve finished better than seven lengths behind the top two when third in Keeneland’s GI Ashland S. in her first route attempt last time, but she was much closer to that insane early pace than those foes were and she just never figured to prefer the synthetic. She should run a new Beyer top under these conditions, and that puts her right with pretty much anything besides Untapable’s best.
   I’ll also include Unbridled Forever, the daughter of 2006 Oaks upsetter Lemons Forever who should also appreciate this trip and figures to move up off her third behind Untapable in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks; Got Lucky, who continues to let me down, but has had some trip excuses and is best at nine furlongs; and a tiny bit of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner-via-DQ Ria Antonia, who ran ok first-time Baffert last time in the GI Santa Anita Oaks and could take a step forward.
   The Play: Win on #5 Thank You Marylou (30-1). Exacta box key w/ #13 Untapable (4-5) (pressed), #9 Unbridled Forever (12-1), #12 Got Lucky (20-1) and #2 Ria Antonia (10-1). Trifecta 13 w/ 2,5,9,12 w/ 2,5,9,12. In the pick four, 5,13 as A’s; 9 as B; 2,12 as C’s.

Thank You Marylou                                       Kenny Martin

GII Alysheba S. - This looks like a very good spot to oppose odds-on favorite Will Take Charge. He danced lots of dances last year, and has already run three times this year—in Florida, California and Arkansas. He did not look like his best self when barely winning the GII Oaklawn H. last time and nearly being DQ’d, and the 103 Beyer he earned was his lowest in eight starts. This 1 1/16-mile distance is also much shorter than optimal for him. Normandy Invasion is the obvious alternative and figures to take some beating—his runner-up finish behind Palace Malice in the GII New Orleans H. while attempting to close into a slow pace takes this a large portion of the time. I’ll also use the other obvious horses: Golden Ticket, whose close second to Palice Malice in the GII Gulfstream Park H. looks particularly good in hindsight and whose last race in that embarrassingly run Carter can be ignored; and Mylute, who still has some upside. I’m also going to use a little Coin Broker because he’s still unexposed and trainer Dale Romans is always sneaky.
   The Play: Exacta box #5 Normandy Invasion (3-1), #7 Golden Ticket (6-1) and #3 Mylute (10-1), w/ 5,7 box pressed. Smaller exacta key box #4 Coin Broker w/ 3,5,7. In the pick four, 3,5,7 as A’s, 4 as a C.

Edgewood S. - This morning line seems a bit off to me, but if it were to hold, Little Journey would be a very big overlay at 10-1. Trainer Chad Brown is just SO deadly with these European fillies, and they don’t always get bet—Sweet Acclaim was a fast-closing second at 8-1 in last month’s GIII Appalachian S. According to the Keeneland clocker report, Little Journey out-worked Pleuven—a GSP 3-year-old colt who would crush these—over the turf there Apr. 17. Plus she was third in September behind Flamboyant, who took her own Stateside debut in Santa Anita’s La Puente S. two weeks ago. The other two I’ll use are Istanford and Resistivity, who were part of that complete meltdown in the Ashland I alluded to earlier. Both are much better than that and I don’t think they’ll be ridden quite so aggressively this time, though I wasn’t expecting them to be the second and third choices on the morning line.
   The Play: Win bet on #5 Little Journey (10-1) at 5-1+, also using #7 Istanford (7-2) and #10 Resistivity (3-1) in the pick four.

Eight Belles S. - What a surprise, a 3-year-old race at seven furlongs comes up super interesting. . . There are tons of ways to go in here—the obvious players like She’s a Tiger, Fiftyshadesofgold and Our Amazing Rose have to be respected, but there’s at least one longshot who interests me a lot. I discussed Mufajaah here a bit before the Fantasy, where she never quite seemed to recover after a rough start, checking in seventh in what was a bit of a merry-go-round race. She still has every right to prove extremely talented, though, and I love the cut back to seven panels for her and the addition of Lasix. Lots of Tapits seem to do well with this move, and her dam Carolyn’s Cat (Forestry) was a speedy MGSW sprinter. Plus there are enough fillies in here who want to be forwardly placed that I think her late kick could prove very dangerous.
   The Play: Win bet on #8 Mufajaah (10-1). In the pick four, using her, #7 Fiftyshadesofgold (3-1) and #10 She’s a Tiger (5-2) as A’s; #4 Our Amazing Rose (3-1) and #5 Jojo Warrior (9-2) as B’s; #1 Whomping Willow (12-1) and #9 Milam (12-1) as C’s.

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