National Race Masters Blog

Back to Blog Home…

Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 2, 2016 at 12:00 AM


There are two ways to look at the LATE PICK 4 at Saratoga on Saturday. The Race 9-12 sequence begins with the Grade I Spinaway Stakes for Juvenile Fillies, continues with the Grade I Woodward for older horses, follows with the Grade III Turf marathon Glens Falls Stakes for 3-year old and up fillies and mares and concludes with a high level allowance on the turf.

The two ways to look at this Late Pick 4 are focused on the first two races in the sequence. In the Spinaway bettors will have a hard time deciding on how deep they want to go as it appears that the only youngster in the seven filly field who would have to make a big leap forward is YOU KNOW WHO a Delaware shipper whose numbers are a cut below the other six.

Next is the Woodward and the duel decision maker. It is not far-fetched to speculate that perhaps 85-90% of Pick 4 Tickets will SINGLE FROSTED in the Woodward…and why not. Given his win for the ages in the Metropolitan Stakes on Belmont Day and his easy hand ride win in the Grade I Whitney Stakes here 4 weeks back, the PP’s and current form dictate it is he who possesses the pace determination and class edge over his opponents.

If FROSTED does continue his domination Pick 4 players will have to hope for at least a pair of longshot winners or even three in the other races in order to get the payoff such gimmicks are known for. By the same token, singling FROSTED in one of the legs decreases the investment in the bet.

On the other hand, scenario two is what RISK PLAYERS dream of: should the odds-on Woodward favorite get beat the phrase BOXCAR PAYOFFS makes the headlines.


The above being said I will tell you straight out that I am releasing BOTH the Spinaway and the WOODWARD as part of my Saturday Best Bet Report (4 Races With Two Exacta-Trifecta Combos…Check It Out Here) and while FROSTED will be part of my Woodward Stakes Analysis I believe there are a few that could pull the upset so they will be part of the equation.

Not much needs to be said about FROSTED. As an older horse he has improved significantly and in a way has done a reversal of the norm. It is a usual trend for older horses to become more measured and tactical in their running style, if good enough to stay on what used to be called the Handicap Division but is now just an older horse Stakes Division since so few handicap races are run anymore. For his part, FROSTED, ever since battling head-to-head on the front end with American Pharoah and costing that one the Travers Stales last year, has become a stone cold speed horse.

So who can run with FROSTED in the Woodward and for how long?

BRADESTER is a Grade I winner who has won three straight in wire-to-wire fashion, including the Grade I Stephen Foster at Churchill June 18 and the Grade II Monmouth Cup on July 31. This guy will not be intimidated by FROSTED. How big an impact he’ll have is worth consideration.

If he runs back to his pace battling second in the Grade II Suburban at Belmont in early July SAMRAAT could also be attendant early on.

For a handicapper the challenge is to plot the race and decide what, if any advantage a very fast pace would give to the tactical, in form multiple graded stakes winning and placed competitors.

SHAMAN GHOST returns after a short break and with the introduction of Lasix after tracking the pace and winning the Grade II Brooklyn and then faltering a bit in the late stages of the 10 furlong Grade II Suburban. The break and one less furlong could help.

MUBTAAHIJ is another who has been freshened a bit after racing close up and between horses in the Grade II Suburban in his last before settling for a close third behind EFFINEX, who has skipped this affair and SAMRAAT. A handicapper cannot ignore the fact that MUBTAAHIJ was resilient enough to finish second behind California Chrome and ahead of FROSTED’S 4th in the Dubai World Cup.

Another with tactical tracking speed is BREAKING LUCKY. Although the Reade Baker Woodbine shipper is stepping up in class he has shown enough to indicate he could mix it up for 7 or 8 furlongs and that could play into the top of the lane setup.

The late running contingent consists of CATHOLIC COWBOY, TALE OF VERVE and TEPIN MOJO. The first two have shown flashes but this is another level, although crazier things have happened when races fall apart. For his part, TEPIN MAGIC appears hopelessly over his head.

FROSTED is listed at 1-2 on the ML…and we will know soon enough. But there is enough competition to make those that single him sweat for about a minute and fifty seconds or less and those that have no problem risking money for the BOXCAR PAYOFF to reach for their wallet.


Let me conclude by telling you that I have also zeroed in on the Winner and Exotics for the Spinaway and as most PICK 4 Players of consequence will tell you, they love a First Leg in which there is no “gimme favorite.”

That is definitely the case in this Juvenile Filly Stake.

As I said…THE PICK 4 IS WORTH THE PLAY. Make certain to check out my analysis and winning plays in these two Stakes races plus additional Bonus action on this 4 Race Report (See Details Here.)


Join the discussion


Forgot password

Keep me logged in