By Sean Morris

Del Mar Late Pick-4 Picks & Analysis for August 1

By Sean Morris
Del Mar hosts a good card with a big Grade I this Saturday
Del Mar hosts a good card with a big Grade I this Saturday

Our in-house handicapper has pulled double duty this Saturday and along with his Saratoga Late Pick-4 Preview has written up his thoughts ahead of the Late Pick-4 at Del Mar...

Race 8

I’m So Anna (#7) is going to be tough to beat if she’s able to replicate her recent maiden win. This daughter of Fast Anna was underwhelming in her career debut on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields, but she really took to dirt in her last start with an authoritative four-length victory at Los Alamitos. For that effort, she earned a field-best Beyer Speed Figure of 66 that towers over this field, and the race was subsequently flattered when eighth-place finisher Righteously (#4) came back to win a maiden race on Opening Day at Del Mar.

I don’t mind Righteously or Big Andy (#1), the filly that finished just behind her last out at Del Mar, but they’re going to need to improve by several lengths to threaten I’m So Anna. Ditto for the others in this race, most of whom display Beyers that hover in the mid-40’s, which would leave them well short of the winner’s circle. It’s certainly not inconceivable for a 2-year-old to improve dramatically at this stage of the year, however the same can be said for the favorite, too.

Main:  7     Backup:  1,4

Order of preference:  7-1-4-2

 

Race 9

I suppose Tagline (#5) is the horse to beat as she makes her second start at this level after encountering some trouble in her initial try in the maiden claiming ranks. She’s run consistently well in all her turf outings, but I just don’t think she’s all that good and the trouble she had last time may be overblown by bettors.

There isn’t much early speed signed on for this race, so I’m very interested in Naughty Evelyn (#2) at a price. This filly is actually stepping up in class after running at the 40k level last out, but that came against a pretty solid field and she set an unreasonably fast pace that day. If she’s able to conserve a bit more of her natural speed early, I believe she’s capable of leading this group from start to finish.

I’m also intrigued by Del Mar Drama (#8) in this spot. It seems her connections have had a tough time figuring out what she wants to do, but I think they may finally be striking the right note as she’s being given her first opportunity to go long on grass. She’s another who will benefit from a lack of pace in this race and she fits well with this bunch as she drops into a maiden claimer for the first time in her career.

Main:  2,5,8     Backup (priority):  4,6

Order of preference:  2-8-5-6

 

Race 10

With the likely scratch of multiple G1 winner McKinzie (#4), this edition of the G1 Bing Crosby becomes a whole lot more wide open. I didn't love him as a betting proposition, but there's no doubt he was the class of the field and there's a serious power vacuum left in his wake, with some false favorites and plenty of fringe contenders left vying for G1 glory.

Lexitonian (#1) is a horse I have an affinity for, but if he wins this race I’ll be shocked. He was a gate scratch in the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course last weekend, then was promptly shipped across the country to contest this race as an ad hoc backup plan. Without these question marks he'd be a strong play for me, but I can't possibly take him based on the way he enters this race.

Wildman Jack (#8) would be tough to beat if he’s able to transfer his turf form to dirt, but you have to wonder why his connections have never tried him on the main track before and he’s coming off a dismal effort in the G2 Shakertown at Keeneland. He's another to avoid at a short price.

Desert Law (#3) nearly won last year’s Bing Crosby and deserves a look in this race. He ran reasonably well in his 2020 debut in a Cal-bred stakes race and did move way forward in his second start of 2019. If he follows a similar pattern this year he’d be a contender, but I’m not sure I want to bank on that at a short price.

Given my concerns with all these horses, my top pick in this race is Fashionably Fast (#6). He may not appear as fast as his main rivals, but this horse clearly has a will to win having emerged victorious in six of his last seven races, with his lone blemish in that span being a runner-up finish to McKinzie in the G2 Triple Bend. The cut back to six furlongs should work in his favor, and as McKinzie’s star wanes I believe this horse could still be on the rise. He may end up going off the favorite in this race, but regardless I think he has a very strong chance.

Main:  3,6      Backup (priority):  2,7

Order of preference:  6-3-7-2
 

Race 11

On Mars (#9) is probably going to go off a sizable favorite in this race. While I can’t deny that she’s run the best turf races of anyone in this group, she comes in under par for this level and it wouldn’t take much for her to get beat.

The trouble is, of those that have run, there aren’t many viable alternatives, so I think you need to look a bit outside the box in this race. It’s usually tough to pick a first-time starter to win a turf route, but I think Nina En Fuego (#2) finds herself in an ideal spot in her debut. Her trainer Tim Yakteen has great numbers with horses making their first start in a turf route, and this filly has the pedigree to suggest she’ll thrive at this trip. If she can run at all, she’s probably going to win.

Main:  2,9     Backup:  1,5

Order of preference:  2-9-5-1

 

Most Likely Winner:  I’m So Anna (Race 8)

Best Value:  Fashionably Fast (Race 10)

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