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Jun 09, 2006



It has always been my contention that the pick four play is the best bet at the racetrack. The pools are always very large and the fact that you can make the play for a $1 allows for a wider ticket in terms of how many horses you can use. The opportunities to make money playing the pick four are plentiful and when these opportunities come along you have to take advantage of them.

There was one of those opportunities at Belmont on Friday June 2nd. The first leg of the pick four was a maiden claiming race with 9 horses, one of them being sent off at 4-5. COSMIC STAR, from the Richard Dutrow Jr. barn was coming off a third place finish against maiden $50k claimers while getting beat five lengths, his two prior starts at Gulfstream saw him run 5th and 8th respectively, in both of those starts losing by eight lengths. It is tough to endorse a horse like that at odds-on especially in the first leg of a pick four. We saw fit to use four horses in the first leg, leaving out the big favorite and then pressing with two of those horses. We used the #5 MILESTONE MARK, #6 BOOKWAY, #8 PAPA BEHR, and #1 BIG CHIEF BUBBA. We pressed with #1 BIG CHIEF BUBBA and #6 BOOKWAY. BIG CHIEF BUBBA comes from the Alan Klanfer barn who has not had a great 2006, scoring with only 6% of his 84 starters. However, the barn has been running a lot better of late and we know from the past when Jennifer Pedersen was the trainer for PARANECK STABLE that this barn won in spurts. This well bred four year old stalked the pace in fourth, made a move on the turn to take the lead and drew away for an easy score, paying $45.80 to those who backed him and also the loyal American Turf Monthly telephone service customers. The odds-on choice never lifted a hoof and finished seventh.

In the second leg there were three horses that could win and we would use all three, #2 MENU VARNISH, #5 KELLY K’S PLEASURE and #6 SHE’S INDY MONEY. With the favorite SHE’S INDY MONEY ($5.00) getting the job done. In the next leg there were only two horses that could win #3 CARMANDIA and #6 NOTRE DAME, with NOTRE DAME as the horse to beat and the one to press on all extra tickets. After stalking the pace, NOTRE DAME ($3.80) took over and drew away for the score as the 4-5 favorite. In the 9th race and final leg, a maiden special weight race on the turf going six furlongs, the morning line favorite SIGH YOU would be tough to beat if he ran back to his first turf try but there were two other horses we wanted to use, #7 PATH OF PERFECTION from the Keith O’Brien barn and #11 STRIKEUPTHEBLUES, who showed a good third in his first try on the turf before a poor performance at 9-2 in his second try. With a lot of rain coming before this race it made for a slick turf course but saw the favorite SIGH YOU ($5.50) get away on the early lead and holding on well to the wire for a length score. STRIKEUPTHEBLUES closed well to finish second with PATH OF PERFECTION closing strongly for third despite a conservative early ride from Mike Smith.

The pick four paid $750, $150 more than the parlay but with the way we structured the tickets we hit it multiple times.

The first ticket: Race 6- 1,5,6,8; Race 7- 2,5,6; race 8-3,6; Race 9- 7,8,11= 4x3x2x3= $72. We put that ticket in for $2 for a total of $144. On the next ticket we pressed the horses we liked more. Race 6- 1,6; Race 7-2,5,6; Race 8- 6; Race 9- 7,8,11= 2x3x1x3= $18. We put that ticket in for $2 also for a total of $36. On our final ticket we singled the final two races and pressed the ticket for more. Race 6-1,6; Race 7-2,5,6; Race 8-6; Race 9- 8= 2x3x1x1= $6. We put that ticket in for $10 for a total of $60 and a total outlay of $240. We hit the pick 4 for a total of $14, collecting $5,250, for a profit of $5,010.

The pick four pool had four times more than the pick six pool that day and the fact that you can spread out on each ticket makes it the best play at the racetrack. As with any play at the racetrack value is the key especially in the first leg of a multiple race wager. When a horse that goes off at 4-5 that should be about 5-2 you must take advantage. When you have a horse that goes off at more than 20-1 you must also take advantage of that and try to spread out in the other races to try and hit the play but when you have two horses that you could single late, press it up and hope for the best. These opportunities are there when playing the races, you just have to recognize them and when you do, go for the gusto and take full advantage. Good Luck!

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