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Dec 28, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-PICK FOUR TICKET

By: JOE GIRARDI


               After taking their Holiday Break, Aqueduct returned to racing on Wednesday December 26th, 2012. The racing wasn’t great but there were definitely opportunities on the card if you played it the right way. There was one horse on the card that couldn’t lose the race but I knew he would be around the even money price on the board so there wasn’t much you could do on the win end but he was part of the early pick four so why not take chance to make some money with that pool.

               The early pick four starts in the second race on the card, it was a race for $16k maiden claimers and it had a field of eight betting entrants. When looking at the race there favorites were two horses that had already run and run just “ok” but they would be taking the heavy action on in the pick four pool. There was one horse who ran against a higher claiming price at Parx, showed some speed and tired to 8th but could be used on the ticket. A firster taking a little money and a few horses that showed some speed before tiring badly. I hate to lean on the two favorites so on my first ticket I thought the race could be an all. Hope for a price and then come back and press the lower price horses in case they got home first. As we have written in this spot before you don’t have to put only one ticket in. Our first ticket would be our all out coverage ticket and then we would come back and press accordingly. So in race 2, ALL to start us off and what a good result to start the pick 4 as the #2, GRAND AWARD went wire to wire from the rail and paid $53 to win. The final time of the race was very slow, 1:16:2, so it goes to show how bad of a race that was.

               Moving on to leg 2, race 3 on the card. There were seven betting entrants but in our opinion only five of those horses could win. WILD GRACE, the 1, was the 2-5 favorite from the rail but had already lost twice as the favorite and didn’t have to win so why not spread out on the first ticket in hopes of trying to beat that favorite. The only horses we didn’t use were the 3-4, a firster from a low percentage barn with slow workouts and a horse that ran once and was up the track at 61-1 in her debut. We caught another break when the 5, PEGASUS DIAMOND ran down the 2-5 favorite to score by a neck at 11-1. This was her third try for the Chris Englehart barn, since taking over from Leo O’Brien, and she has one win, one second and one third. She paid $25.40 to win and the double paid $503, a great start to the pick 4.

               The next race was leg 3, race 4 on the card. This was the race we had out single. SARATOGA SNACKS, a very good New York bred for trainer Gary Sciacca, who coming into the race had four wins and two second from six starts, most recently finishing second to LUNAR VICTORY in the Empire Classic at Belmont on October 20th. His main challenger on paper was SAGINAW, a six year old gelding who won 10 races so far this race and was going from the North American record trying to get to number 11 and lead all horses in wins for the year. He was coming off a hard fought victory just 11 days ago in the Gravesend Handicap going six furlongs. He would have to stretchout in distance, and would be on the chase to SARATOGA SNACKS who drew inside of him. SARATOGA SNACKS broke running from the start, set a moderate pace while being pursued by SAGINAW. As they moved around the far turn, SAGINAW didn’t go on with it but SARATOGA SNACKS did, he edged away into the lane, took a small challenge from SOCIALSAUL but was safe to the wire scoring by a measured length, SOCIALSAUL finished second and it was almost 12 lengths back to SAGINAW who checked in third. More importantly we got our single home, the pick 3 encompassing the first three legs paid $1,505.

               On to the fourth and final leg, we thought this was another race that could produce a price so we used five horses. The total play was 8x5x1x5=200 for $1. We had the only five horses that were in single digits and we got another solid winner, #8 ALCOLITE scored by an easy seven lengths under Pablo Morales for trainer Jena Antonucci after stalking the 20-1 longshot leader. ALCOLITE paid $15 to win but the pick 4 paid $16,229 for $2, and $8,114 for a $1. We collected on the $1 payoff and after Uncle Sam got his cut we got a little over $6,000. Our total play was $400, $200, on our all out spread play and another $200 in presses. If we played $400 to win on SARATOGA SNACKS we would have collected $740 and made a profit of $340, not a bad day. However, we took a shot, basically covered the other three races with our single, pressed accordingly and made a profit of about $7,700 before the takeout and about $5,600 after the takeout. You always hear, oh there is no value in betting favorites, but value is everywhere, we turned a 4-5 shot into a 38-1 shot. Not a bad day at the races!



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