It was a "chalky" day at Keeneland yesterday. I offered a Late Pick 4 and hit it, but favorites took three of the four races and none of the winners were higher than 2-1 odds. So, I hit the Pick 4 and actually lost over $100.
The late Scott Harris summed it up best years ago when he sagely commented:
"We can pick winners, but we can't pick what we'll get paid."
On the day, I offered 16 horses in the Late Pick Four sequence (Races 8-11) ay Keeneland. I had four winners, four places and two shows. That's a 62.5% "in the money" number. I filled 10 of the 12 "payable" spots for 83.3%. My top pick in each of the four races won.
Race 8 -- Bound For Nowhere was the second favorite at 2-1 and used a well-timed stretch run in the sprint to get by favorite Imprimis. The Critical Way completed the trifecta.
Race 9 -- Malathaat went off at 3/2 and easily handled the field in the Ashland Grade I. Pass The Champagne ran well for second. Will's Secret got the show.
Race 10 -- Kimari went off at 3/5 and looked every bit of it in the win. Bell's The One bested the rest for second.
Race 11 - In the Derby Prep Blue Grass Stakes, Essential Quality and Highly Motivated drew away from the rest of the field and battled the entire race. Essential Quality got the lead at the 16th pole and got the win by a neck at the wire at 1-2 odds.
The Pick 4 paid a paltry $14.70 on the .50 cent wager.
So, Essential Quality moves on the the Derby, if he comes out of the race OK. If I owned Highly Motivated, I's send him as well to Churchill to run for the roses. These two beat the competition by at least six lengths and it was reminiscent of the battles Alydar and Affirmed had back in 1978. If you're unfamiliar with the battles these two had in the Triple Crown, you need to go back and watch them.
It is what we'll see in the Derby?
In the Santa Anita Derby, Rock Your World, the third-favorite at 5-1, took the lead early and led them all the way with a four length win. He punched his ticket to Churchill, defeating big favorite Medina Spirit and Dream Shake very easily. Can he engage in a speed duel with Essential Quality?
Consider this: Rock Your World covered the 1-1/8th in 1:49:17. Essential Quality covered the same distance in 1:48:50. Figure in any track bias and conditions that you want . I call it too close to tell, Rock Your World was not pushed by anyone at the end and Essential Quality had to fight Highly Motivated the entire trip.
Then, there was the Wood Memorial.
In a shocker, Bourbonic, at 72-1 odds, won in the crawling time of 1:54.49. A last-to -first stretch run got him there in time over another Todd Pletcher runner, Dynamic One -- by a head. Bourbonic was double digits last as the rounded the final turn, but used a furious stretch run to get up at the wire.
I can't see Bourbonic doing much in the Derby, I'l bet that Pletcher sends him, maybe with Dynamic Run -- but the time just doesn't make him a contender in my thinking.
Anyway...we'll give it a go again next week and hope for better payouts.