07/08/2010 11:00PM

Go deep on revised Calder pick four play


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Well, as the saying goes, better late than never.

Calder Race Course, which had originally not included the Grade 1 Princess Rooney among its races for its pick-four wager on Saturday during its "Summit of Speed" card, has changed course, now including the race in the bet and tossing what had been the first leg, the Frank Gomez Memorial for 2-year-olds.

So consider this Round Two of pick-four analysis of the bet, an updated version of one that ran in the Saturday print edition of Daily Racing Form and was posted online Thursday and into Friday morning.

Late announcements aside, the wager is better for the change, due to the depth of the Princess Rooney field, which increases the likelihood of a fat payoff in the wager.

The six-furlong Princess Rooney lacks a standout, and to have a legitimate chance of hitting the wager, a player probably has to go deep, using multiple combinations.

So here is my updated analysis of the wager, which can be played in increments of $0.50.

Race 8, The Azalea

Utilizing the Daily Racing Form's Ticketmaker program in Formulator, which constructs tickets based on the strength of how a handicapper rates contenders, I assigned three horses in this 2-year-old contest as "A" runners -- or top-level contenders.

The most likely winners are Rapport (No. 1), Buckleupbuttercup (No. 5) and Pica Slew (No. 8) -- whom I rated as "A" level contenders.

But I also could not eliminate Bronx City Girl (No. 6), who joins the high-percentage Marty Wolfson barn off the claim after a fast win for $50,000 claiming at Churchill Downs May 27. Wolfson has a long history of moving up horses that come into his stable, and though Bronx City Girl doesn't seem quite as classy as some of her counterparts, on the strength of her form and winning connections, she rates as a "B" level threat.

As a "B" she will be used on many tickets, but not to the extent of the "A" runners.

Race 9, The Carry Back

Although D' Funnybone (No. 2) was the beneficiary of a perfect-trip win winning the Grade 2 Woody Stevens on Belmont Day June 5, and therefore potentially not as good as looked in that race, I couldn't find another horse that appeared a legitimate threat to him.

A multiple graded stakes winner, he ranks as one of the top sprinting 3-year-olds in the country, and seems the timing of this race fits the schedule trainer Rick Dutrow likes to follow with his stakes horses. That is, give them 5 to 6 weeks off between races.

D' Funnybone is also proven over the Calder strip, having raced in south Florida before being bought privately by owner Paul Pompa after a runner-up finish in the Frank Gomez Memorial last year.

He is a single, the lone "A."

Race 10, The Smile Sprint Handicap

This is a highly contentious six-furlong dash for older horses, and players are advised to go deep with their pick four plays. This is the race, that if hit with a price horse, has the potential to make the pick four pay nicely.

With that in mind, I used four horses as "A" contenders: Taqarub (No. 7), Congressional Page (No. 8), Big Drama (No. 10), and Snapshot (No. 13).

All are in peak form, coming off either wins or runner-up finishes, and have shown the potential to run Beyers in excess of 100.

Going a little deeper, I chose Go Go Shoot (No. 2) and Mambo Meister (No. 3) as "B" runners. They have virtues, but fell short of being "A"s because the former has gone unplaced in two starts at Calder, and the latter seems better suited to races at a mile or more.

Race 11, The Princess Rooney

In a race as contentious as the Smile, I again used four "A" runners in my pick-four exotics tickets, while also adding two "B" runners.

In program order, the "A" contenders are Jessica Is Back (No. 3), who has run Beyers of 100 or more in her last four Calder appearances; Mother Rush (No. 5), the top last-race Beyer runner, who posted a 103 Beyer in winning the Valid Expectations May 31 at Lone Star for Bob Baffert; Dubai Majesty (No. 8), a multiple graded stakes winner proven over the Calder strip; and Warbling (No. 9), who prior to running fifth in the slop in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff, won the Grade 2 Inside Information in fast time at Gulfstream.

Despite their strengths, I will also use "B' runners Hour Glass (No. 4) and Dr. Zic (No. 7), who won the Grade 2 Vagrancy and Grade 1 Madison earlier this year. A pair of win machines, they have a combined 10 for 19 record.

Putting it all together

By plugging the horses mentioned above into Ticketmaker, four tickets were constructed -- one with "A"s winning every leg; two tickets with "B"s winning one leg; and one last ticket with "B"s winning two legs. The four tickets total $48.

My tickets look like this: Fifty-cent pick four: 1,5,8 with 2 with 7,8,10,13 with 3,5,8,9 (cost of $24).

Fifty-cent pick four: 6 with 2 with 7,8,10,13 with 3,5,8,9 (cost: $8).

Fifty-cent pick four: 1,5,8 with 2 with 7,8,10,13 with 4,7 (cost: $12.

Fifty-cent pick four: 6 with 2 with 7,8,10,13 with 4,7 (cost: $4).