08/18/2016 2:26PM

King: Force the Pass, A Lot offer value in all-stakes pick four

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
A Lot, listed at 10-1 on the morning line for the Fourstardave, could spice up the all-stakes pick four at Saratoga and Del Mar.

Del Mar and Saratoga are co-hosting a 50-cent, all-stakes pick four Saturday, a wager that is attractive in that it encompasses the best races from the two tracks and can be played for a relatively small amount. The latter detail is in part due to the presence of Songbird in the Alabama, where she will be singled on most tickets, including mine.

In a section of Saturday’s Daily Racing Form that previewed these four races, I compiled a “caveman” ticket, playing all horses equally. That was, in essence, my spread ticket. But those looking to emphasize playing the horses they like most can use DRF’S online TicketMaker program, where tickets can be played of varied amounts, depending on how much a bettor likes a particular horse in each race.

In addition to the aforementioned ticket, what follows is how I plan to play the wager using TicketMaker.

Fourstardave, Saratoga, Race 9

I’ve regularly found that one-mile turf races (that don’t include Tepin) are often competitive affairs, and the Fourstardave seems no different. Just about anyone in this field can win, and more than likely, the race will come down to which horse gets the best trip.

I like three horses best: Force the Pass (4), Tourist (8), and A Lot (7). All three rate as “A” runners, or primary plays, in the TicketMaker program.

Though Tourist is the fastest horse on figures, Force the Pass and A Lot hold as much appeal because they are likely to offer more value than Tourist, the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Force the Pass is 8-1, and A Lot is 10-1.

Others have shots as well, notably Ring Weekend (6), a classy sort who runs well fresh, and Takeover Target (9), who won the Hall of Fame over this course last summer and took the Grade 2 Dixie over Ring Weekend in May at Pimlico. They rank as backup “B” horses.

Alabama, Saratoga, Race 10

Songbird (6) has repeatedly beaten better fields than the group assembled for the Alabama, and at equal weights while favorably drawn outside the other speed, she ought to keep her perfect record intact.

The only thing she hasn’t done is race 1 1/4 miles, but that doesn’t seem like a big deal. When her leads have diminished late in races, it has typically been the result of being geared down by regular rider Mike Smith.

Single Songbird as the lone “A.”

Del Mar Handicap, Race 8

Ashleyluvssugar (8) likely goes favored in this three-turn, 1 3/8-mile turf race, being in top form and having won graded stakes at 1 1/2 miles last year. Ashleyluvssugar is an “A,” but so, too, is Flamboyant (7) despite running a nonthreatening sixth in this race last year when he last raced 1 3/8 miles.

But take note: Flamboyant wasn’t running well going any distance last year. It wasn’t until early this year that he stepped up his game.

In terms of pedigree, as a French-bred with staying sires in his family, Flamboyant has every right to stretch out successfully.

My backup “B” runners to this pair are Finnegans Wake (9) and Patentar (11), with Finnegans Wake looking like he is cycling back to his peak form of past years, and with Patentar offering value at 20-1 on the morning line.

Pacific Classic, Del Mar, Race 9

The world’s best dirt horse, California Chrome (1), landed on the rail, a poor draw for a horse who prefers to run outside. Remember that in two of his notable defeats in 2014 at age 3, he started from posts 2 and 1 in the Belmont Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby.

However, California Chrome has a longer run to the turn in this race, and with Beholder and Dortmund in posts 7 and 8, he may not have his rivals lapped on him from the start.

Dortmund (8) and Beholder (7) tower over the rest of the field and are the logical others to use. Dortmund is an “A” and Beholder a “B.”

Inserting the above-mentioned horses into TicketMaker, for $53 you can play a $1.50 all-“A” ticket, a $1 ticket with any combination of three “A” horses and one “B,” and a 50-cent ticket with two “A” horses and two “B” runners.

The “caveman” ticket that was outlined earlier can also be added to create a total cost of $83.