10/27/2009 11:00PM

Large fields add to pick-four challenge


LEXINGTON, Ky. - You could cover every 50-cent combination in the late pick four Friday at Keeneland for a mere $8,712, which would result in a healthy profit if you could somehow catch the kind of lightning that struck here a week ago, when a 50-cent winner returned $16,627.

Of course, you'd pretty much need all the favorites to go down the tubes, just as they did last Friday. It's a distinct possibility that they could again, what with respective fields (including entries) of 11, 12, 11, and 12 having been assembled for races 7-10, the sequence for which Keeneland and co-sponsor TVG have guaranteed a late pick-four pool of $200,000 every Friday at the fall meet.

Races 7 and 9 are two of the three allowances carded on this second-to-last program of the 17-day meet, and as you might expect, the pickings aren't very easy.

The seventh is a $54,000 second-level turf sprint that could have Escrow, a highly consistent 4-year-old, go postward as a slight favorite despite the fact none of his 16 starts has come on grass.

"He's got some turf pedigree on the bottom side, and I'm thinking he'll really take to it," said trainer Al Stall Jr., who has some 45 horses stabled at Fair Grounds, where the 2009-10 meet starts next Friday, Nov. 6. "I sure hope so, anyway, because they'll run a lot of turf sprints in New Orleans this winter."

The ninth is a $52,000 first-level turf marathon with all kinds of logical choices, including Crusin'nthebridle, Doctor Carina, Proud Lisa, and Million Seller. Of those, Cruisin'nthebridle may be sent away the favorite, considering the way she has progressed in recent starts for trainer Mike Maker.

One of the longshots in the ninth is Krista's Quick Chic, from the same connections - owner Jerry Jamgotchian, trainer Eric Reed, and jockey Leandro Goncalves - that won the Grade 2 Raven Run here last Saturday with Satans Quick Chick, a 23-1 shot.

The other two races in the late pick four Friday are a maiden-special Polytrack sprint (race 8) and a $10,000 claimer (race 10).

One other allowance, which also carries an $80,000 claiming option, is carded earlier Friday as race 4. Gran Estreno, Jamaludin, and Vacation look like the top contenders in that $56,000 Poly race at 1 1/16 miles. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.