08/23/2007 11:00PM

N.Y.-bred races complicate pick four

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - For a few reasons, the Ballerina has always been one of my favorite races at Saratoga.

The two main reasons are Furlough and Pleasant Home, a couple of come-from-the-clouds closers from the Phipps Stable. Furlough became the fifth and most recent Ballerina winner for Shug McGaughey, when she came from Union Avenue to get up in the final stride of the 1999 running and anchored a pick three that salvaged an entire summer. Pleasant Home didn't win in 2005, but rallied valiantly to finish second behind favored Happy Ticket, and the exacta was part of a late-meet push into profitability for the daily Internet bankroll on DRF.com.

I may regret not putting Boca Grande on top in Sunday's 29th running of the Ballerina, but she will be one of three designated "A" horses as we try to take down the late pick four.

Race 7: There is a high degree of difficulty because the Ballerina is surrounded by three New York-bred races, beginning with this maiden sprint.

Among the eight experienced starters, Let's Fly Away (No. 7) is the only one who has managed to surpass a Beyer Speed Figure of 50 on dirt this year, and she did it despite a tough trip opening week in her first start since April. She is one of the keys.

Either of the first-time starters in the field, Satin Queen (No. 8) and Intrique (No. 9), could find this a soft spot. Intrique is from Gallagher's Stud and Tom Bush, who developed Rahys' Appeal into a stakes winner on turf and dirt. She is the second key.

Pennylove (No. 5) was beaten a combined 35 lengths in two starts last winter, but eventual stakes winner Talking Treasure was in both of those fields. She returns with blinkers on for Rick Schosberg, whose first 16 starters at the meet produced 10 exacta finishes.

Race 8: The second leg could well be my undoing if the results of New York-bred turf sprints continue to defy explanation, as was the case with Judge's Pride ($67.50) on Thursday and Autumn of My Years ($75.50) on Friday.

A handful of these are running back on short rest, and the form of most is erratic at best. I'm going to key a fresh face in Burn One Turn One (No. 10), and take back-ups with That'll Do (No. 1), Highly Spoken (No. 5), and Beneath the Crown (No. 9).

Race 9: Boca Grande (No. 5) and Baroness Thatcher (No. 6) ran well in the Test, and back in the day it was commonplace for such 3-year-olds to come right back against older in the Ballerina. Along with those two, the third key is Burmilla (No. 10). She set a slow pace in the Honorable Miss, but the flip side is she finished strongly, and she seems well suited to a long sprint.

Three-time Grade 1 winner Pussycat Doll (No. 2), might have been an "A" had she not drawn inside. She's also coming back on very short rest and her biggest wins (and biggest figures) have all come with lots of time between starts.

A potential bust-out at 20-1 on the morning line is Cherokee Jewel (No. 9), who shipped to the Spa from Monmouth Park last year and put up the two best races of her life. She makes her third start back from a layoff for Tim Hills, who has a pair of wins at double-digit mutuels here this summer.

Race 10: Juror (No. 2) is the key, while Logic Way (No. 7) and In the Spotlight (No. 8) are the back-ups.

Juror ran second in both of his two previous turf races - in England and Dubai - and the Godolphin Stable-owned colt is meeting New York-breds in his U.S. debut.

Putting in one ticket, 4x4x5x3, would require covering 240 combinations. To economize without whittling away a potential good-priced winner, I'll construct a play that insists at least two key horses - any two - get home. That trims the cost to $136, with 11 tickets:

Ticket No. 1: 7, 9 / 10 / 5, 6, 10 / 2

Ticket No. 2: 7, 9 / 10 / 5, 6, 10 / 7, 8

Ticket No. 3: 7, 9 / 10 / 5, 6, 10 / 2

Ticket No. 4: 7, 9 / 1, 5, 9 / 5, 6, 10 / 2

Ticket No. 5: 5, 8 / 10 / 5, 6, 10 / 2

Ticket No. 6: 5, 8 / 10 / 5, 6, 10 / 7, 8

Ticket No. 7: 7, 9 / 1, 5, 9 / 5, 6, 10 / 7, 8

Ticket No. 8: 7, 9 / 10 / 2, 9 / 7, 8

Ticket No. 9: 5, 8 / 10 / 2, 9 / 2

Ticket No.10: 7, 9 / 1, 5, 9 / 2, 9 /2

Ticket No. 11: 5, 8 / 1, 5, 9 / 5, 6, 10 / 2