Updated on 09/17/2011 11:46PM

Premier Pick 4 preview


The Premier Pick 4 on Saturday features:

Race 7: Oaklawn
Race 8: Keeneland
Race 9: Keeneland
Race 9: Oaklawn

Morner looks like a strong value play in the first leg of the pick four, the Instant Racing Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn. The daughter of Broken Vow consistently reaches Beyer Speed Figures in the 80s, and she attempted to go gate-to-wire over a closer-biased track in the Honeybee on March 25. She chased next-out winner White She Devil two starts back, and should find a good forward spot going into the first turn of the Instant Racing. Listed at 10-1 odds on the morning line, Morner gives some zing to the pick four ticket. Coronado's Vision figures to improve in the second start of the form cycle, and she has the speed to be a dangerous pace factor. She just missed in the Grade 3 Bourbonette last time out over Polytrack, and looms the class of the field. Gasia would benefit if the race falls apart from a pace standpoint. She is very comfortable over this track, and is coming off a career-best effort. She's lightly-raced, and may still have some upside.

The Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland features a full field of sprinters, and looks like the best betting race of the pick four sequence. Crafty Schemer was claimed for only $16,000 last October by Ben Feliciano Jr., but soon rolled off a 6-4-2-0 record for his new connections. He takes a big step up in class on Saturday, but couldn't have won any easier in his most recent start at Laurel, and deserves a shot at the big boys. Kazoo didn't gallop out well after going gate-to-wire in the Toboggan over the Aqueduct inner track last time, but he did defeat a pair of next-out winners that day, and has proven to be a nice $75,000 claim for Richard Dutrow Jr. He shows a bullet five furlong workout for this, and a repeat of that 107 Tobaggan Beyer would put him right there at the finish. Kelly's Landing washed out before dominating optional claimers at Gulfstream in his first start of the year. The Grade 3 winner owns a win over this surface, and shouldn't be ignored. Sun King has disappointed of late, but gets plenty of pace to attack in this spot, and Nick Zito has been on fire at Keeneland. Mister Fotis loves seven furlongs, and should be rolling late.

The Blue Grass is the third leg of the pick four, and Strong Contender may be the horse to beat. The undefeated son of Maria's Mon was very impressive thrashing allowance runners at Gulfstream, and although he hasn't raced since late February, has displayed a great deal of ability. He has enough speed to park himself just off the pace, and he may get first run on the field turning for home. Bluegrass Cat failed as the chalk in the Tampa Bay Derby behind subsequent Wood Memorial disappointment Deputy Glitters, but he reportedly threw a shoe that day. He now makes the important third start of the form cycle with improving Beyers on display, and has the stalking ability to sit a nice pace-tracking, ground-saving trip for top connections. First Samurai exits a slow Fountain of Youth, and he didn't gallop out all that well after the race. His tactical speed puts him in the hunt from the opening bell, but the nine furlong distance remains a question mark.

Lawyer Ron figures to be a prohibitive favorite in the final leg of the pick four, the Arkansas Derby. He has dominated the sophomore stakes series at Oaklawn over the spring, but may have been aided by a closers-biased track in the Rebel. Steppenwolfer has displayed some ability this year, and figures to appreciate the added distance. High Cotton bled in his 2006 debut, but came through with a solid win in the Rushaway over Polytrack last time. Red Raymond suffered from a tough trip in the Rebel. Simon Pure may try and steal this race on the front end. New Joysey Jeff draws a cozy inside post, and has faced some good runners out in Southern California. He may be the one to pull off a big surprise.

Pick four ticket:

Leg A: Morner

Leg B: Crafty Schemer, Kazoo, Kelly's Landing

Leg C: Bluegrass Cat, Strong Contender, First Samurai

Leg D: Steppenwolfer, High Cotton, Lawyer Ron, Red Raymond, Simon Pure, mutuel field.

The ticket is 1 x 3 x 3 x 6 = $54 investment.