08/12/2006 11:00PM

Saratoga Stakes Play for Sunday, August 13

Email

Sunday's two Saratoga stakes, a pair of statebred turf routes, seem to be dominated by fairly obvious horses, but are surrounded by a pair of interesting races that might combine to make for a somewhat appealing pick-four play. My stretgy will be to put in several tickets using main and backup horses in the hopes of getting at least one longshot into the sequence.

The first leg, race 7, is a seven-furlong race for older maiden fillies with a lot of different wats to go. There are two intriguing firsters - a half-sister to Suva e from Dutrow and a Fusaichi Pegasus filly from Biancone - where one should watch the board and see what kind of action they take. If either comes up completely dead in the betting, they should probably be downgraded. For now, we'll take the two of them along with two have have run: Inda, whose merits are obvious, and Morning Jewel, who had an eventful debut, a sneaky-good finish, and will be a big price.

The second leg is the Irish Linnet for 3-year-old statebred grass fillies and Rewrite is a legitimate odds-on favorite. Still, I don't want to stand alone with her in a big field and there's a case to be made for Itsnotthemoney, who will be four times the price and has done two things Rewrite hasn't - she's beaten open company, and she's run against older stakes fillies. I'll take them both on the main ticket and back up with a couple of bombs as well - lightly-raced Latitude Forty, and Towering Escape, who just might like going a distance on the grass.

The ninth race is the West Point for older statebred grass males and this group takes turns beating one another. I don't see any plausible newcomers to the group and will use the entire quartet of usual suspects - Certifiably Crazy, Dave, Golden Commander and Pa Pa Da.

The finale, a grass claimer for 3-year-olds, has a solid favorite in Armament, first off the claim for dutrow and well drawn at the inside. I'll add Kris Angel, coming off a tough trip, on the main and back up with Desert Quest and Validator.

Our mains and backups look like this:

RaceMainBackup
73,4,5,10---
84,53,8
91,6,9,10---
102,51,3

There are two ways to invest $256 here. The first is to buy a single 4x4x4x4 ticket for $1: 3,4,5,10/3,4,5,8/1,6,9,10/1,2,3,5. This approach gives you every possible permutation but does not discriminate between your more-preferred and less-preferred horses - you're giving the same weight to a Rewrite and a Latitude Forty. So what I usually prefer to do is break it down so I can emphasize the combinations where my preferred main horses win:

$2 pick-four partwheel: 3,4,5,10/4,5/1,6,9,10/2,5=$128

$1 pick-four partwheel: 3,4,5,10/3,8/1,6,9,10/2,5=$ 64

$1 pick-four partwheel: 3,4,5,10/4,5/1,6,9,10/1,3=$64