08/07/2006 12:00AM

Saratoga stakes plays for Monday, August 7


I'm usually not much of a late-double player unless I'm already dead in the late pick three and pick four, but today at Saratoga that's the bet I'm using to play the Hall of Fame Stakes for 3-year-old turfers.

The reason? Race 7, the first leg of the late pick three and second leg of the late pick four, is a turf sprint I'm finding very difficult. I'll try to find a way to get through it in the pick six, using as many as possible while shaving my ticket elsewhere, but it's my weakest link on the card and I'm not getting involved in it a second time.

I don't have any argument with favored After Market in the Hall of Fame but I don't think he's any kind of a cinch either so I'm going three deep in the first half of the late double. I'll use Brilliant, a colt we may not have seen the best of yet, and the Galantas-Green Lemon entry as well. They'd be my third and fourth choices but they're 10-1 on the morning line despite getting two for the price of one.

In the finale, I'll go four deep: Prideland, Edge Road, Notable Tiger and Lively Yourself Up.

So for each $12 invested, it's a $1 double partwheel: 1,2,7/2,6,7,10.

Granted, an After Market-Edge Road double might barely get you back $12 for $1, but I think something more interesting could happen in one leg or the other. And if it does, I don't want to have sacrificed the opportunity to take advantage because of a stab at the difficult 7th race, much as I generally prefer the pick three and pick four to the double.