08/18/2006 11:00PM

Spa Stakes Play for Saturday


The late pick-four at Saratoga Saturday runs through the day's two stakes races, the Yaddo and the Alabama, both of which feature very solid favorites. Let's construct a play that allows one but not both of them to lose.

Race 7: Watch the board to see if any firsters you were planning to use are ice-cold or one you discarded comes up hot. At the moment, I'll plan on going four deep with two firsters and two that have run: Sam P. (4), a Pletcher/Velazquez who emerges from a good race at Churchill; Libertarian (6), a $750k yearling purchase from Darley with an excellent five-furlong gate work; Hostile Takeover(8), who had all sorts of trouble in his debut; and Cap It(10), a well-derawn Zito firster who's a half-brother to Kentucky Derby runner-up Strodes Creek.

Race 8: Sabellina (5) has been mixing it up with Gorella, Pommes Frites and Angara in recent starts and any of those recent performances would drown this field of statebreds in the Yaddo. She's not the most dependable filly in the world, though, so we'll back her up with Finlandia (3), who was just a neck off Sabellina in the Mount Vernon, and On The Bus(8), who won the faster division of last year's split Yaddo.

Race 9: Pine Island (1) is an improving, lightly-raced filly who fits the distance and whose best races may still be ahead. She's a likely winner but there may be some value in ducking second- and third choices Adieu and Wonder Lady Anne L in favor of the versatile Miss Shop (7) and Lemons Forever (3), who could improve at a big price in her return to two-turn racing.

Race 10: Follow My Dream (10) will win as the favorite if she repeats her last race but there are several other intriguing possibilities including out-of-towners Lick the Spoon(3) and Marieval(4), freshened-up Oilily(5) and even in-form longshot Charming Jill(2).

So a $180-unit play might go something like this, starting with a ticket singling both Sabellina and Pine Island, then a ticket backing up Sabellina and then one backing up Pine Island:

$5 pick-four partwheel: 4,6,8,10/5/1/2,3,4,5,10 = $100

$1 pick-four partwheel: 4,6,8,10/3,8/1/2,3,4,5,10 = $40

$1 pick-four partwheel: 4,6,8,10/5/3,7/2,3,4,5,10 =$40

Note that the same $180 could be spent on a single $1 partwheel using all these horses:

$1 pick-four partwheel: 4,6,8,10/3,5,8/1,3,7/2,3,4,5,10 = $180

The question is, do you want $5 rather than $1 worth of it if both Sabellina and Pine Island win, or do you want $1 as opposed to none of it if they both lose?