In the latest edition of our weekly feature with Maryland racing analyst Gabby Gaudet, she plays a Pick 4 and scopes out an intriguing claiming event.
The skinny: It’s a seven-horse field with plenty of speed going 5 1/2 furlongs.
Notably: Four of the seven runners are lined between 2-1 and 4-1.
Gabby’s take: “The long and short of it I think is it’s going to be a pretty lively pace early. I think you need a closer or a horse with tactical speed.”
[boxify cols_use =”3″ cols =”6″ position =”right” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”3″ background_color =”gray” background_opacity =”10″ border_width =”1″ border_color =”blue” border_style =”solid” height =”220″ ]GABBY’S PICK FOUR TICKET
- Race 4 – 1, 2
- Race 5 – 2, 3, 4, 6
- Race 6 – 2, 7, 8
- Race 7 – 3, 5, 6, 9
- Ticket cost ($0.50 unit): $48[/boxify]
SCOPING OUT THE FOURTH[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- The particulars: 4yo and up, 5 1/2 furlongs
- Conditions: Claiming $20,000-$18,000, purse $26,000
- Pace Makes the Race: The field includes three horses that were first at the first call in at least one of their last two races and two others that were second at least once. That could make for a sharp early pace.
- Except when it doesn’t: “Sometimes we handicap these races and think all these horses are fast and will go, but then one of them pops out there and everyone else takes back, and then they walk the dog and go gate to wire,” says Gabby. “So sometimes it’s hard to handicap for pace because you don’t know what the intentions are for some people.”
- Top Selection: #1 Piano Man Ted; Comes from the red-hot Claudio Gonzalez barn and enters off a win in first allowance company… Gonzalez opts for this easier spot rather than the more traditional step up to second allowance company — but, with a horse that three back ran for a nickel, that may be prudent… Ran into a world of trouble two back for $12,500 but closed sharply to be third, a neck back (see video below)… A horse with plenty of early lick, he showed a new ability to stalk in that two-back race. Says Gabby, “He showed he’s not one-dimensional and doesn’t necessarily need the lead…” Bottom line: The favorite enters in sharp form, and if he can work out a trip behind the go-for-broke speed, he can be a handful.
- One to watch: #2 Final Forest; Hugh McMahon trainee enters off four consecutive defeats against better, may find the drop in company appealing… Ran well four back at Monmouth but just missed to be second, and was a rallying fourth in last try, at Charles Town… Deep closing sort will need some help from the early pace… Gabby says, “There’s going to be a nice pace in front of him, and he can rate comfortably and then he comes with a nice closing run. You’re going to get value, and he’s super-consistent…” Bottom line: If the race falls apart, look for this guy to be flying late.
PIANO MAN TED — 11/28/14
In the video below, Piano Man Ted (#1, on the rail in fourth at the start of the video, red silks) is steadied and stalled behind horses in the lane. When a seam finally does open up, he shoots through it and closes nicely to be third. With a clean trip, he probably wins the race, and he did return to win his next start.[su_video url=”https://www.theracingbiz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/pianomantedstretch.mp4.mp4″ poster=”https://www.theracingbiz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/never-8656.jpg” title=”Piano Man Ted finds a world of trouble 11/28/14.” width=”420″]
(Featured image, of Ben’s Cat, by Laurie Asseo.)