Below is the late Pick 4 ticket at Santa Anita Park on January 13th, 2018. As always the ticket is $20 or less.
Clever Royal (#11, 6-1) ran against much tougher last time out at Aqueduct. East Coast turf form is usually better in general and the horse he lost to by a half length, Next Shares, franked his form when invading California to run 2nd in the Joe Hernandez Stakes. This old pro used to race here and has a win and a second down the hill. Jacobson is good off the claim, but must prove he can win consistently out here. The level and distance of this particular race seem like a great fit for this horse.
Zuri Chop (#3, 4-1) has turned into a hard-knocker at just about any level. He just missed against optional $80,000 foes at Del Mar and is just as effective at 6 1/2 furlongs. With wins in 2 out of his last 4 races, he should be right there on the wire. Corey Nakatani was aboard for those two recent wins, but lands on another entrant in here.
The Critical Way (#4, 20-1) returns to a sprint and picks up Nakatani. It is possible that Corey, who rides at 50% for Mick Ruis, got off of a 4-1 shot to ride this 20-1 dark horse. This gelding has never raced in the claiming ranks and brings a touch of class and upside to this field. He has never tried the turf, but is worth the gamble at this price.
Secreto Primero (#8, 6-1) is another honest gelding in this tough field. He is a bit camera shy, but has been knocking on the door. He might be at his best down the hill, where he has a win, second and third in five tries. The Alfredo Marquez trainee is a must-use in all exotic bets and may finally break through today.
Private Prospect (#7, 4-1) returns in just 6 days, which is a positive sign at this level. He flees the rail and drops in class from $10,000 to $6,250. This horse is one of only two entrants in this 6 furlong race to run as far as the distance of this race last time out. While others are staggering in the final furlong, he should be picking up the pieces.
Ajac (#2, 15-1) was just starting to get good in the summer of 2016 under the care of of Marcelo Polanco before hitting the sideline and being transferred to another trainer. Since switching back to Polanco’s care in October, he has steadily improved in each race. Last time out he defeated Fueled by Bourbon, who is 7/2 in this spot. He can upset this field at a big price with one more move forward.
Lambo Luxx (#10, 5-2) just won for $10,000 and takes a drop to $6,250. While that is not usually a great sign, he will be awfully tough if he is sound. Four of this gelding’s six wins have come at Santa Anita and he is drawn well on the outside. He is tough to trust, but should be included at a short price.
Majestic Heat (#2, 9-5) has been very impressive in her two dirt starts and there is no reason to think that she will not continue her progression in the La Canada Stakes. Champagne Room, who she beat last time, is likely better then anyone she meets in this spot. Single this mare and advance.
Theycallhimthekid (#6, 4-1) and Coastline (#8, 3-1) both take an aggressive drop from the allowance ranks to this $25,000 claimer. Theycallhimthekid has 3 wins and 4 seconds in 11 turf starts and has been facing much tough on the East Coast. Coastline was only 1 3/4 lengths away from winning the Eddie D. down the hill in September and is spotted to win.
Johnny Reb (#10, 5-1) has been freshened off the claim by Jerry Hollendorfer. This gelding just missed at this level in back-to-back synthetic tries at Golden Gate Fields. He is only 2 for 12 over the synthetic, but sports a 3 for 8 record on the turf. He should enjoy the return to the grass from a nice outside draw. Bejarano sticks around for the nightcap to ride this live contender.
$0.50 Pick 4 Ticket: 3,4,8,11 – 2,7,10 – 2 – 6,8,10 = $18