On Track With Johnny D: Santa Anita Saturday Late Pick 4 Analysis & Selections

Xpressbet and 1ST BET continue to offer a daily sweetener to account holders who hit Santa Anita’s Late Pick 4 and are registered for a $2,000 bonus. For the most part, these added-money kisses aren’t life-changing scores, you’ll still need to find those in the main arena, but who doesn’t mind a little extra cash?


For example, last week’s payoffs and bonuses look like this:


Friday, Oct. 15 (Wager Paid $132.50) 83 winners earned an additional $22.47 each

Saturday, Oct. 16 (Wager Paid $217.20) 46 winners earned an additional $43.48 each

Sunday, Oct. 17 (Wager Paid $6,001.55) 2 winners earned an additional $1,000 each


Not bad, not bad at all.


Of course, the real trick is to first hit the wager. And, as you can tell by last Sunday’s numbers, that’s not always an easy road to travel. Nice to know that, if you’re right, there’s an added bonus waiting at the finish.


You know you’re going to play the Late Pick 4 at Santa Anita. Why not register for the $2,000 bonus and collect a little more cash if you’re right? Registration is a snap, do it once and you’re covered for the entire season.


Below is one man’s attempt at guiding account holders toward successful Saturday Santa Anita Late Pick 4 plays. Hopefully, you’ll be able to pluck an informative gem or two from the horse-by-horse analysis. Analysis is designed to permit players to grasp reasoning behind each horse’s pros or cons.


On the sport’s larger scale, Breeders’ Cup looms large just a few weeks from today. You can be certain that Xpressbet experts are burning the midnight oil in anticipation of delivering players a fun and informative edition of the Breeders’ Cup Wagering Guide. Stay tuned for information regarding guide availability online and free from Xpressbet!


Race 6 Santa Anita

Allowance Optional Claiming $50k

Fillies & Mares Three Years Old & Upward

Six Furlongs


#1 Big Sweep won 3 of her first 5 races, including 2 state-bred stakes races. That all was at 2. At 3, she’s been close a couple of times at around this level. She continues to produce fast Beyer Speed Figures and will be a short price in here. She has failed as favorite in 2 of 3 2021 starts and must flee the challenging rail post position going six furlongs at Santa Anita. Perhaps, contemporaries have caught up to her in maturity? The main challenge for anyone attempting to beat her is that she’s just faster than everyone else. She tries, takes money every time, deserves respect and may just be the best of a so-so bunch.


#2 Maxim Strider has been gone a year since finishing sixth in the grassy Surfer Girl at one mile in her second race. She won maiden first out going five furlongs on turf by closing from just off the pace. Trainer Miller is 18% with runners off long layoffs. She will race with Lasix for the first time in her switch to the dirt.


#3 Honor America has been off since Feb when last in the Gr. 3 Las Virgines at one mile at Santa Anita. Before that she broke maiden in her second career start at six furlongs. She has some speed and ought to be in the early mix. Trainer Shelbe Ruis has good stats from limited tries in bringing runners back from layoffs.


#4 Founder’s Day did her best to be a close second last out at Los Alamitos. She finished two lengths in front of #5 Queengol that afternoon. That was her third and best effort for new trainer Bob Hess since coming from Churchill Downs. Was that race a preview of things to come or her very best not likely to be immediately repeated? Victor Espinoza replaces Van Dyke in the irons. The latter moves to #3 Honor America.


#5 Queengol was tried in 3 stakes races out of her first 4 starts and she managed 2 second placings. Off January to August, she’s started 3 times at about this level and hasn’t done a lot. She’s been out finished by #1 Big Sweep in two of those and by #4 Founder’s Day in the other. Interesting that Prat takes over today and he’s 28% for Sadler over a 32-race sample. A second-best of 22 half-mile blowout for this helps the cause.


#6 Full of Grace is a 5-year-old new face on the SoCal circuit. She was claimed last out for $20k at Canterbury. Connections appear to be looking for a suitable spot and offer her up for $50k in here.


Best on Paper: #1

Reaches: #4, #5


Race 7 Santa Anita

Lure Stakes

Three-Year-Olds & Upward

One Mile (Turf)


#1 Neptune’s Storm is a 5-year-old gelding who loves Santa Anita turf (4 for 11) and the distance on the lawn (5 for 11). He’s faced top competition for much of his career and usually run well when facing lower than Gr. 2 company. He comes out of the mile and one-quarter Gr. 2 John Henry Turf Cup where he was close to the early pace and faded. That race was Oct. 2, so he should be fitter for the effort and appreciate the return to his favorite distance and the class drop. He’s the one to beat but we doubt top jock Prat will be able to ‘walk the dog’ on the front end in here. There’s other speed that could make his job difficult. Still, he’s best on paper.


#2 Order and Law is the kind of project trainer Mike Maker does well with—an older horse claimed and trained to win a stakes race… somewhere. This one was taken two back for $80k and pitched in the Gr. 2 City of Hope where he finished last. This is a better spot for the ridgeling, but his front-running style may not comfortably fit this race. He’s just 1 for 9 on SA turf and 2 for 10 at the distance on the lawn. Maker’s a magician with this kind but maybe later.


#3 Shooters Shoot is a 4-year-old gelding who will try turf for the first time and race around two turns for the fifth time. Following back-to-back wins in his first four starts, this guy was 20-1 in the Santa Anita Derby where he set the early pace and faded to a well-beaten fifth. He’s tried a couple of sprint stakes and was second in the Gr. 2 Triple Bend at Santa Anita in May. It appears connections are still trying to figure out what this guy wants to do and a mile on grass is the latest guess.


#4 Lambeau is a 5-year-old who’s made just 8 career starts. Good news is that at that pace he’s not burned out. Bad news is that it means trainer Shirreffs has had a difficult time getting this one to the races for 3 wins. The intact horse will try turf for just the second time. His first out over the lawn was a poor race in his first career start and that can be forgiven. He’s a speedster who ought to heat up the early pace. Lots of guess work as to whether this one can handle the weeds. Probably will make him beat us.


#5 Dubby Dubbie is a 6-year-old who won his last start in August at Del Mar. He went wire-to-wire to take a $40k claiming race off an extended layoff for trainer John Sadler. These are tougher and there is other speed in here. He has been versatile in his career with his last 4 wins coming at 4 different tracks over synthetic and turf courses.


#6 Majestic Eagle is a 6-year-old that has finished second in every other race for 6 starts since last October when he was second in this very race! He’s just 3 for 31, lifetime, 2 for 16 at Santa Anita and 1 for 13 at the distance on turf. On the other hand, he has a very healthy 7 and 5 seconds, respectively, in those categories.


Pace-Challenged Best: #1

Melt Down Special: #6


Race 8 Santa Anita

Allowance Optional Claiming $50k

Three Year Olds & Upward

One Mile & One-Sixteenth


#1 Willy the Cobbler has done his best running at Los Al and Del Mar but has a runner-up finish at Santa Anita. He has little speed in a race without much pace. He was optimistically placed in the Shared Belief Stakes two back and that didn’t go well. He was third at about this level last out but 18 lengths behind the winner after a wide trip.


#2 Divine Armor is a 4-year-old with no speed in a pace-less race. He has just 1 win in 9 starts but has 6 other in-the-money finishes. He keeps coming at the end of races and has been third and second, respectively, to runaway winners in his last two races. Count on him to gain another slice of the purse.


#3 Synthesis finished second, beaten just a head Sept. 17, so he’s in acceptable form. He has the best Beyer Speed Figures in the race and also should enjoy a pace advantage. He’s won 3 of 8 races at the distance. He was claimed for $32k by current connections and he’s been cleverly managed. He always is well bet and should be again in this race. He’s the one to beat.


#4 Barbwire is an interesting lightly raced 3-year-old colt from the Richard Baltas barn. He’s got room to improve off a Maiden score in early Sept. Top jock Prat retains the mount and they should be sitting just off pacesetter #3 Synthesis. A bullet best-of-39 five-furlong work at San Luis Rey in :59 1/5 announces that this one is the major threat to the top choice.


#5 Family Biz is a 5-year-old gelding making his first start at Sant Anita. He’s won 6 of 35 races with the majority of his success coming on the New York circuit. Two tries in Cali haven’t produced much.


#6 Jack Sprout has 2 wins and they both came on turf. Even if he handles dirt, he’ll need to go faster than he has before.


#7 Touchdown Brown is a 3-year-old with plenty of stakes experience—6 out of 8 races were for added money, including 4 against fellow Cal-breds. The gelding’s in decent form and won his most recent race—a state-bred Allowance/$20k optional claimer. This is a step up the class ladder but, perhaps, trainer Brian Korner and jockey Kent Desormeaux have found the key to him?


Best Chances: #3, #4

Next: #7


Race 9 Santa Anita

Maiden Special Weight

Fillies Two Years Old

Six Furlongs (Turf)


#1 Silent Beauty did not finish in front of anyone in her first race at five furlongs. She’ll add blinkers and try again with Baze aboard.


#2 Booze Runner improved for trainer Eric Kruljac in her first start for the trainer. She showed good speed and faded going five furlongs. That race should do her some good and Desormeaux replaces Frey in the saddle. Still, she’ll need to make substantial improvement again. Not impossible.


#3 Lonely On Top is a first-time starter by Big Brown for Doug O’Neil. She has a couple of notable five furlong works—3 of them at San Luis Rey and 1 at Santa Anita. O’Neill has 2 runners in the body of the race and one on the Also Eligible list. She deserves some consideration.


#4 Vulin makes a second start for Richard Baltas. She beat just 2 others at 2.80-1 in her first out at one mile on turf. Top jock Prat rode her that day. He moves to #12 Urban for this race and Rispoli will take over. Blinkers go on and that could wake this filly up a bit. She’s worked steadily for this since her disappointing first out. She’s a bit of a guess in here but the money she took in her first start with Prat pings the radar.


#5 Shoppingforpharoah is a first-time starter for Jonathan Wong. She’s a daughter of American Pharoahwith some decent moves for this start. She’s trained at Golden Gate and Santa Anita and the trainer is 23% with first-time starters, most of those stats accumulated at the ‘Gate.


#6 Ayellowroseoftexas makes her second start for trainer Peter Miller and he’s top notch in that situation at 27%. She beat just 1 first out at 28-1. A move to turf could help but she’ll really have to turn it around. Trainer’s stats best endorsement.


#7 English Meadow made a first start at Emerald Downs and now is trained by Alana Greenfield. She would surprise with a strong race.


#8 Tonito’s is one of 2 (3 including Also Eligibles) trained by Doug O’Neill. Like #3 Lonely On Top, this filly shows a few interesting five-furlong workouts. The former has a bit more impressive work tab than the latter but Tonito’s brought $90k as a 2-year-old.


#9 Miss Mattie B switches to turf after a pair of dirt sprints. The daughter of Tonalist will need to improve on grass to threaten and we don’t see it.


#10 Kjos Kid is a first-time starter and one of 2 starters for Richard Baltas. She has an OK series of works but nothing special.


#11 One Arrow is a daughter of Munnings that starts first time for trainer Neil Drysdale, a Hall of Fame member not known for having runners cranked to win first time out.


#12 Urban is the one to beat off a pair of late-running efforts—one at five furlongs and the other at one mile, both on turf. Her last start was in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar. Top jock Prat moves to her saddle. That’s important because, from the 12-post position, Prat will need to use all of his skills to get this one successfully rolling from behind. A bullet, best-of-23 five-furlong workout Oct. 17 reinforces this one’s bona fides.


#13 She’s So Shiny must draw into the race. If she does, she’ll add early spice to the mix, based on the speed she’s shown in four previous dirt sprints.


One to Beat: #12

Fillies of Interest: #3, #4, #8


$5.00 Pick 4 ($30)

Race 6: #1,

Race 7: #1, #3, #6

Race 8: #3, #4

Race 9: #12


$.50 Pick 4 ($36)

Race 6: #1, #4, #5

Race 7: #1, #6

Race 8: #3, #4, #7

Race 9: #3, #4, #8, #12


Race On!

On Track With Johnny D: Santa Anita Saturday Late Pick 4 Analysis & Selections

On Track with Johnny D |