The Pizza Man Key Ingredient To Arlington Million Preview Day All-Stakes Pick 4

by Ed DeRosa

I promise that the headline is the only The Pizza Man pun in this blog. Besides, how could I top that one?

OK, seriously, I'm done.

Anyway, there are three Pick 4 sequences on Arlington Million Preview Day on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse, and is offering a 10% winner’s bonus (up to $500 per sequence) on all of them, but we’ll focus on the all-stakes mid Pick 4 that Arlington has guaranteed at $100,000 (if all races stay on the turf).

The four stakes in this sequence correspond to the biggest races on Arlington Million day in five weeks: Arlington Handicap (leg 1, race 7) as prep for the Arlington Million, Stars And Stripes Stakes (leg 2, race 8) as prep for the American St. Leger, American Derby (leg 3, race 9) as prep for the Secretariat Stakes, and the Modesty Handicap (leg 4, race 10) as prep for the Beverly D. Stakes.

The all-stakes sequence begins at 4:55 p.m. ET, and the back half of that Pick 4 (American Derby-Modesty) is the first half of the Late Pick 4 that concludes with race 12 (the other Pick 4 on the card, is the early Pick 4 that begins with race 2).

The Arlington Handicap is the shortest field in the sequence, but the most difficult to separate contenders, as only #6 Infinite Magic is a true toss for me with #4 Avanzare the least interesting of the logical choices.

That leaves top choices #1 Admiral Kitten (last year’s Secretariat Stakes winner) and #2 War Dancer (who skipped the Secretariat in favor of the Travers Stakes after winning the now-on-hiatus Virginia Derby) and middle shots #3 Mister Mardi Gras and #5 Finnegans Wake as the remaining contenders.

I’ll use them all, but am intrigued more by Mister Mardi Gras, who is cross-entered in the Stars And Stripes but is more likely for this spot, and Finnegans Wake, who I am convinced can win a big race at a big price eventually. Neither alternative is formidable enough to chuck the top two choices, but neither are they a pair I want to lean on, so it’s 1, 2, 3, 5 to kick things off.

The Stars And Stripes at 1 ½ miles is the longest race in the sequence and is the only prep race not run at the same distance as its counterpart in five weeks (the St. Leger is 1 11/16 miles) and that has a better grade than the race it’s a prep for (the Stars And Stripes is a Grade 3 while the St. Leger is only a listed stakes. The other three stakes on Million day are all Grade 1 affairs).

The Stars And Stripes is also one of two races in the sequence in which a native child has a big shot at the big prize. #7 The Pizza Man is an Illinois bred and is a single for me here. Not in the lead-pipe cinch style of singles where you think the horse has a 75%+ chance of winning and you sort of treat it as a win bet, but in the sense that this is the most likely winner in a deep field that if I didn’t only use him I’d want to use at least five more horses, and I’d just rather be deeper elsewhere.

The Pizza Man ran in this race last year and closed well for third, and hopefully he’ll be a little closer to the pace this time while still in the early part of his form cycle second off the layoff. If you're live in Let 8 Ride, I'd feel comfortable letting it ride on The Pizza Man.

I have a similar view of the American Derby as the Arlington Handicap: the top contenders make sense and wouldn’t shock me, but I can’t lean on them and will go deep. If The Pizza Man wins and the sequence chalks out then I’ll hope to break even. If I can get a horse like Finnegans Wake and Highball home with him then we’re dancing.

That said, if pressed, I’d make #2 Divine Oath my top choice in the American Derby, stretching out and getting a top local jock for this one. I prefer him to morning line favorite #4 Schoolofhardrocks who I won’t not use but is good as any other in here.

#3 Hightail at 8-to-1 is the most interesting price to me. A graded stakes stretching out in third career start is a tall order, but at least we’re being compensated, and we know the connections (trainer Wayne Catalano/jockey Alan Garcia) are capable. He came home in under 36 seconds in the maiden victory with a final eighth around 11 seconds, so he can motor. 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10

The Modesty is a skull buster in which more than half the field deserves serious consideration, and as of right now morning line favorite #6 Tabreed is in, but morning line second choice #4 Gulsary is out.

From a value perspective, though, another Illinois bred a la The Pizza Man caught my eye in #5 Kepi, who certainly would be worth her 10-to-1 morning line price. She’s undefeated in two starts this year, and her last off-the-turf may have been the best of her career. Three starts in five weeks is a little tight, but when you’re going good sometimes you keep on going, and the distance shouldn’t be an issue. #9 Ana Luisa returns to turf for trainer Todd Pletcher, who always merits consideration when going turf-to-dirt with a fast workout two back as this one had in late June at Saratoga. Her group form in Brazil should fit with these, though the distance could test.

THE PLAY: 1, 2, 3, 5 with 7 with 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 with 5, 6, 9, 13, 14 ($60)



Leave a Comment:


To begin with congratulations on the new arrivals. I am a big fan and look forward to your Friday appearances on At The Races. Although I have never knowingly wagered on any of your selections I do enjoy listening to your opinion and have great respect for your perspectives especially in light of your young age. I don't even use Brisnet but am familiar with same. I do preach to friends to listen to Ed Derosa especially those in early stages of learning.

Okay, that out of the way let's get to your analysis (and mine) of the all stakes Pick 4 races.

7th The Arlington Handicap

I agree with shortfield except how to separate. Since I am an enthusiastic non-spreader, I'll just use the 2,3 and 5 and throw out the #1 as will be overbet I think and don't care for bad tilt in box score.

8th Stars and Stripe

# 3 Suntracer even with bad tilt because in the Louisville Handicap he went 23.26 inside and 22.70 outside. Then started back working after two weeks with two black type 5F works. A 'promises', 'promises' horse

that normally I'd stay clear of but taking a stand that Block has him ready for best. My price shot will be with # 9 O'Prado Ole just because he didn't flatten and finished in 29.45 after backing off pace and racing wide. Just a hidden Dale Romans play.

8th Race American Derby

With the previous two blah and no win betting races we are down to the meet and potatos.

# 10 AFORTABLE closed after slow pace making big move and finishing in 28.35 on good turf. This horse needs to be 7-1 or more because of bad post but I think he will explode, improve and win this race especially with a fast pace setup by the # 4 and # 7. Watch the video replay.....plenty of plus side.

10th Race Modesty Handicap

# 7 DANCE AGAIN will be my only other win wager of the day. Again the replay points out 23.60 inside and continued on to 29.70. Overcame being major league blocked and did win in hand. A 'Z' pattern and 3rd after layoff. She may come in under radar from Woodbine nd may be best price opportunity od Saturday anywhere. Husbands can't make the weight and Garcia very capable. The Bomb of the day !

So my 'no spread', no ABCD Crist, Pick 4 is just

2,3,5 with 3,9 with 10 with 7. Spreading ain't my game as ruinous to ROI but narrows can be fun :-)

Good luck and let's hope the rain stays away.

Keep up the good work.

11 Jul 2014 11:25 PM

Ed, Micahdog,

I too love your work.

There is always a winning ticket in your pick4 and sometimes multiple times. I am kind of in the middle. I do not like spreading for the reasons Micahdog stated but I try to find one horse that could win because of bad starts, traffic problems or  stuff that happens that we can 't handicap.

With that in mind my P 4 is.

1-2 W 7 W 2-10 W 5-6-7-14

Good luck and keep posting!

12 Jul 2014 9:02 AM

My savor bet is a $ 20.00 Exacta  in Race 8 Suntracer/Mister Marti over the  Pizzaman and a $10 Tri

Pizzaman over those 2.

7 W 2/3 W 2/3

12 Jul 2014 9:24 AM

The Pizza Man was awesome. Great selection. Micahdog eats humble pie. Slow pace in turf races just afforded diminished opportunity to get a price. Nice key Mr Derosa !  

13 Jul 2014 11:47 AM

Nice hit in the pick four, Ed DeRosa! Great job!

13 Jul 2014 1:44 PM

Thanks, everyone... we're on a nice little run here. Keep it going for Del Mar/Saratoga?!!

14 Jul 2014 10:05 AM

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