November 30, 2023

The Jerome Bet Is to catch longshots elsewhere in the Pick 4

Takaful breaking his maiden at Belmont Park with Jose Ortiz. Photo by Robert Mauhar/Adam Coglianese Photography

As a Pick 4 player, the question surrounding the Jerome Stakes today at Aqueduct is how much are you willing to lean on Takaful in an otherwise-tricky sequence that begins a bottom-level open claimer, continues with an entry-level allowance for New York-breds and concludes with a higher end maiden claimer.

For FREE Jerome Stakes PPs, click here; for all Aqueduct handicapping information, click here.

It’s a tough question because at his morning line (even money) Takaful is an underlay, but those odds are to win. He’ll be used heavily in multiple-race wagers, too, of course, but with the first two legs being full fields, there is potential opportunity to separate ourselves from the Takaful pack.

In the first leg, #2 Mighty Zealous was an ATM at Finger Lakes for previous connections and now returns to the NYRA circuit albeit at a lower class. If the mid 80s Speed Ratings translate downstate, then he’s a major player here at 8-to-1 especially given the post, ability to rate, and speed to run at. #8 Sing the Dream had an excuse in his last and could surprise at 12-to-1 morning line.

In leg 2, #7 Head Shrinker is the only starter with multiple triple-digit E2 Pace Ratings–a good sign of ability to accelerate after rating behind speed early. At 8-to-1 that’s enough to include on all tickets. #11 Bee Noteworthy is eligible for the condition despite having four wins from seven starts. At 20-to-1 she’s worth inclusion.

The Jerome is between Takaful and El Areeb. The latter is more likely to be the value in the win pool, but I’d be cutting off my nose to spite my face not to use Takaful with horses like Mighty Zealous and Head Shrinker.

The nightcap is hurt by scratches, but #8 Samurai Warrior at 2-to-1 on the morning line could go even lower now with the scratches and is a more vulnerable favorite than Takaful, as either #6 Kid Sadove could improve second out after a trouble debut or #7 Emoticon stretches out off the claim and getting Lasix for Bruce Levine.

Race 5, $1 grand slam 6, 7 with 2, 8 with 3, 7, 9, 11 with 3 ($16)

  • The thought here is that there are no favorites on the ticket. It’s a bit of a gamble because if favorites hit then your payout is still depressed, but it’s a fun way to take a $16 stab at turning a 4-to-5 into a 9-to-1

Race 6, $0.50 Pick 4 2, 8 with 3, 7, 9, 11 with 3 with 6, 7 ($8), and 2, 8 with 3, 7, 9, 11 with 3, 6 with 6, 7 ($16)

We’ll also take a look at the double will pays involving the horses we’re using in the Pick 4. Anything over $100 without Takaful and $20 with him is going to be the general guideline.