His three rivals enter with six-figure earnings and are all graded stakes winners, but making his local stakes debut with just a pair of allowance wins to his credit, 7-to-5 favorite from Betfair Hollywood Park's morning line Chief Havoc is a virtual cinch to lead every step of the 1 1/8-miles on Cushion Track in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes (Grade 2) for three-year-olds.
To say that Chief Havoc is lone speed is to understate the fact that his front-running style is the polar opposite of the other three that launch their runs from far, far back. It would be a surprise if the son of Giant’s Causeway didn't open up a double-digit length lead down the back side and turn this procession into a glorified workout.
Even without the pace advantage, Chief Havoc is imposing in this spot as an improving colt that earned a field-high 101 Beyer in his last. After beginning his career with a pair of solid underneath finishes in Great Britain, the Kentucky-bred that fetched $325,000 at auction as a yearling disappointed in his first two U.S. starts that spanned from last October’s Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park to a maiden race at Santa Anita in March before reeling off a pair of wins and a runner-up effort in a trio of allowance races.
Java’s War ships west for the first time as the 9-to-5 second choice with more than $672,000 in earnings, thanks to a win in the Bluegrass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in April and an additional pair of underneath finishes in graded stakes. The War Pass colt has been at least 13 lengths off the pace in each of his three tries this year and was last seen passing six runners to finish 13 th after being dead last early in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
The Cal-bred that could brings earnings of more than $420,000 to the party with 2-to-1 third choice Tiz a Minister looking to build off his first win against open company in last month’s Affirmed Handicap (G3). In each of his five tries this year, the Ministers Wild Cat colt has also trailed the leaders by at least 13 lengths before unleashing furious rallies to win twice and land in third on two occasions.
Since moving to the main track for his last three starts, Dice Flavor has spotted the leaders at least 10 lengths each time, beginning by rolling to a clear win in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields in February. Since then, the Scat Daddy colt was a non-factor when shipping half way around the world for the UAE Derby (Group 2) in Dubai before returning to finish fourth in the Affirmed.
We’re off to the races!
Late Pick 4
Leg 1 – Race 6 (3,5,6) – No. 14 Princess of Pearl has lost three times at short odds already, and parked breaking from the grand stand should find things most difficult, so instead we’ll use the trio of No. 3 Ginger Tap, No. 5 Winning Rhythm and No. 6 Smooth Talker.
Leg 2 – Race 7 (1,2,3,4,5,7) – No. 6 Mandelieu should not be allowed to compete in this race, so we’ll use the other six that have never won twice.
Leg 3 – Race 8 (1,3,5) – No. 5 Et Tu Walker has blossomed into a turf sprint stud for Doug O’Neill and could be stakes bound next if he can make it a perfect 4-for-4 at the meet.
No. 1 El Mirage King ran huge off a long layoff and just needs a little better finish today to hold on at the wire.
No. 3 Tones is the “other” O’Neill and makes his four-year-old debut after some solid stakes tries last year.
Leg 4 – Race 9 (5,6,9) – No. 5 Exponentially rates a shot for connections that don’t win around these parts off a decent enough debut. No. 6 Mosso drops out of one of the better maiden allowance heats at the meet, and No. 9 Lapua can run them down late on debut.
Recap – (3,5,6) w (1,2,3,4,5,7) w (1,3,5) w (5,6,9) Total cost of ticket = $81
Sunday’s Result – (-$240)
Total for current Hollywood Park meet – (-$3,256.30)
Total from 12/26/10 – 4/21/13 – (-$3,662.45)
Leg 1 – Race 1 (ALL) – No. 5 Market Quote has been beaten at short odds in her last two, and we’ll hope that happens again as we use all six to start the week.
Leg 2 - Race 2 (1,5,6,7) – Four deep in this bottom-level maiden claimer with No. 1 Bas, No. 5 Taffeta Disaster, No. 6 Liar Liar Liar and No. 7 My Pal Ariana.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (3) – It’s always a little dicey when everyone sees a race the same way, but sometimes you just have to roll with it, and No. 3 Chief Havoc should crush at odds much lower than the 7-to-5 on the morning line.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (4,5,6) – No. 4 Unkept Rendez Vous should shake loose on the lead dropping in class in an otherwise paceless race.
No. 5 Town Belle and No. 6 Cee’s the Year have solid form over Cushion Track, competing at similar class levels.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (3,5,9,11,12) – A full field of bottom-level sprint claimers, where we spread with No. 3 Shediak, No. 5 Bluegrass Reward, No. 9 Marine Fog, No. 11 Baron Von Red and No. 12 Honour Family.
Recap – (ALL) w (1,5,6,7) w (3) w (4,5,6) w (3,5,9,11,12) – Total cost of ticket = $180
Sunday’s Result – (-$180)
Total for current Hollywood Park meet – (+$6,793.15)
Total from 7/20/11 – 4/21/13 - (+$15,757.10)
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last-minute changes caused by scratches and much more! Good luck!
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