by Brian Nadeau
March 1, 2018
I had initially waited until late in the day to bang out this week’s blog because I wanted to see what the entries were like for Saturday’s big Fountain of Youth Day card at Gulfstream Park. But as I was waiting (and as I still wait), they ran the finale and another longshot won, triggering a 116k carryover into the late Pk5, which is a rare occurrence indeed. So, with that in mind, and a pool that figures to be close to 750k, let’s give the sequence a look.
Race 7: 3f 20k claimer going 1-mile (turf)
We’ve got a mixed bag to kick things off, so looking for value seems to make sense, as does spreading, so I’ll tab #5 DRAMA RUN on top, as she has tactical speed in a race that looks slow in terms of pace, and gets a huge jock upgrade to JJ. A decided lack of speed won’t help #2 L.A. HOUSE, but she just missed at the level last time and would be no surprise. If no one goes with #7 GATOR GIRL she may not stop, so she has to be considered a leading contender, while #7 LOST PRINCESS will like the drop in class.
Pk5 horses (listed in order of preference): 5,2,4,7
Race 8: 3f 50k MCL going 6 furlongs
It seems like the experienced runners will rule the day here and an outside attack post should agree with #7 GOLDEN VALE, who caught a buzzsaw when 2nd in her dirt debut last time, was well clear of 3rd, and should only improve off that run. It’s likely that #5 BUNKER has the most upside, as she got a lot of experience out of her debut in September at CD, adds Lasix, and Walsh is a big 25% off this kind of layoff. You have to respect #3 PRETTY SHEA D, as she was a fast 2nd on debut, but that was for Jason Servis, and I find it hard to believe Duco can improve this one off the claim from that potent barn, so while I’m using her, I’d be scared to side too heavily with her.
(I’m not using any of the firsters, #1 Dance With Macho, #4 Blessed Venezuela and #6 Shellshackup, but tab their action in the DD from R7-8 and see if any of them are live and taking an inordinate amount of money).
Pk5 horses: 7,5,3
Race 9: 4up 25k/N1X going 5 furlongs (turf)
This could well be the trickiest race of the sequence, which is why I’ll go four-deep, without a lot of conviction on any of them. The one thing we do know about this heat is that there is, well, a lot of heat in it, as several want to be part of what looks to be a very hot pace. That’s why I’m going outside with #8 SEIZE, since he has shown the ability to settle and pass horses in the lane. The same can be said for #5 SHADOW ROCK, who may well be a bit long in the tooth now at 8, but Walder seemed fit to claim him for 25k and reaches for Irad, so he must like his new addition. The inside posts are tricky, and both #2 MAR VISTA MIGUEL and #1 IMA WILDCAT (who bet the pick last time) need to be careful not to get sucked up by the pace, but they have shown a hint of a rating gear in the past, so they get inclusion too, especially since their recent form is rock solid.
Pk5 horses: 8,5,2,1
Race 10: 4upfm 50k/N2x going 1-mile
It’s tough to argue with anyone singling #6 SALTY, as she lays over this field on class and is 2-for-3 locally, including last year’s GII GP Park Oaks, but it’s also important to remember a few things; first and foremost, this is just a prep for much bigger down the road, as she hasn’t started since September; second, she’s yet to run against older horses, and third; her lack of speed over a track like this can be troublesome, and it wasn’t exactly like she was a win machine at 3 either. So yes, I am picking her on top, but I’m also going to use #7 TAPELLA, another now 4yo who has yet to start this year, but goes for Pletcher and has a ton more tactical speed than her main rival, which will give her first run off the far turn, and we all know what this barn can do with its comebackers here during the winter.
Pk5 horses: 6,7
Race 11: 3f 50k MCL going 5 furlongs (turf)
It’s kind of now or never time for #11 UNCLE JUNIOR, who has failed at short all in all three starts and is tough to trust, especially from a wide draw, but she does seem to lay over the field too. It’s also a good sign to see Irad stick, and he’s got plenty of tactical speed at his disposal to get a good position into the far turn. With the chalk having a few questions to answer, I’ll toss in #8 Sol Dat Sugar at a nice price, as she should have plenty of foundation off a pair of routes and drew much better than the last time she sprinted. If you have the budget to use more, #4 Drinks on Maggie has the speed to make the front, which is never a bad spot to be in in a race with a bunch of slow horses.
Pk5 horses: 11,8
My Late Pick 5 Ticket
Race 7: 2, 4, 5, 7
Race 8: 3, 5, 7
Race 9: 1, 2, 5, 8
Race 10: 6, 7
Race 11: 8, 11
Ticket Cost ($0.50 base): $96.00