by Brian Nadeau
May 17, 2018
While the weather calls for rain, rain and more rain, reports from Pimlico state that the hope is the turf races will stay on the grass, so we’ll tackle Friday’s big Pk5 (R7-11) with that in mind (though main track selections will appear beneath the analysis of the turf races).
*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 36 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 12pm Friday for an update. ***
Race 7: GIII Miss Preakness for 3yo fillies at 6 furlongs
Sometimes being stubborn as a bettor can be a good thing, especially when you’re dealing with a wide open race that doesn’t have a solid favorite, so I’m a bit lucky that I have a very strong opinion of #1 HAPPY LIKE A FOOL (5-1), who is one of the few gals in here with a rating gear in a race loaded with speed. Her comeback at Keeneland in a good GIII was the perfect tightener for this, she should trip out beautifully off the expected hot pace and she’s a bold single to kick off the sequence.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 1
There are countless others who could be an A, but that’s also the rub, as this has the ole “use one or use them all” kind of feel to it. The pair I’ll use as backups are #8 ALMOND ROCA (5-1), who has a hint of a rating gear and drew well to be outside the other speed, and #10 LIMITED VIEW (10-1), who exits an extremely tough stakes against older and is another who should be coming from off the pace. Favored speedsters #3 Artistic Diva (6-1), #6 Lezendary (4-1) and #9 Good Move (3-1) can all win, but they’ll do so without me, since they seem destined to duel early and often and set it up for the three gals I’ll be using.
Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): 8,10
Race 8: N1X for 3up at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
If we are fortunate to stay on the turf, there’s little doubt there will be a ton of give in the ground, which is why I’m landing on #11 TENNESSEE WILDCAT (8-1) as my top pick, since he freaked at Laurel over yielding ground in November and got a tightener out of the way last time, presumably with this start in mind. There’s little doubt #6 DOUGLAS ROAD (3-1) is the horse to beat, and though Delacour is sterling 25% off a long layoff, the fact he hasn’t started since October is a bit of a concern, especially since he will be running over a demanding course. The same can be said for #2 HOLIDAY ROMEO (9-2), who also hasn’t been out since October, but Motion is a solid 19% off this kind of break and you know he wants to win in front of the home crowd this weekend.
Pk5 A horses: 11,6,2
The wildcard is #7 SOUTH SEA (6-1), who did some good things on turf for Bill Mott early last year and now gets back to the grass after two meek dirt runs off a long for Montoya, who signals he means business by reaching for Irad. There are definitely hurdles for #1 PIZMO TIME (10-1), who comes in off a September layoff, but I have a lot of respect for Eddie Graham, who is another local that might have the screws a bit tighter than most for today, plus this guy drew best of all, has some solid form to fall back on and will be a big price too.
Pk5 B horses: 7,1
If on dirt: 1-7-4-13-5
Race 9: GIII Pimlico Special for 3up at 1 3/16 miles
If the 5-1 ML on #8 SOMETHING AWESOME holds, I apologize in advance for pushing you out of the way on my way to the window, because I’ll be sending it in. Not only is he in career-best form, he figures to get a very energetic pace to stalk, has run by far his best two races once stretching out to 1 1/8 miles in his last two, and is 2-for-3 over an off-track. He’s the lone A in here, in part because I do love him, but also because I think that 5-1 will be replaced by 5-2 by post, which is hardly appealing and will force me to leverage him in other ways.
Pk5 A horses: 8
If I love Something Awesome then I have to use #7 AFLEET WILLY (10-1), since he was beaten just 1 ½ lengths to him in the GII Charles Town Classic last time and really moves up over an off-track, as he’s 4-for-5 over them. I’m not sure if #3 RATED R SUPERSTAR (8-1) is good enough, but the race flow figures to suit him, and he’s another who should relish this tricky distance. As you can tell, I’m dead-set against the favorites here, as #1 Irish War Cry (3-1) is impossible to trust, was dreadful last time with no excuse and has never beat older horses, and #2 One Liner (7-2) and #5 Hedge Fund (7-2) seem up against it in terms of the race flow, as they both want to be involved early and could come up wanting late.
Pk5 B horses: 7,3
Race 10: Jim McKay Turf Sprint for 3up at 5 furlongs on the turf
I was fortunate enough to see #3 IMPRIMIS (3-1) run twice in person this year at Gulfstream Park and left thinking he was the best turf sprinter in the country, so I get a chance to really starting campaigning for him here, as he tackles stakes foes for the first time. The soft ground could beat him, as he’s never been over anything but a hard, fast turf course, but I firmly believe, if all things are equal, the rest of these can’t. If you need a bit more swaying, go back and watch his last two wins and you’ll see the light.
Pk5 A horses: 3
How cool is #7 HOGY (2-1), who is turning into an iron horse and deserves to be favored here. I have a ton of respect for him, but his dead one-run closing style is going to put him open lengths behind a budding star, and he’s been going two turns in his last two starts, which means he could be that much farther back early. He’s easy to root for, but is an underlay here, off a distant 9th in the GI Maker’s Mark at Keeneland too. if I’m championing the cause of Imprimis as the best turf sprinter in the country, then it doesn’t make sense to go too deep here, so I’ll just use him and Hogy, though #4 Oak Bluffs (6-1) wouldn’t be a total shocker, though he always comes up a bit short against this kind.
Pk5 B horses: 7
If on dirt: 2-7-6
Race 11: GII Black Eyed Susan for 3yo fillies at 1 1/8 miles
Talk about a race there for the taking, as none of these girls overwhelm on paper and several are a dicey proposition to get the 1 1/8 miles. Simply put, I trust no one and have some knocks on the favorite, so I want as much coverage as I can get. I can’t possibly see how you get 4-1 on #9 SARA STREET, as she was a very fast and close 2nd at the distance in the GII Gazelle at Aqueduct last time and has more upside than any of these, but she faces a lot of other pace in here, so while I have her on top, it’s with little to no conviction. There are a few reasons I like #4 RED RUBY (5-1), most notably her stalking gear and the fact her best career run was a win in the slop two-back at Oaklawn Park in the Martha Washington, plus her recent works suggest she’s put that no-show 4th at odds-on in their GIII Honeybee when last seen in March behind her. My huge bomber is #10 STAKES ON A PLANE, who isn’t too far behind these on paper, adds Lasix and will get plenty of pace to rally into. I’m not a huge fan of the ML favorite #3 COACH ROCKS (7-2), and she would be a big underlay at this price, but she has some class to her and should trip out, though her big win in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks was against a very weak group, though she could very easily get a similar set of circumstances today.
Pk5 A horses: 9,4,10,3
I don’t know what version of #2 MIDNIGHT DISGUISE (4-1) will show up today, the one who looked great rolling home at today’s distance in Aqueduct’s Busanda three-back, or the one who was an awful 7th as the favorite in the Gazelle, but if she splits the difference she’s a player here, so I can’t completely toss her. The race flow should also suit #8 INDY UNION (10-1), who was well-beaten by fellow rival #7 Goodonehoney (5-1) when she was 2nd in the Weber City at Laurel Park last time, but is now second-off a December layoff and Jeremiah Englehart is a star in the making and the fact he reaches for Jose Ortiz says there’s something to go on here. You could use others, as #6 C.S. Incharge (15-1) just ran against Monomoy Girl in the GI Ashland at Keeneland and has a big win in the slop; the aforementioned Goodonehoney is 2-for-2 and just won a stakes by 7, and #1 Tell Your Mama (20-1) may still be a maiden (though Actress won this race as a maiden last year) but has Castellano and will like the pace, but all three have some knocks too and look a cut below.
Pk5 B horses: 2,8
The main A ticket is a very simple 1x3x1x1x4 for $6, and that’s our starting point. There are sequences that advocate big spread tickets, but to me, this is not one of those. By adding in our B horses in with the A’s in the other legs, we can get more coverage and allow for some margin for error too. As you’ll see below, the backups tickets are a more cost conducive way of getting added coverage, without breaking the bank; if we combined all the A’s and B’s, the ticket would cost $270 (3x5x3x2x6), whereas this way is a much more manageable $43. I’m also an advocate of playing you’re A ticket for $1 (or, in this case, a lot more), so you capitalize if you handicap it out of the park.
Main Ticket: 1 with 11,6,2 with 8 with 3 with 9,4,10,3 = $6
R1 B Backup: 8,10 with 11,6,2 with 8 with 3 with 9,4,10,3 = $12
R2 B Backup: 1 with 7,1 with 8 with 3 with 9,4,10,3 = $4
R3 B Backup: 1 with 11,6,2 with 3,7 with 3 with 9,4,10,3 = $12
R4 B Backup: 1 with 11,6,2 with 8 with 7 with 9,4,10,3 = $6
R5 B Backup: 1 with 11,6,2 with 8 with 3 with 2,8 = $3