by Brian Nadeau
June 14, 2018
With the Belmont Stakes behind us and Saratoga still not on the immediate horizon, let’s see if we can get some momentum and play Friday’s Pk5 at Belmont, just a few weeks removed from our backup $6 play hitting for $781. Whereas in the past I’ve put together one caveman ticket on a small-scale budget, going forward I’m going to try and present a bit more of an in-depth play that will utilize backup horses and tickets, while painting a broader picture of a suggested play.
*** 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 1: 3yo 32k claimer at 1-mile on the Widener turf
The opener doesn’t have much and it sure looks like #2 MICHAEL WONDERFUL (8-5) will take a lot of beating based on not only his turf form, but the rest of the field’s as well. His only downfall is his lack of speed, but even so, he goes as the only A, as he needs to regress not to beat this group.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 2
The tactical speed of #1 ESPRESSO CALIENTE (3-1) is a big edge in a paceless field, so even though ‘Wonderful beat him by 1 ¾ lengths last time, he’s got to be thought of as a major player here. I have no idea what to make of #7 DOUBLE DEEP (5-2) and would want nothing to do with him at this ML, but he does have speed and goes off the Diodoro claim, and while he’s trying turf for the first time and the barn is only 10% with that move, I’ll use him defensively.
Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): 1,7
Race 2: 3upfm 16k N2L at 6 furlongs
Obviously the August layoff is a big concern with #2 MONEY LAUNDERING (2-1), but geesh, if he runs back to his MCL wire job when last seen he’ll win this in a canter, especially since he’s a Lone F. With that being said, there’s clearly a reason he hasn’t been seen since, so we need to tread lightly, which is why I’m also going to use #5 ANYTHING PAZIBLE (4-1), who has found his form in his past few starts for Robert Falcone and will be closing late.
Pk5 A horses: 2,5
I’m thinking #3 RIPE (9-5) is favored by default, as he was all-out to beat MCL’ers last time and now faces winners, and while I’m not in love with him, he has to be used since there’s just no one here who inspires, aside from the pair above.
Pk5 B horses: 3
Race 3: 3upfm 12.5k claimer at 6 furlongs
It’s tough to get by even-money favorite #4 LOOSE, who has been aces off the Rodriguez claim and lays over this field on paper, but if there’s a worry it’s all the other speed she faces, so I’m not going to single her like many in the betting public will. The outside post and the fact that #7 SPECIAL DIVIDEND (7-2) has a hint of rating gear will come in handy, and she too has been in solid form for four starts now, so she’s going to be used equally with the heavy chalk, in the hopes that a win goes a long way in knocking out a ton of tickets. The same can be said for #6 LIPSTICKONMYCOLLAR (3-1), and while it’s unlikely Richard Metivier can improve a horse off the claim from Chris Englehart, she too is in good form, keeps Irad and is another who has
stalked and won in the past.
Pk5 A horses: 4,7,6
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Race 4: 2f MSW at 6 furlongs on the inner turf
This one seems kind of cut and dry, as the proven gals haven’t shown a thing and the firsters go for top 2yo debut barns, and that’s how I’ll play it. Ward starts both #1 KUNA (5-2) and #6 CYCLICAL (8-5), and they are both A’s, with the latter getting the call over the former, if only because of their respective post positions. Both are from potent turf sires in More Than Ready and Scat Daddy, respectively, and figure just a bit more cranked than the rest.
Pk5 A horses: 6,1
Pletcher counters with #7 BORN TO SHOP (4-1), who drew well to be outside everyone, but the works here are on the modest side and she missed one a few weeks ago, so you’re allowed to wonder if this is just a tightener for next time around. I’d be inclined to use #4 Atchata (6-1), who cost 85k as a 2yo in training, which is a big number for a daughter of 2k sire Apriority, but the fact she was 12-1 in a six-horse field on debut for Asmussen and Irad and was a well-beaten 3rd says she’s more a work in progress at this point.
Pk5 B horses: 7
Race 5: 3upfm 50k starter-allowance at 7 furlongs on the Widener turf
The finale is a toughie, which is a great thing since the betting public will likely struggle covering all the bases. I’m stabbing with #2 SHEPUTASPELLONME (15-1), who is priced way too high on the ML but will still be in the 8-to-10-1 range and should love coming out of seven routes to start her career, getting JJ and a catching a field loaded with early speed. The wide draw is a worry, but the one turf sprint that #12 ANGEL FOOD (5-1) shows was a beauty and she’s another who will love all the heat up front. The same goes for #3 AVERY MAEVE (7-2), who will only improve off her comeback from an almost six-month break and should get first run on the top-2. I wouldn’t want the 9-2 ML on #11 FACTORING, as she’s a bit too slow on paper, but she’s yet another who will pass horses, as will #8 ANIMAUXSELLE (15-1), who will be a big number but has solid turf sprint form and will also rally.
Pk5 A horses: 2,12,3,11,8
Obviously I’m tossing all the speed in the A column, as none of them look like they can duel, kick clear and hold on, especially going 7 furlongs. If there were just one or two of them then I would rethink my strategy in the B column, but with so many wanting the engine, this just looks destined to fall apart in the lane and that’s how I’ll play it.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
The main A ticket is 1x2x3x2x5 for $30, and that’s our starting point. But 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 played both the A’s and the B’s together, the ticket (3x3x3x3x5) would cost $202.50, which essentially makes the stronger opinions the same as the weaker ones, whereas this is a much more reasonable $90. I’m also an advocate of playing you’re A ticket for $1 (or more), so you capitalize if you handicap it out of the park.
Main Ticket: 2 with 2,5 with 4,7,6 with 6,1 with 2,12,3,11,8 = $30
R1 B Backup: 1,7 with 2,5 with 4,7,6 with 2,12,3,11,8 = $30
R2 B Backup: 2 with 3 with 4,7,6 with 6,1 with 2,12,3,11,8 = $15
R4 B Backup: 2 with 2,5 with 4,7,6 with 7 with 2,12,3,11,8 = $15