by Brian Nadeau
June 21, 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: 2yo NYB MSW at 5 ½ furlongs
With not much in here, it looks like Pletcher has this one over a barrel with #5 LA FUERZA (6-5), who drew well, has worked well, and is a Barry Schwartz homebred son of Flatter with a nice pedigree. I expect the money to show too, and if that’s the case, he’s the single (if it doesn’t, then anything goes).
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 5
I’m not apt to use another here, as Pletcher is usually the goods in a spot like this, and the rest of this field doesn’t inspire in the least. Do take not of the tote though, as any steam on the others would be telling, most notably #2 Semper Paratus (6-1), #3 Bozzini (5-1), and #4 Bronx Bomber (5-2).
Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): NONE
Race 2: 3up 50k starter-allowance at 7 furlongs on the Widener turf
In a race without a ton of speed, I think the post and tactical foot of #5 STRONG SIDE (8-1) will have him in a perfect spot off the far turn, and the drop from the N1X ranks will help too. The cutback from several two-turn routes at GP is a bit of a worry for #1 FUEL THE BERN (2-1), but he’s also a must-use on his form. I’m not sold on #6 MAJOR FORCE (3-1), who is an underlay stepping up with little to no early speed, but his last on the cutback was a breakthrough, and the extra furlong should help.
Pk5 A horses: 5,1,6
I don’t really know what to make of #3 FOLLOW THE SIGNS (4-1), who seems a bit of an underlay off a modest return, but, if nothing else, he should improve, and maybe the cutback will wake him up too.
Pk5 B horses: 3
Race 3: 3upfm MSW at 1-mile
I’ve got to believe the firsters are best here, as the proven runners haven’t shown a ton, so I’ll go with #1 BAZOOKA GIRL (5-2) and #4 RESTRUCTURE (2-1), as both have worked well and own good pedigrees for sharp barns. If nothing else, #2 WE ARE FAMILY (4-1) woke up at Laurel, albeit going two turns, and a repeat of that distant 3rd puts him in the mix here, especially if the firsters aren’t ready.
Pk5 A horses: 1,4,2
Pk5 B horses: I don’t have a strong opinion on #5 TIGALALU (6-1), but Hennig has been winning with firsters, so he’s on the list here. The same can be said for #6 BLOOMING (7-2), who goes for a potent Jonathan Thomas barn and has a pair of wicked bullets on the dirt at Oklahoma but didn’t run an inch on the turf at Tampa—when in for 75k on debut—but, I respect this barn enough to use him.
Pk5 B horses: 5,6
Race 4: 3up 75k MCL at 1-mile on the Widener turf
The toughest race of the sequence is a big spread, as you can go any number of ways, and I want as many as I can sneak into my budget. So, in order, here goes: I thought #5 FREE KITTY (6-1) really woke up first-time turf (for Linda Rice), and her speed is a big asset; #7 WICKED TRICK (8-1) finally takes the big drop from the MSW ranks and has speed and sharp prior form; the #1 entry (7-5) will be way overbet, but both have shown some solid form and could win on their best; #4 GENERALIST (5-1) will also be an underlay but is first-time turf for Brown and won’t have to freak to beat this field; and #8 BIG AGENDA (9-2) has to improve on the rise, but horses do that constantly off the Rodriguez claim, so he too is in the mix.
Pk5 A horses: 5,7,1E,4,8
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Race 5: 3up NYB 40k/N2X at 1-mile
I like a horse a lot here, and it’s probably not the one the public will gravitate too, which I like even more, and it’s #4 BLUEGRASCAT’S SMILE (9-2), who was just a fine 2nd at the level and should trip out beautifully off what looks like a pace that should be hot and contested. He’s my bold single in a race where I just don’t trust any of the “favorites” (see below).
Pk5 A horses: 4
I’m against both #1 Horoscope (2-1), who I’m not using at all and won a seemingly fluky figure race back on 4/21, especially because it looks like he’ll take all the worst of it dueling from the inside here. I will use #5 DANEBURY (9-5), if only because he’s in good form, comes off a big win, and is drawn outside the other speed. The one I prefer more though, at a nice price too, is #6 WINSTON’S CHANCE (12-1), who enters from FL but loves winning races and a rating gear that will come in very handy today.
Pk5 B horses: 6,5
The main A ticket is 1x3x3x5x1 for $22.50, 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 (1x4x5x5x3) would cost $150, 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: 5 with 5,1,6 with 1,4,2 with 5,7,1E,4,8 with 4 = $22.50
R2 B Backup: 5 with 3 with 1,4,2 with 5,7,1E,4,8 with 4 = $7.50
R3 B Backup: 5 with 5,1,6 with 5,6 with 5,7,1E,4,8 with 4 = $15
R5 B Backup: 5 with 5,1,6 with 1,4,2 with 5,7,1E,4,8 with 6,5 = $45