by Brian Nadeau
July 27, 2018
With the rain behind us, let’s take a look at Friday’s Pk5 at Saratoga. Whereas in the past I’ve put together one caveman ticket on a small-scale budget, I’m now 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
You’ll have to take about 2-5 in the win pool on #6 BANKIT (4-5), who was a good and fast 2nd on debut against open maidens at Belmont and will relish this class drop. The good news is that singling to open a sequence is not a move the public likes to do, so you can use him to your advantage, and that minuscule tote price will play bigger in the sequence.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 6
Tab the tote here, since anyone who is live and taking money would be worth a look, but no one on paper is that intriguing, plus the pick looks that good.
Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): NONE
Race 2: 3yof 50k claimer at 1-mile on the inner turf
The class-dropping #6 BEACH WALTZ (2-1) probably should be favored over #1 NIGHT OWL (8-5), as she’s the class and has a better overall body of work, but the latter goes for Brown, so the line does make sense. I like the former, as she’s a bit more tactical too, though the latter is a must-use and I would think they’ll get you through, regardless of who comes out on top.
Pk5 A horses: 6,1
If #2 RADIANT BEAUTY (4-1) is sent and clears just maybe she gets brave, like she did at Aqueduct in April, when just missing over yielding ground, and it’s worth noting she’ll get to run over a turf course with some give to it today as well.
Pk5 B horses: 2
Race 3: 3up 25k N2L at 6 ½ furlongs
Strong works and running as a first-time gelding says #1a WEGOTOLDYOUGOTSOLD (3-1) can spring the mild surprise in his first start since January, and the class drop to 25k doesn’t worry much since this is probably where he’s supposed to be anyway. The same can’t be said for #6 CHANGE OF VENUE (5-2), who was 4-1 when 3rd in a 50k starter two-back and 9-2 at the level last time when he was a no-show 9th, so obviously something went amiss, which is why he’s tough to trust in today for 25k.
Pk5 A horses: 1a,6
You have to think #8 SOUTHEAST (9-2) will need to run better than he did against weaker at CD, but Bruce Brown is a surprising 19% off the claim (albeit from just a 16-horse sample), so maybe he can improve, and if the top pair are in fact damaged goods, he could surprise. There’s little pace in here, which means #3 RIDE ON FAITH (6-1) could get loose at a nice number, and sometimes when those lifetime maidens finally win, they win right back.
Pk5 B horses: 8,3
Race 4: 3up 3uo 50k N3L at 5 ½ furlongs on the Mellon turf
A race filled with speed over a dampened and demanding turf course says #4 RAPPEL (9-2) can make the last run the winning run, much like he did when beating N2L foes at Belmont last time. The outside draw will help #6 BELGIAN (5-2), as he’ll get first run after just missing against lesser at Belmont, but while Maker is solid off the claim, improving a turf sprinter from Sharp won’t be easy. The wildcard is #1 CANADIAN FLIER (7-2), who is the best horse, but hasn’t been out in 370 days and drew poorly, so next time may be the time, though he’s also tough to toss. The same can be said for SHANGROYAL (2-1), who is a huge underlay on his return to the turf for Ward, but would be no surprise, though winning this up front won’t be easy.
Pk5 A horses: 4,6,1,2
Those four should cover the bases, as anyone else would be a big surprise, so we’ll stand alone with just the A’s here.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Race 5: 3up NYB N1X at 6 furlongs
A reall toughie to end it, which is why I’ll spread and look for a price, and #2 LA CAT WARRIOR (10-1) definitely fits the latter, and I would expect he improves in a big way off that Belmont return off a 17-month layoff, especially since he can close in a race filled with speed. A stalking style will aid #6 CALL ME A STAR (6-1), who also offers value and comes out of two key races. A lack of speed may also benefit #4 D’YER MAKER (12-1), and going second-off the long layoff and returning to dirt are also pluses.
Pk5 A horses: 2,6,4
The speed horses come in next, as they can’t be A’s with so much pace signed on, so #1 CHARLIE MCCOY (3-1), #9 WRONG BEN (4-1) AND #5 STONEY BENNETT (7-2) are all included on the backups due to the race flow. I’m also using the off-the-wall horse, #11 CANDY ZIP (12-1), who is slow on paper and comes in off an October layoff while facing winners for the first time but will close and lures Irad.
Pk5 B horses: 1,9,5,11
The main A ticket is 1x2x2x4x3 for $24, 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 (1x3x4x4x7) would cost an absurd $168, which essentially makes the stronger opinions the same as the weaker ones, whereas this is a much more reasonable $92. 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: 6 with 6,1 with 1a,6 with 4,6,1,2 with 2,6,4 = $24
R2 B Backup: 6 with 2 with 1a,6 with 4,6,1,2 with 2,6,4 = $12
R3 B Backup: 6 with 6,1 with 8,3 with 4,6,1,2 with 2,6,4 = $24
R5 B Backup: 6 with 6,1 with 1a,6 with 4,6,1,2 with 1,9,5,11 = $32