by Brian Nadeau
August 16, 2018
Friday’s sequence looks like a real bear, which means a potentially big payoff is in the cards, so let’s take a look and get aggressive, especially since the weather might actually cooperate for once. 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: 3up 50k starter-allowance at 5 ½ furlongs on the Mellon turf
The opener seems impossible, especially because several in here want to be involved early, and while they are only going 5 ½ furlongs, a meltdown could ensue. The Toscano barn has been very live at the meet and #5 LA MAQUINA GRIS (6-1) should be stalking after running two turns earlier in the meet, and the closing sprint 2nd two-back was sharp, so that gives him a edge here and gets him a very tepid top billing. From there it’s a total guess, as I don’t really know who is going, who is capable of settling and who is going to like the turf, since a few contenders are trying it for the first time. Hopefully the blinkers won’t have #4 WET YOUR WHISTLE (5-2) too keen early, as he stalked and ran a good 4th at the level last time in his turf debut, and with just two starts he has a ton of upside too, which is more than most of these can say, though that ML makes him a big underlay. If he can work out a trip from the rail then #1 SHEKKY SHEBAZ (4-1) makes sense in his turf debut, and Adam Rice isn’t 38% on the year by running horses where they can’t win, so you have to think those PID Tapeta runs have him thinking he fits here.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 5,4,2
Contention runs deep, so we’ll also use #6 HUBBADAHUBBADABOOM (7-2), who drew a nice outside attack post for Kenneally, who is 32% in turf sprints, though this runner has yet to try turf in seven starts, which leaves me a bit leery. A lack of AM inactivity has me worried about #8 ALL CLEAR (3-1), since he shows just two works since a sharp 2nd in his turf debut 5/26 at Belmont, though he was close to a repeat winner that day and will be pressing throughout. If I was going to the C-level I would include #9 Hello Holiday (8-1), since he has some good back form and Lauer is 4-for-12 off the claim, which helps to alleviate the concerns of the complete no-show last time when in for 40k.
Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): 6,8
Race 2: 3upfm NYB 100k Saratoga Dew at 1 1/8 miles
Is it possible that in a six-horse field going 1 1/8 miles we have a speed duel, and potentially even an intense one? It kind of looks that way, as #1 Frostie Anne (7-5), #3 Verdant Pastures (4-1) and #4 Frosty Margarita (7-2) all want to get involved early, especially the former two. It’s also worth noting that four of the six entered come back on less than 10 days rest, so anything could happen. The gal who doesn’t come off short rest, and got the perfect tightener out of the way last time off a seven-month layoff is #5 LAND MINE (3-1), who was good 2nd over a track and distance she has won at in the past, and her stalking gear should be flattered by all the pace to her inside. I’m getting aggressive and singling her, which is going to allow for a lot more coverage in the other legs.
Pk5 A horses: 5
Even though #4 FROSTY MARGARITA is back on 4 days rest after wiring a minor stakes at Finger Lakes Monday, she hits hard since she doesn’t need the lead and this post is perfect, with the two speeds to her inside. It’s impossible to toss her stablemate #1 FROSTIE ANNE, though she looks like she’ll take the worst of it as the inside speed and does come back on 5 days rest after winning an off-the-turfer Sunday. If Verdant Pastures feels like winning she can do so without me, since her recent form has been awful, she’s run just once since December, and though she’s worked huge for this and has 14 ¾-length win over the track and distance, note it was when she walked on the lead in 51 3/5, a half-mile fraction they may beat by 20 lengths today. You could also squeeze #6 Pink Twist (6-1) in, but she’s slow on paper, didn’t look great beating tons lesser last Thursday and will be wide and on the chase the entire way.
Pk5 B horses: 4,1
Race 3: 3up NYB 25k MCL at 6 furlongs
In what looks like a match race between #5 GIANT BOO BOO (4-5) and #7 WHERESTHEBARBER (5-2), I’m siding with the latter due to post position and price, as he’s the one who will be pressing the favorite the entire way from the outside, and I’m apt to believe the big 2nd last time, as it was his first start with blinkers on a fast track. The former is obviously the horse to beat, but it is worth noting he blew a clear late lead last time and could bounce off such a big figure, though it was his first start off the Jeremiah claim. It’s also worth nothing that anyone on a budget will be singling the 5, as he is the shortest priced favorite in the sequence (even though the tote odds and actual winning chances are a lot closer), which means a win by ‘Barber will play a lot longer than his potential $6.20 win price.
Pk5 A horses: 7,5
I’m not using anyone else in here, as not only are they a decided cut below the top-2, but there’s also really no reason to think today will be the day they jump up with a lifetime best. If you are more creative then me, then obviously you’ll be looking at #1 The I Man (8-1) and #3 Shuffling Madness (6-1), but they are fringe C’s at best.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Race 4: 3upfm 50k starter-allowance at 1 1/6 miles on the inner turf
The last two legs of today’s sequence seem impossible to narrow down, which bodes well for the payoff, though they will obviously be tough to navigate through. In a race that is clearly there for the taking, siding with a longshot who, if nothing else, will be in front as far as she can go isn’t a terrible idea, so I’m putting #1 LA FEE VERTE (15-1) on top off a gate-to-wire win in a sloppy off-the-turfer earlier in the meet (and note she was entered on the grass). Also, it’s not a big sample, but Lukas has two wins first-turf from 15 starters, so it’s not an impossible move for this HOF barn. Obviously I’m spreading deep if I’m taking a 15-1 on top and hoping for chaos, so #3 HOPONTHEBUSGUS (4-1) is a must-use on the stretch back out from this good draw; as is #4 FAST TRACK KATHERN (9-5), who is a huge underlay on the rise at this ML but sure comes in the right way off a fast win against lesser and could even improve off the Nevin claim. I’m also using (maybe reaching?) with #6 CODRINGTON (6-1) and #9 HOPE’S ROAR (7-2), since they didn’t fire over yielding ground last time when 7th and 6th, respectively, but have solid prior form on firm ground that puts them in the mix here. The former is especially appealing since he will (hopefully) make his first start off the claim for Maker on firm turf.
Pk5 A horses: 1,3,4,6,9
There will be no B’s here, since I either have the winner in my 5-pack or I don’t. If the turf comes up yielding then #8 Questeq (8-1) comes into play, as she was 2nd, ahead of Hope’s Roar and Codrington two-back, but her form on firmer turf won’t get her a sniff with these. The wildcard is #7 Diamond Jen Brady (6-1), who could press ‘Verte on the stretchout from dirt sprints, but Hennig is 0-for-27 first-turf, so in that stat we trust.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Race 5: 2yof NYB MSW at 6 furlongs
The real fun begins in the last leg, as you could make a legitimate case for most, if not all, of the 10 entered. That’s not happening in this space here, at least on the A-line, so we will need to simply hope to survive what looks like a real crapshoot. Where to start? There is a lot of pedigree players here, with #1 COZZY’S POSSE (8-1), who is a half to stakes-placed Cozzy Spring; #4 KADENS COURAGE (5-1), a full to multiple stakes winner Loki’s Vengeance; and #8 Awesome Adversary (20-1), a half to stakes winner Carameaway. I’ll use the two former runners, as well as #6 THE GRAND CANAL (7-2), who was a distant 2nd on debut for Rice, who is 29% with second-out maidens. The last of the A’s is #10 BUSTIN HOFFMAN (8-1), who invades from Laurel for Figgins, who is 18% with firsters and one of the sharper Midatlantic barns out there.
Pk5 A horses: 4,1,6,10
Awesome Adversary gets the first B slot and is followed by #3 KOSCIUSZKO (10-1), who has a slew of bullets for a crafty Quick barn, and #9 STEAM ENGINE (9-2), a Cox firster with modest works, though that 7/7 bullet at Ellis may be the one to concentrate on. The last two are #5 FROSTED ICE (6-1), who took a hint of money on debut then ran evenly after a slow start, and #2 ICEY CASH (6-1), who lures Castellano for a low-percentage Schettino barn with a bullet 5F work showing, from the gate too, so that’s enough to include him as well.
Pk5 B horses: 8,3,9,5,2
We’ll take a big swing here on a sequence I like a lot; the main A ticket is 3x1x2x5x4 for $60, 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 allow for some added coverage without breaking the bank; if we played both the A’s and the B’s together, the ticket (5x3x2x5x9) would cost a robust $675, which essentially makes the stronger opinions the same as the weaker ones, whereas this is a much more reasonable $295. 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: 5,4,2 with 5 with 7,5 with 1,3,4,6,9 with 4,1,6,10 = $60
R1 B Backup: 6,8 with 5 with 7,5 with 1,3,4,6,9 with 4,1,6,10 = $40
R2 B Backup: 5,4,2 with 4,1 with 7,5 with 1,3,4,6,9 with 4,1,6,10 = $120
R5 B Backup: 5,4,2 with 5 with 7,5 with 1,3,4,6,9 with 8,3,9,5,2 = $75