by Brian Nadeau
July 14, 2017
It’s Closing Week at Belmont Park, which in turn means Saratoga is on the immediate horizon. Which also means you need a flush bankroll for not only the incredible day in and day out betting pools and top-class racing that is coming, but also for the nightlife and added consumption (of all sorts) that comes with it. So, with that in mind, let’s try and pad the bankroll by hitting the Friday Pk5.
Race 1: 3upfm 16k N2L at 6 furlongs
In a race filled with 1’fers, it’s always best to go with the lightly raced runners who still have a hint of upside. The problem is, most of these look the same on paper, and the favorite, #3 PARTING SHOT, just bombed at the level at Monmouth at 2-1, so why we’re supposed to take that price here is anyone’s guess. Yes, I’ll use her, but I’ll use several others too, especially since the pace looks hot and contested. While it’s hardly a key race in the making, #6 CAUSEWAY CUTIE, #1 PERSKY’S SPIRIT AND #2 VALIANT SPIRIT ran 2-3-4, respectively, at the level here 6/22, and all figure in this weak field, with ‘Persky’s getting top billing since she can close from off the pace. I’ll also use #4 OLD GATITA, who added blinkers that day, set the pace and was a much-improved 5th, as well as longshot closer #7 ONLY ONE WISH, who is improving on figures, makes her third start of the year and should be able to pass some in the lane.
Pk5 horses (listed in order of preference): 1-3-7-2-6-4
Race 2: 3upfm MSW at 7 furlongs on the Widener turf
While it may look like a spread race on paper, I’m going to use only two, in order to try and narrow things down and not go over budget. Let’s give top billing to #5 EQUALITYFORALL, who was a solid 5th in a DOB debut for Lina Rice, who is a potent 34% with maidens making their second start. Juddmonte homebred #7 BOULE is slowly going the right way for Bill Mott and enters off a close 5th to Inflexibility last time, and with blinkers going on in her third start, it could be go-time today. Obviously, you can use #1 Into Summer, off the big turf wakeup last time at Churchill Downs, and #9 Jaunt, who has some prior form to win this, but both will be underlays, and the former must prove it in NY, while the latter seems to be going the wrong way, is now 0-for-7, and drew wide too. The wildcards are #3 Boom Boom Boom, who is a daughter of More Than Ready and cost 310k, but debuts for a patient Jimmy Toner, and #8 Assertive, who tries turf after burning a ton of money in three dirt starts for Todd Pletcher, so this clearly wasn’t the plan.
Pk5 horses: 5-7
Race 3: 3upfm 80k/N3X going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf
Ah, to be Chad Brown. It’s not too often you get to run a GIII winner in an allowance race, but that’s the case with #2 GRAND JETE, who won the Eatontown last time, drew perfectly here and looks far too good for these. If you want to nitpick, you could say “Shouldn’t she be running in Saratoga’s GI Diana in a few weeks?” but, this is a loaded turf barn and Brown may have another Juddmonte miss for that spot. If there’s an upsetter in the bunch, it’s probably either #4 Bar of Gold or #6 All in Fun, but the former was just an OK 4th in her turf debut three-back and the latter seems off form after running a distant 5th to the pick at Monmouth. I’ll take the (expected) free square.
Pk5 horses: 2
Race 4: 3up NYB 25k claimer going 6 furlongs
It’s tough to separate the main contenders, so I’m not going to try, and will use #7 MIGHTY ZEALOUS (should trip out perfectly), #1 SALTINE WARRIOR (the one to fear late), #3 MANIPULATED (the class and inside speed) and #8 LOVE THAT JAZZ (the outside speed who will get first run). I’m also going to toss in big longshot #6 PEGASUS RED, who wasn’t far behind ‘Zealous last time and should be closing. I’m being stubborn by not using #4 Global Positioning, but Bruce Brown is 3-for-42 at the meet and continues to send out horses who come up empty late.
Pk5 horses: 7-1-3-8-6
Race 5: 3upfm NYB MCL 40k going 6 furlongs on the inner turf
I’m not brave enough to single #1 RAGAZZA DI PAPA, even though she was a sharp 2nd off the 13-month layoff last time and should only improve off that return, but if you’re on a budget I wouldn’t blame you for doing so. I do think she’s much better than all the proven runners, which is why I’m using #9 GRANDPA’S ARIANNA in her debut, as she’s a daughter of potent turf sire More Than Ready, drew a nice outside attack post and shows a very sharp work 6/15 for George Weaver, who may be ready to go on a tear after a very slow and prolonged start to the meet. If you want more coverage you can look at #10 Shrink, #3 Mazmania, #7 Alyssa and a Lisa and #8 Subtle Grace, but none of them have the look of a filly who can beat the chalk.
Pk5 horses: 1-9
The ticket: 1-3-7-2-6-4 with 5-7 with 2 with 7-1-3-8-6 with 1-9 = $60