by Brian Nadeau
September 6, 2018
Belmont’s Fall Championship Meet kicks off Friday, so let’s see if we can get things off on the right foot and hit their Pk5. 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. ***
The meet opener seems to have a bit more going on than just #2 SANAVI (1-1) at short price, so I’ll use him, since he just missed at the level last time, but will also look for a few better price alternatives. The most interesting is #3 LA MAQUINA GRIS (5-1), who improved in a big way getting to dirt for the first time since the Toscano claim and should be closer today on the stretchout. It looks like #4 TRUSTWORTHY (2-1) has a big shot from a perfect attack post, and he won’t have to improve much off the N3L win off the Asmussen claim last time to double up.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 3,2,4
Anyone else seems like a reach, and though #1 Monaco did post a fast-figure win two-back at Parx, I don’t think that’s scaring anyone here and seems the exception, rather than the rule.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
In a race that looks extremely weak on paper and features experienced runners who don’t inspire at all, it seems prudent to go with the firsters, and #6 HOT DIGGITTY (3-1) and #2 BUSTIN HOFFMAN (4-1) look best, as the former drew perfectly for a sharp Jeremiah Englehart barn and the latter invades for Figgins, who is aces in the Midatlantic and is 23% on debut. If there is an experienced runner to be used, it’s #1 HONORABLE HERO (4-1), as he exits a fast MSW debut when 7th for Contessa, who never wins with firsters, and should like the drop.
Pk5 A horses: 6,2,1
There are others who could be on the top line but they have some knocks too, which is why they don’t make the cut. Most notably #5 CARTAYON (9-2), who goes for Rodriguez, but attracts Rosario, whom the barn seldom employs, which clouds things a bit. I’m also not sold on #4 SALOON GIRL (5-2), who is favored on debut for Ward, but cost just 3k as a weanling and is anyone’s guess today.
Pk5 B horses: 5,4
There’s a lot of different ways you can go here, which is a bit of a problem when you’re talking about a five-race sequence, but one thing we do know is there’s a lot of speed, so I’m going to look for the stalker/closers who have shown they can pass horses in the lane. The list starts with #2 PURE PRAISE (4-1), who steps up after beating a few of these last time and should get first run. I’m also using #1 GREASEDLIGHTNING (9-2), as she invades for a crafty Trombetta barn, has been running longer of late and should have plenty of foundation for this sprint. A drop in class could help #7 MISS KATIE BUG (3-1), who goes off the Chris Englehart claim and is the confirmed closer number the field.
Pk5 A horses: 2,1,7
If #4 PROPORTIONALITY (8-1) can get back to that run two-back she’s a big threat here, so she’s the top B at a price for a Handal barn coming off a big Saratoga meet. Who wants 5-2 on #6 TIED UP off her last, especially when she was 2-5 and lost to several of these, so whole Gullo is a big 21% off the claim, she needs to prove it and is only a backup here. The same goes for #3 KID CROFT (6-1), who does have the right running style but appears to feast on lesser, as she came up wanting in her lone NY start.
Pk5 B horses: 4,6,3
It may be “now or never” time for #8 BLUE ATLAS (3-1), who finally gets off the rail and has plenty of speed to get first run from a perfect attack post, which is why she’s the single on the drop. There’s also nothing else in here, which makes her look even more imposing.
Pk5 A horses: 8
Blue Atlas is also a bit tough to trust, so the backups are crucial, starting with #4 TIZ A KITTEN (4-1), who lures Jose Ortiz off some solid out of town turf form. The wildcard is #9 ESTHER THE QUEEN (7-2), who wins this on her best but hasn’t been seen in 15 months, though Nevin is a strong 18% off a 180+-day layoff. Getting back to one-turn could be the key for #10 CHINA RIDER (5-1), as she didn’t fire going long at the Spa but has some big figures here sprinting over the summer.
Pk5 B horses: 4,9,10
The finale is a bit tricky with a tough to trust favorite in #2 SHEPLAYSTHEFIELD (2-1), who has been abysmal in her last three against tons better and drops steeply off a no-show return, so while she’s an A, she’s not the top pick. That honor goes to #4 OVERBROOK (6-1), who is a price and may have some hidden form, since she caught slop two-back and then routed on the turf last time, which means you can (potentially) throw those efforts out and view her off the big win on dry land three-back.
Pk5 A horses: 4,2
You have to use the Contessa entry of #1 OUR WHIM (5-2) and #1AMY GIRL ANNIE, as both figure on their best and are in good form (the former) and/or aren’t far removed from it (the latter). I’m not going any deeper, but if you’re looking to expand, #6 Paranoia (6-1), #2 Impazible Creek (12-1) and #7 Terralsole (8-1) are hardly impossible.
Pk5 B horses: 1
The main ticket is an easy $27 base play, which is our starting point. As you’ll see below, the backups tickets allow for some added coverage without breaking the bank, while allowing you to play you’re A-ticket for more than the minimum. If you combined the A and B tickets, you’d have a big $540 (3x5x6x4x3) play on your hands, so, at $126, this is a much more cost conducive way of doing business, while still allowing for plenty of margin for error.
Main Ticket: 3,2,4 with 6,2,1 with 2,1,7 with 8 with 4,2 = $27
R2 B Backup: 3,2,4 with 5,4 with 2,1,7 with 8 with 4,2 = $18
R3 B Backup: 3,2,4 with 6,2,1 with 4,6,3 with 8 with 4,2 = $27
R4 B Backup: 3,2,4 with 6,2,1 with 2,1,7 with 4,9,10 with 4,2 = $40.50
R5 B Backup: 3,2,4 with 6,2,1 with 2,1,7 with 8 with 1 = $13.50