by Brian Nadeau
October 31, 2019
Let’s step away from the Stronach 5 for a week, since all eyes will be on Santa Anita and this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, and take a look at the early Pk5 sequence on the Friday card, which has a 50-cent base minimum, a low takeout, encompasses races 1-5, and ends with the first Breeders’ Cup race of the weekend, the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Please note the earlier post times as well.
*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. ***
Leg 1 (1:45 ET): GII Marathon for 3&up at 1 3/4 miles (1:45 ET)
We have an overwhelming favorite in #5 CAMPAIGN (4-5), who has excelled in these dirt marathons and beat his main rival, #1 ITSINTHEPOST (5-2), comfortably three-back in Del Mar’s GIII Cougar II at 1 1/2 miles, however, I’m going to try and see if the latter can post the mild surprise. The reason is two-fold; first, Itsinthepost has a lot more tactical speed than Campaign and will get first run, and second, the Cougar II was his first dirt start in ages and only second lifetime, so I would think he’ll get a lot out of it and can cut into the 1 1/2-length gap, at what will be a better price too. Campaign is clearly the one to beat and a logical single if you’re on a budget, but his lack of speed is a bit of a worry, and I see no reason he can improve off his form, as he basically runs the same race every time.
Pk5 A horses: 1,5 (listed in order of preference)
It’s tough to see anyone else upsetting the top pair, especially since the other four all want to be involved up front to some degree. If #2 American Tattoo (4-1) can settle a bit he’ll have a chance, but his only two competitive races in the US have been over off tracks when he’s pressing the pace, and the former isn’t in play here and the latter seems a recipe for disaster, so I’ll leave it in the hands of the two favorites and call it a day.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 2 (2:20 ET): – 3upfm AOC (40k/N1X) at 1-mile (turf)
This one looks like a spread, as there are a lot that seem within a length or two of each other, but there also looks like there’s going to be an aggressive pace, so I’ll tier my plays that way. Both #2 QUERELLE (15-1) and #10 AN EDDIE SQUARE (8-1) fit the profile, and they ran 4th and 3rd, respectively, in the same race last time but I’ll side with the former, as she’ll be a better price and drew much better as well. The outside draw will help #9 HEATHERS GRAY (7-2), who wants to be involved but may be able to settle a bit, but she does rise in class, so tread lightly. I’ll also use #8 ZUZANNA (5-1), since she was facing better in Kentucky in her last two and will be rolling late also.
Pk5 A horses: 2,10,9,8
I’ll have two underneath—#4 OPUS WON (8-1) and #3 KOOKIE GIRL (10-1)—since the former still has upside and the latter might be the best of the speed, but neither are close to the top line, so play accordingly. If the money shows in the double on #11 Tiger Silk (8-1) you might want to include her, but Mandella is a combined 0-for-26 with first-time imports, Lasix, and in his barn, so you probably want to watch one first.
Pk5 B horses: 4,3
Leg 3 (2:55 ET): – Golden State Juvenile Fillies for Cal-bred 2-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs
It looks like we have a standout in #11 BEEN STUDYING HER (5-2), who was 9-2 in the GI Chandelier and ran well to 4th, and beat Cal-bred stakes foes at Del Mar two-back, and seemingly meets a modest crew filled with speed, which will only flatter her stalking style, so she’s a single for me.
Pk5 A horses: 11
I’ll use a few prices underneath—#9 CHOLULA LIPS (12-1) and #12 SMILING SHIRLEE (8-1)—since both have shown they can settle and pass horses, though if you’re on a really tight budget you could do worse than singling ‘Her. I don’t want a short price on #8 Bulletproof One (3-1), especially since she bombed at odds-on behind ‘Her at Del Mar and might get fried on the pace here, so she can beat me if she feels like rebounding. (Please note that, to keep the cost of the backup ticket down, I’ll only be using my top two choices, #9 Four Wheel Drive and #10 A’Ali, in the final leg).
Pk5 B horses: 9,12
Leg 4 (3:32 ET) – Golden State Juvenile Cal-bred 2-year-olds at 7 furlongs
The brother race to the Juvenile Fillies looks a bit tougher so I’ll use four on the top line—#8 GREAT ULYSSES (8-1), who has faced open foes in the Midwest for Cox, #7 CHIPPER (8-1), a troubled 2nd on debut, #11 SQUARE DEAL (7-2), a two-time Cal-bred stakes winner, and #2 CALI DUDE (4-1), who beat Chipper on debut and but looks like an underlay as the inside speed.
Pk5 A horses: 8,7,11,2
There’s a lot of speed here, which means #4 DAPPER (12-1) could be a player late, as he’s shown a rating gear and should like getting out of the shadow of Raging Whiskey, who he was 2nd to last time in a state-bred stakes, while well clear of 3rd.
Pk5 B horses: 4
Leg 5 (4:12 ET) – GII Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for 2yos at 5 furlongs (turf)
I don’t have a strong opinion here, other than I don’t think the favorites have to win, so I’m going to spread deep, which is easily doable with a single earlier in the sequence and a 50-cent base wager. My top pick is #9 FOUR WHEEL DRIVE (3-1), who was sharp winning at Belmont, but Euros #10 A’ ALI (6-1) and longshot #11 KING NEPTUNE (15-1) both intrigue and will offer more value. I have no knocks on #7 KIMARI (7-2), though I think she’ll be overbet and meets way tougher than who she beat at Keeneland, while #1 CHIMNEY ROCK (10-1), #12 CAMBRIA (12-1), and #5 ENCODER (15-1) will all be closing and
(Please note that, to keep the cost of the backup ticket down, I’ll only be using 9,10,11,7 on the other two backup tickets).
Pk5 A horses: 9,10,11,7,1,12,5
Euros #2 BAND PRACTICE (12-1), #8 DR SIMPSON (15-1), #4 DREAM SHOT (15-1), and #6 ALLIGATOR ALLEY (12-1) all appear to have talent and have been group tested overseas, though I worry the faster pace they’ll see here will be tough to adjust to, so I’ll use them underneath. Finally, should #3 Another Miracle (15-1) for an ice cold Gary Contessa barn beat me, welllllllll, so be it.
Pk5 B horses: 2,8,4,6
Main Ticket: 1,5 with 2,10,9,8 with 11 with 8,7,11,2 with 9,10,11,7,1,12,5 = $112
Leg 2 B Backup: 1,5 with 4,3 with 11 with 8,7,11,2 with 9,10,11,7 = $32
Leg 3 B Backup: 1,5 with 2,10,9,8 with 9,12 with 8,7,11,2 with 9,10 = $64
Leg 4 B Backup: 1,5 with 2,10,9,8 with 11 with 4 with 9,10,11,7 = $16
Leg 5 B Backup: 1,5 with 2,10,9,8 with 11 with 8,7,11,2 with 2,8,4,6 = $64