by Brian Nadeau
September 1, 2017
With the Saratoga meet coming to a close Labor Day, let’s see if we can bag a Pk5 Friday before all the dust settles and go out on a high.
Race 1: 3up 14k N3L going 1 1/8 miles
There’s not a lot going on in the opener, as it looks like a match race between #2 ENDURING HONOR and #5 AUGIE’S COMING, as they were just 2-3 at the level and seem tons the best on paper. The former had a lot of trouble last time yet still beat the latter, so that’s the way I’ll play it, though I will use both of them to kick off the sequence.
Pk5 horses (listed in order of preference): 2-5
Race 2: MSW for 2yo fillies going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf
In a race where the proven runners don’t inspire, and the majority of the firsters don’t either, this looks like a great spot for #4 BRATTATA to hit the ground running in her debut for Chad Brown, as she’s by ace turf sire More Than Ready, is out of a classy damn and lures Jose Ortiz. Getting back to the turf should help #5 PUTTINYOUONTHENEWS, who was a close 4th on the grass in her debut and then regressed a bit (on figures) when 3rd here on the dirt. I guess I could use #10 CHIPOLINA, as she debuts for Wesley Ward, but tis wide draw is a worry and the works don’t really whisper ready, and have plenty of gaps too. It’s would also a good idea to check the daily double will plays from R1, to see if anyone is live and taking more money than you’d suspect they would.
Pk5 horses: 4-5
Race 3: 3yo 20k going 6 furlongs
We’ve finally come to a spread race, as the favorites seem a bit tough to trust and some mid-priced contenders have some appeal, so I’ll be doing just that here. My top choice is #3 HIGH FIVE COTTON, who won’t be anywhere remotely close to his 20-1 ML but should still offer a hint of value and won with a solid figure the last time he ran on a fast main track. The pace looks honest, which will help the late run of #5 VALHALLA, who mowed them down last time and can do so again. A hot pace would also benefit #8 ETHAN HUNT, who has no speed and goes for a cold Toscano barn, but should be rolling late and isn’t out of this on paper. There’s little doubt #6 BUDDY ANTHONY can win, but he’ll be way overbet and could meet some pace pressure, so while he’s a must-use, he’s not the type I want to stand alone with. The same can be said with #4 ITALIAN SYNDICATE, who could find himself in a pace sandwich and will be a big underlay, with modest overall form too.
Pk5 horses: 3-5-8-6-4
Race 4: 3up 12.5k going 7 furlongs
I’m going to hope that the addition of blinkers and stretch back to 7Fs will help #1 TUG OF WAR, who was a little flat last time going 6Fs but had sharp form going longer in his previous starts. Taking a new face in here might not be a bad idea either, and that’s what you get with #6 MAJOR LEAGUE, who lures Jose Ortiz and has some figures to win this, even though he invades from Prairie Meadows. It’s tough to toss #4 ALL ABOUT ASHLEY, who enters in top form for a Michelle Nevin barn that has been having a terrific meet. If the big underlay of the race, #2 DRAXHALL WOODS, wants to win, he can do it without me, as the big figure win two-back looks a lot more like the exception than the rule.
Pk5 horses: 1-6-4
Race 5: 3up 50k N3: going 7 furlongs
There’s not much speed entered, which means #2 AVAST MATEY might shake loose early and get brave late, at what figures to be a nice price too. Thinking along those lines, the class dropping #1 DEEP SEA should be close throughout, and running as a first-time gelding could wake him up in a big way. The lack of early speed will hurt #5 DIVINE INTERVENTIO, who is a deep closer, but he’s also a stiff dropper who hits hard on paper.
Pk5 horses: 2-1-5
The ticket: 2-5 with 4-5 with 3-5-8-6-4 with 1-6-4 with 2-1-5 = $90