by Johnny D
September 16, 2017
To be fair, I’m not a Hi 5 player. In fact, you can count the number of times I’ve actually made the wager on one finger. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I’m too busy trying to pick the first TWO finishers in a race to attempt to figure the first FIVE across the line? Also, at my usual gambling haunts the $1 minimum Hi 5 keeps my gambling horse in the barn. Stacking potential first, second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers at a buck a throw causes ticket prices to surge higher than an angry Atlantic. Of course, risk often is accompanied by reward and Hi 5 payoffs usually are impressive.
So, above admitted, why would anyone enlist my opinion on how to play Woodbine’s Jackpot Hi 5 Saturday? That’s what I said. Unfortunately, the suits at Xpressbet thought account holders might want a suggested Hi 5 wager and they tabbed me to present it. I explained that I’m not normally a Hi 5 player, but that didn’t matter. “You’re not going to pick the winning combination anyway, so what does it matter?” they countered. I agreed to do it.
When it comes to this particular Jackpot Hi 5 wager in the last race at Woodbine Saturday there will be some extenuating circumstances:
First, there’s a $1.4 million (precisely $1,425,365.45) carryover in the wager and that’s a lot of bread--in Canadian or US currency.
Second, Saturday there will be a mandatory entire pool payout to everyone picking the first five finishers in exact order. Normally, it takes a single winning ticket to sweep the pot. Like a kid dreaming of a new bike while feeding a piggy bank, Woodbine’s been hoarding a percentage of Jackpot Hi 5 wagers all summer while eyeing a potential high-profile Woodbine Mile-Day mandatory payoff. To make certain no killjoy would clear the carryover account in the shadow of the big day, Woodbine has had the wager on ice since September 10.
Third, Woodbine’s Jackpot Hi 5 has a 20-cent minimum. That’s gives small players like you and I a shot at spreading enough to be dangerous. Obviously, the more horses and placings a player can cover, the better their chances of cashing, but a 20-cent minimum is a lot less expensive than $1…five times less expensive.
Fourth, Woodbine and NYRA will combine forces to present a well-publicized Pick 5 wager that includes four graded stakes—the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, the Grade 2 Canadian and the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf—at Woodbine—as well as the Grade 2, Sands Point at Belmont. The sequence will start with the Canadian at 4:30 pm ET and will have a 20-cent minimum. Every public handicapper with a keyboard will offer an opinion on how to play that wager, so you won’t need my input.
Fifth, Saturday’s Jackpot Hi 5 wager has an attractive 15 percent takeout. That means you lose less money than usual before the races even begin!
Here’s one man’s opinion on how to play Woodbine’s 20-cent minimum Jackpot Hi 5 in Saturday’s 13th race. Since this handicapper is a Hi 5 maiden (he’s never cashed a winning ticket) let’s call what’s below a ‘Crackpot’ Hi 5. We’ll close our eyes, cross our fingers, and hit ‘Submit’ because it’s impossible to win it if you’re not in it!
1. Orphan Queen 8-1
This 3-year-old filly has had two tries at the Maiden 20k level on turf and she’s run well in both—2nd beaten less than one length at one mile in June and an easy nearly 4-length winner last out at six furlongs over ‘good’ turf. Can she make the big step up from a maiden win and act with winners next out? Since we’re looking for the top FIVE finishers we’ve got to respect her a bit.
2. Rockport Dancer 6-1
A 5-year-old mare that hasn’t distinguished herself on turf, she has been in the money 7 out of 16 times—only 1 for 4 on turf. She finished second beaten just a nose last out at this level first out for new trainer Danny Vella. Even though she’s never actually won a race—she was placed first via disqualification at Santa Anita in February for her only win in 16 starts—she has to be respected in here.
3. Khawlah 20-1
In 10 lifetime starts, this 3-year-old filly has finished in the top five just 3 times. She was fifth at this level two back, so she’s a reach in here.
4. Katrina’s Way 4-1
This 3-year-old filly comes from a live barn and was fourth, beaten less than a length in a troubled journey last out. She returned with a bullet half mile—best of 62 since. She’s been in the money 3 out of 10 starts, including a close runner-up finish three back, when she was claimed by Denyse McClachrie—a 26% winner at the meeting. She’s a ‘must use’ in the top slots.
5. Prized Bourbon 3-1
Here’s the class-dropper and morning-line favorite. She’s solid—10 out of 18 in the money and just 3 times worse than fifth in her last 12 races. Trainer Darwin Banach is solid with 20% winners at the meet. Don’t need to play ‘beat the favorite’ in the Hi 5…just make sure you have all 5 in the correct order and you’ll collect plenty. It’s difficult to ignore this one in here in the top spots.
6. Office in the Sky 8-1
Bit of a sneaky play in here as Office in the Sky romped by four lengths last out for her initial victory in 10 lifetime starts. What’s noteworthy about the win is that it was her first try on turf! She hails from a 13% winning barn (Paul M. Buttigieg) and is ridden by the meet’s leading jock Eurico Rosa Da Silva. Those are concrete things to like about her.
7. Wingaway 10-1
She was a well-beaten second last out at this level August 25 at 12-1 and hasn’t recorded a workout since. She’s tried this level three times (once on turf and twice on artificial) and been fifth or better in all three. She wouldn’t be a ‘key,’ but maybe could serve as a late addition to the bottom rungs of the ticket.
8. Madame Gizmo 15-1
After breaking maiden for $20k on the synthetic at Woodbine, ‘Madame’ finished fourth of seven at 30-1 in a restricted stakes race on grass at Fort Erie last out August 22. She was sixth in her only Woodbine turf try with $16k maidens. She’d be a reach for me and she hasn’t recorded a work since her last race.
9. Northern Colors 20-1
This will be her first turf try and just her third career start. She’s never been worse than second at lower levels. Real question mark.
10. Lookin Perfect 10-1
Broke maiden in second start for $25k tag, finished second at this level next out and fifth, beaten two lengths, at this level last out. Big price on this one and a real live player. Must use!
11. Redwin Romp 20-1
Hasn’t really done enough to qualify for inclusion on reasonable tickets.
12. Conflation 30-1
Can’t see it. Maybe you can?
13. Paddy Point 20-1
Just 5-1 odds last out at this level on the drop from allowance races, you could give her one more shot at the top five. However, she’s not considered one of the most reliable in the bunch and that 13-hole post position is about as enticing as an open wound.
Below is a suggested 20-cent ticket. It costs $108. If you’d like to cut it down or mix and match, please consult above horse-by-horse comments. Or, you can skip the whole thing entirely. After all, it is the ‘Crackpot’ Hi 5!
Saturday, Sept. 13--Woodbine Race 13--20-cent Jackpot Hi 5
Total Ticket Cost $108
First: 4, 5, 6
Second: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 10
Third: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 10
Fourth: 1, 2, 5, 10
Fifth: 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10