by Johnny D
May 27, 2021
If you’re in a Friday gambling mood (and who isn’t?), there are a few spots that seem tailor made to give this Memorial Day holiday weekend a flying start and they all center around what’s happening at Pimlico. Two weekends ago, the Baltimore track was the center of the racing universe when it hosted the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Stakes and it’s a pretty interesting spot for horseplayers again Friday.
Last Sunday, no one had all five winners in Pimlico’s Pick 5. That means there’s a carryover of over $115k into Friday’s wager which begins with the fifth race at 2:40 pm ET. That’s a decent chunk of dead money in the pool. And that bread can’t beat you, but you can win it—always a golden opportunity. I know what you’re going to say, you don’t regularly play Pimlico. Fine, neither do many others that will take a swing at this attractive $.50 Pick 5 carryover opportunity.
Note, this isn’t an official ‘mandatory’ Pick 5 payout, but it plays nearly the same. Except in this case, if no one selects all five winners, the pool will carry over to Saturday. However, with added wagering attention a $115k carryover brings, chances of that happening are small. Players who sweep the card’s last five live races will share in Friday’s entire pool plus the carryover amount—all that dead money.
As long as you’re handicapping Pimlico’s last five races, you might as well take a gander at the $.20 Pick 6 that begins one race earlier on the card. That jackpot-style wager has a state-record pool of nearly $709k. Unlike with the Pick 5, that jackpot won’t be paid out unless there happens to be a single winning ticket. That’s unlikely to happen, but not impossible. Chances are the jackpot Pick 6 pool will continue to grow without a single winner until the track decides to clear the deck with a mandatory payout on a future date. While there was no ‘only’ winning Pick 6 ticket Sunday at the Maryland track, anyone with six correct winners collected over $19k! Not bad for a $.20 throw. You might consider asking if you’re walking around lucky Friday and take swipes at both the Pimlico Pick 5 and Pick 6.
Pimlico’s ninth race, final leg for both the Pick 5 and Pick 6, also kicks off this week’s Stronach 5 wager at 4:47 pm ET. The wager includes Santa Anita’s third, Golden Gate’s third and Gulfstream’s eighth and ninth. Loyal Stronach 5 players already know what a fantastic wager it is with juicy $1 payoffs each week at a low 12% percent takeout.
Below is one man’s opinion of the five races that make up the $115k carryover in the Pimlico Pick 5. Selections were made before scratches and are for Fast and Firm conditions. Also-Eligible runners have not been considered except in the ninth race where there are a pair of Main Track Only runners in the body of the race and serious challengers waiting to run.
FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2021
PIMLICO // RACE 5 (2:52PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)
This is an overflowing turf dash at five furlongs and they often contain surprises. Many of these are stepping up in class and are trying turf for the first time, hence a bit of a grab-bag scenario. #2 Asbuilt seems to have found a decent spot for her first try against winners after a maiden claiming dirt score where she was clear and just held on going a half furlong further than today. #3 Cindy’s Prayer is the 9-5 favorite and the new face in the area. She has a pair of elongated Louisiana Downs turf sprints that fit well on figures. She’s been off since December, though, and goes for capable new trainer Cathal Lynch. #10 Make It a Double has an interesting look as she drops back to what was a competitive level a year ago.
USE: #10, #3, #2
PIMLICO // RACE 6 (3:11PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
This is either a slam dunk single or a challenging maiden maiden claiming heat. That all depends on how you feel about 2-1 morning-line favorite #5 Wicked Hot. If you think she can repeat her first-out, last-out strong rally she’s a single. If not, break out the net. #2 Kalenjin is a Munnings first-time starter for the potent team trainer/jockey team of Brittany and Sheldon Russell. They combine to hit at a strong 23%. Additionally, the trainer is 29% with first-out runners and the sire’s runners hit at 15%. Love the 1:01 3/5 five-furlong gate drill this one posted May 7—a sure sign of fitness. #5 Wicked Hot has to be respected off a second-place finish in what was a fast race for the level according to Beyer Speed Figures. But was it too strenuous for the filly to repeat in three weeks? #4 Originalist has a decent five-furlong gate move in 1:02 and is by 15% first out winning sire Constitution. #1 No Chance Given already has been given a few chances, but this will be her first start for trainer Claudio Gonzalez who hits at a torrid 28% first-off a claim.
USE: #2, #1, #5, #4
PIMLICO // RACE 7 (3:43PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
Questions galore and a somewhat vulnerable 5/2 morning-line favorite make this tussle a puzzle. #1 Instinctive is an honest 5-year-old mare and starts with a capable 5-pound apprentice allowance and Carlos Marquez and a chance from the rail. #2 Petion Lass is the 5/2 morning-line favorite but hasn’t started since December. She went to the bench off a trio of runner-up efforts and has races in her past that would win this. Her last two wins came at one mile and she’s 0-3 at this six-furlong distance. #3 Pete’s Pride is a steady 4-year that fits off figs, but she’s won just 3 out of 20 and 1 out of 11 at the distance. #4 Parched Ghost cuts back off a decent mile and one-sixteenth try. The 6-year-old has won only 3 out of 30 but all 3 wins came at this distance. #5 Blue Sky Venezuela has the fastest recent races and was claimed at this level last out by Michael Gorham who is 29% off the claim. She’s the one to beat. Her 9 for 11 in the money record at the distance and blinkers added suggest she’s ready to fire. #7 Family Fortune will be making her fourth start in 36 days for 21% trainer Juan Serey. She’s won two of her last three, is coming back in just 7 days off a win and drew a cozy outside post. Trainer Serey is 29% with this move and this 5-year-old mare has 2 wins in 3 attempts at Pimlico.
MUST USE: #5, #7
MAYBE USE: #1, #3, #4
PIMLICO // RACE 8 (4:15PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
This first level allowance/$62,500 claimer for 3-year-olds going six furlongs appears to be a heavyweight bout between two of the hottest trainers at Pimlico, as well as a trio of talented runners. Kieron Magee, who’s hitting at a sterling 32% with 9 wins and 6 seconds from 28 starters at the current meet has a pair of challengers in morning-line 7-5 favorite #4 Cry No More and 9-2 shot #1 Palatial Times. Dale Bennet, batting a remarkable 57% from 4 wins in 7 starts with 6 of 7 in-the-money, has 8-5 second choice #2 Heir Port. While all three runners have chances, we prefer #2 Heir Port off a recent muddy track Pimlico score and a :35 1/5 DelPark, best-of-46 blowout May 22. He was claimed for $40k, started in two stakes and an allowance race at Monmouth and Laurel before going to the bench in November. He returned to win this condition last out in late April. Aggressively, he’s in for the $62,500 tag. #4 Cry No More went first-out for $40k and then hung on going six furlongs to win a maiden allowance. Two tries at five furlongs produced an off-the-turf restricted race allowance win. Six furlongs may be his limit, so he’ll be challenged by the presence of other speed. #1 Palatial Times is a bit interesting off a sneaky good try in the Gr. 3 Chick Lang on Preakness day. He comes from off the pace and may have found the right group of foes at the right time.
PIMLICO // RACE 9 (4:47PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)
Close out the Pick 6, Pick 5 and launch the Stronach 5 with this one-mile, turf test jam-packed with runners entered for claiming tags from $12,500 to $10,000. There are deep enough questions in here to keep philosophers stroking beards contemplatively for hours. Two Main Track Only runners are in the body of the race and we’ve ignored them while assuming this race will be on turf. If that’s the case, at least two Also Eligible runners could draw in and they are dangerous. #12 Gearhead is the 8/5 morning line favorite and he takes a stiff drop in class for trainer Michael Trombetta off a split-the-field effort at the $25k level at Belmont May 2. He has no speed and probably will race wide throughout. That’s a tough combo to take at a short price but the drop is significant. #10 My Man Pots N Pans starts for 0-18 trainer Kelly Rubley but ran well enough last out in his first turf try. He could improve on the new surface. From the Also Eligible List #14 Projected is a 9-year-old with 10 wins in 45 starts and solid recent form that includes a win going seven and one-half furlongs at Gulfstream in April at this level. 32% Trainer Kieron Magee is 18% with new students. #15 Rohrbacher’s been gone sine a poor effort as favorite at Charles Town on Leap Day. That was his first start for 19% trainer Hugh McMahon. This pace setting or pressing gelding tumbles in class for this return to turf where he’s won 3 of 6 with a second and third. He was entered in a race at DelPark Wednesday but scratched for this spot and he wins races—5 for 12—and McMahon is good off layoffs. #16 Gunslinger has speed and is 1-for-1 over Pimlico turf. He’s won 4 of 6 at the distance and drops in class off two wins at Gulfstream Park in February. Trainer Mary Eppler is winless at the meet in 11 starts but is 19% with runners off layoffs.
USE ALSO ELIGIBLE (IF RUNNING): #15, #16, #14
MY TICKET ($0.50)
Race 5: #10, #3, #2
Race 6: #2, #1, #5, #4
Race 7: #5, #7 (Add: #1, 3. #4)
Race 8: #2 (Add: #1)
Race 9: #10 #15, #16, #14
Cost: $48 before adds and AEs