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Weekly Bankroll Builder: How I'm Betting Belmont's Friday Pick 5

by Brian Nadeau

May 31, 2018

As we forge on towards the Belmont Stakes next weekend, let’s try to add a few dollars to our bankroll through what could be a formful Friday sequence. Whereas in the past I’ve put together one caveman ticket on a small-scale budget, going forward I’m 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. ***

Race 1: 3up 20k MCL going 7 furlongs

There’s not much in the opener, and we’ll have a heavy favorite in #5 C K DEXTER HAVEN (7-5), who drops in half, goes second-off the Jacobson claim, and will (presumably) run on a fast track for the first time since the claim, as he caught mud when 3rd last time. He’s the pick, but I also don’t trust him, which is why I’ll also use #4 BLATANT (9-2), who has run just twice, seems to be moving forward, and will hopefully run on a fast track for the first time since Lasix was added.

Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 5,4

I have no idea why #1 UNCLE POCKETS is the 5-2 second-choice on the ML, since he was absolutely dreadful in his debut in November at GPW for 50k for Jason Servis and hasn’t been seen since, but Irad is here and this barn is aces, especially with blinkers-on (36%), so I’ll use him. The figures say #7 Street Cat Sam (6-1) is in the mix, but he’s also run them because the winners posted big winning margins and he was within shouting distance, so they seem a bit inflated.

Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): 1

Race 2: 2yo NYB MSW going 5 furlongs

This is a toughie, so tabbing the double will-pays is imperative, since none of these 2yos have started. I’d expect #2 TALES OF CHACUER (7-2) to be favored, and maybe heavily, since he’s worked very fast in the AM, was a pricey 58k as a 2yo-in-training earlier this year, and up-and-coming young trainer Norm Casse tabs Jose Ortiz to ride. It could be foolish, but he’s the lone A.

Pk5 A horses: 2

From there you could use any number of them, but I’ll go with only #3 LE GENERAL (5-2), who cost 125k as a 2yo-in-training, has a sharp drill showing 5/10 and Nevin, who is having a banner meet, lured Velazquez to ride. They only paid 4k as a yearling for #7 DURKIN’S CALL (9-2), but Trombetta is crafty, he enters with a bullet in the holster, and rarely does a horse who is named after a famous person turn out to be a total dud. Obviously #1 Stop Me If You Can (3-1) scares me, but the rail is never easy for a firster and Rodriguez isn’t necessarily a 2yo debut trainer, so I’ll make him prove it.

Pk5 B horses: 3,7

Race 3: 3up 32k claimer going 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf

By far the toughest race in the sequence, which is why I’m going to use the all-ball, since I have zero confidence in any of them. All have their attributes, but all have their drawbacks too, and they seem tough to separate, so I won’t do so. What I will do, however, is limit the A-level backup horses to just three, to keep the cost of the ticket down. Those are #6 MOTIVATIONAL (8-1), who starts for long-distance turf specialist Fisher and lures Castellano; #1 WAR BOND (7-2), who could be a Lone F in a paceless race; and #7 LAYTHATPISTOLDOWN (5-2), who does have some big figures but is an underlay for Navarro, who doesn’t win as much in NY as he does elsewhere. There’s no doubt #8 LUCKY RAMSEY (3-1), #4 NEOCLASSIC (9-2) and #9 KING OF NEW YORK (5-1) could also be backup ticket A’s, but the distance could be a problem for them all, and I’m not sure any of them are going to move forward, which they will need to do to win. I can’t possible see #5 MR MAYBE (20-1) winning, but he’s never been in this cheap, has a ton of back class, and just as importantly, it costs just $4 to add him to the main ticket.

Pk5 A horses: 6,1,7,8,4,9, 5

Pk5 B horses: NONE

Race 4: 3up 14k N3L going 1-mile

We could have a match race between #4 PROUD ZIP (3-1) and #6 YOUR SECRET’S SAFE (1-1), and they are the only A’s, but it’s the former who gets the call, as he should improve off his return from an 11-month layoff, will be a better price, and drops in class too. The latter deserves to be favored off all those big OP figures, but he’s a bit tough to trust too on the steep drop and his lack off speed will be a big worry cutting back to one-turn too.

Pk5 A horses: 4,6

The lone backup is #5 KENYAN (8-1), who comes out of a good race, will sit a nice stalking trip, offer plenty of value, and goes for a Sciacca barn that is quietly having a big meet.

Pk5 B horses: 5

Race 5: 3upfm 80k/N4X going 6 furlongs on the inner turf

We could have another match race on our hands, as #2 TILLIE’S LILY (6-5) and #3 TOUCH OF BLING (5-2) seem far above this field, but I don’t really get the odds discrepancy, as the latter has run faster figures of late than the former ever has, plus she has a huge recency edge, since ‘Lily hasn’t started since October. The other reason I like ‘Bling best is that she is drawn outside of ‘Lily, which gives her a huge tactical edge, since they look like by far the two speeds. I guess #6 Spellker (7-2) isn’t impossible, but her return was dreadful, plus she’s never run fast enough to beat the top pair.

Pk5 A horses: 3,2

Pk5 B horses: NONE

The main A ticket is 2x1x6x2x2 for $28, and that’s our starting point. But by adding in our B horses in with the A’s in the other legs, we can get more coverage and allow for some margin for error too. As you’ll see below, the backups tickets are a more cost conducive way of getting added coverage, without breaking the bank; if we played both the A’s and the B’s together, the ticket would cost a robust $162, which just doesn’t make a lot of sense on a sequence like this, as opposed to the $64 the ones below will cost. I’m also an advocate of playing you’re A ticket for $1 (or more), so you capitalize if you handicap it out of the park.

My Ticket

Main Ticket: 5,4 with 2 with 6,1,7,8,4,9,5 with 4,6 with 3,2 = $28
R1 B Backup: 1 with 2 with 6,1,7 with 4,6 with 3,2 =$6
R2 B Backup: 5,4 with 3,7 with 6,1,7 with 4,6 with 3,2 = $24
R4 B Backup: 5,4 with 2 with 6,1,7 with 5 with 3,2 = $6