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Weekly Bankroll Builder: Friday, August 10 Saratoga Pick 5 Ticket

by Brian Nadeau

August 8, 2018

With some potentially vulnerable favorites as well as horses we can lean on, let’s take a look at a good Friday sequence. Whereas in the past I’ve put together one caveman ticket on a small-scale budget, I’m now 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: 3ups 14k N3L at 7 furlongs

The 64k question is what do you do with #4 PLANET TRAILBLAZER (2-1), who wins this by the length of the stretch if he’s right but hasn’t been out since October and plummets in class one start removed from being claimed for 50k? Oh, by the way, did I mention Serpe is 0-for-11 off this extended layoff and this gelding shows just five published works, and all of them resemble that of a horse pulling a sulky behind him, as opposed to carrying a jokey on top of him. I’m not stubborn enough to toss him, but I’m also not crazy enough to single him. My top pick goes to #6 CAVALLOTTO (3-1), who takes a slight drop in class for a Bond barn that is having its usual strong meet, and that win two-back probably wins this too, especially if the chalk is in fact a race or two away from anything close to his best. I’m also going to use #2 TARUCA (9-2), as the turf-to-dirt and drop in class could work, and Catalano doesn’t have many here, so you would think the ones who are figure to be able to compete.

Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 6,4,2

I probably don’t need to use #7 KENYAN (5-1), since he hasn’t won in 19 starts and almost two years, but he’s always in the mix and has competitive figures, and if I’m taking the premise that Plante Trailblazer is a very vulnerable favorite, then that means anything goes.

Pk5 B horses (listed in order of preference): 7

Race 2: 3upfm 40k MCL at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf

This is almost a carbon copy of the opener, in that there is a heavy favorite, #4 AMAZING AUDREY (8-5), who wins this with ease if she’s right, but now drops to 40k off a quintet of solid MSW runs, so you’re allowed to think she’s not the lock the toteboard will tell you she is. She also has to be used, as Pletcher is, well, Pletcher, but this is the type of favorite you go broke over if you play too much. I’m stabbing with #2 RED CURLS (12-1), as Lerman usually gets one up here each summer, and this Tampa MSW dropper does have a few races that make her a contender. You also have to use #5 LOVE TO SHARE (4-1), who will love getting back to the turf and has her own solid MSW form on display this spring at CD.

Pk5 A horses: 2,4,5

The only other horse I’m remotely interested in is #6 SECRET QUALITY (3-1), who has run just twice, showed good form in both starts for Clement and goes off the claim for Maker, though that is a bit of an overrated move at this juncture and it’s tough to figure he can get much improvement from a sharp turf barn, hence the reason she’s a finger B at best.

Pk5 B horses: 6

Race 3: 3upfm 80k/N3X at 6 ½ furlongs

It looks like we have a potential Lone F in #1 QUICK RELEASE (5-1), as she’s been showing high speed in her sprints and goes for a Dini barn that has already won with a wire-to-wire winner at the meet; here’s hoping she forgets to stop. From there things get a bit muddled, as #4 YOU KNOW TOO (2-1), who adds blinkers and cuts back after showing some tactical speed routing; #2 TREBLE (3-1) who has the best form but was a no-show when blinkers were added last time, albeit in the GII Princess Rooney; and #3 LUZ MIMI (5-2), who figures to appreciate getting back to a fast main track, all figure and can win this on their best. I’m going to use them all and call it a day, and if #5 Thirteen Songs (6-1) or #6 Always On My Mind (8-1) beat me, well, so be it.

Pk5 A horses: 1,4,2,3

Pk5 B horses: NONE

Race 4: 3upfm 25k N2L at 1 1/8 miles

I’m playing this race to have an honest pace with several who won’t see out the 1 1/8 miles, which is why I like #2 LONG GRAY LINE (3-1), who has some solid CD route form, drops in class, should have a bit more focus with the blinkers going on, and has shown he can pass horses late. Pletcher figures to have the favorite in #7 MALIBU STRINGS (5-2), and the drop and return to the dirt will work, but he’s no guarantee routing, will be overbet from a poor draw, and could get caught up in the expected contested pace. The drop, return to two turns, ground-saving post and race flow could all equate to a big run from #1 LOOKIN AT BLESSING (8-1), and as sad as it is, he won’t have to improve much off the Kee 3rd this spring to play with these.

PLEASE NOTE that Long Gray Line will be my “Super-A” for R5 backup purposes, as he keeps that ticket to an affordable amount while also maximizing on my strongest opinion in the sequence in R5 (see below).

Pk5 A horses: 2,7,1

If someone is to outlast all the other speed, maybe it’s #4 SINGLE GEM (5-1), as he pressed a sharp half-mile going one-turn at Belmont last time and held well to be 2nd behind New York Derby-bound Binkster, goes for a hot Diodoro barn, and has worked big for this, which isn’t something you see too often from 25k claimers.

Pk5 B horses: 4

Race 5: 2yof NYB MSW at 5 ½ furlongs on the Melon turf

Nothing comes easy in the cashout leg, as the majority of the field is filled with firsters who go for top connections. However, I think there’s a chance to be aggressive here and single #7 TWO SHAKES (3-1), as she’s worked big for Ward, lures main man JV and is half to GI Del Mar Debutante winner Sunset Glow (who Ward trained). I also think she’s likely to be a lot more precocious than some of her rivals, which only adds to her appeal, and it’s worth noting she scratched from an off the turfer earlier in the meet, which means they know they have the goods on the grass.

Pk5 A horses: 7

From there anything goes, and it’s obvious you would want to use #3 FIERCE SCARLETT (5-2), a Brown firster by Scat Daddy and #10 PAKHET (4-1), who debuts for Pletcher with solid works and a nice attack post. The one who may be a bit off the radar is #6 GLOBAL EXCHANGE (15-1), as she may have tipped her hand with that big 6/16 work at Belmont, and while Toner isn’t known for his firsters, he knows what to do with a nice grass filly. I’m passing on #9 Foggy Kitten (8-1), a Ward-Ramsey homebred, as she has just four published works, which are all very slow, and being by Kitten’s Joy, she figures to want more ground anyway.

Pk5 B horses: 2,10,6

This will be one of the more expansive tickets I’ve played in this space; the main A ticket is 3x3x4x3x1 for $54, 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 (which the exception of the R5 backup) 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 (4x4x4x4x4) would cost an robust $512, which essentially makes the stronger opinions the same as the weaker ones, whereas this is a much more reasonable $162. 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 Tickets

Main Ticket: 6,4,2 with 2,4,5 with 1,4,2,3 with 2,7,1 with 7 = $54
R1 B Backup: 7 with 2,4,5 with 1,4,2,3 with 2,7,1 with 7 = $18
R2 B Backup: 6,4,2 with 6 with 1,4,2,3 with 2,7,1 with 7 = $18
R4 B Backup: 6,4,2 with 2,4,5 with 1,4,2,3 with 4 with 7 = $18
R5 B Backup: 6,4,2 with 2,4,5 with 1,4,2,3 with 2 with 2,10,6 = $54