by Brian Nadeau
September 19, 2018
Belmont’s Fall Championship Meet is in full swing, so let’s see if we can pad our bankroll and hit their Pk5. 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 48 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: 3upfm 12.5k claimer at 6 furlongs
The opener is a tricky one, as both heavy ML favorites—#1 Asians’ Way (8-5) and #2 LOOSE (2-1)—seemingly have some holes in them and look vulnerable, which makes them worth trying to beat at false odds. I will use the latter, as she could be the speed of the speed, but I’m very worried about Tony Dutrow being able to improve her off the claim from Cox (and Rodriguez before that). My top pick is #4 DEAN’S TICKET (6-1), who has been in sharp form at FL, should trip out beautifully, and it’s great to see Chris Englehart ship down I-90 with a chance at a bigger prize. I’ll also use #5 LOU’S CHARDONNAY (3-1), who drops off a no-show for 25k but goes off the Rice claim, a big 30% angle.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 4,5,2
You can’t completely toss #1 ASIAN’S WAY, but she’s also a bit tough to trust, as she drew the rail and an unknown Magner barn now drops her off a win after claiming her from Toscano for 20k; tread lightly folks.
Pk5 B horses: 1
R2: 3upfm 40k MCL at 6 furlongs on the inner turf
While not technically a match race, the second leg looks a lot like one, as #1 RAVEN’S RABBIT (3-1) and #6 KEOTA (6-5) look like they lay over the field on the drop from the MSW ranks. The separator is the fact that the former has a ton of early speed and may be loose (and will be a much better price too), while the latter is a bit at the mercy of the pace and could be left with too much to do off the far turn. I’ll use them both and call it a day.
Pk5 A horses: 1,6
There are no B’s, since the top-2 just look too good, though you could use #7 Rachel’s Smokin (10-1), who goes second-off the long layoff and #8 Appreciate (6-1), who was just a good 2nd at the level but obviously faces tons better today, if you’re spreading a bit deeper than I am.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
R3: 3upfm MSW at 6 ½ furlongs
This could be the race that really spices things up, as the two favorites—#3 GOLDEN AWARD (5-2) and #7 OUR CIRCLE OF LOVE (2-1)—are both huge threats, but have also burned a ton of money, seemingly have no upside, could get caught up in a race filled with speed, and offer no value. I’m using both as A’s, but they aren’t at the top. I’m playing this one to come apart a bit late, and therefore going with #2 FACE IT (8-1) and #1 LADY HESTER (12-1), as the former should improve a ton off a troubled debut for McLaughlin, while the latter was a good 3rd on the turf off a 16-month layoff and is bred to love the turf. You have to use #4 CIRCLEOFCOMPETENCE (9-2), as she has big works for his unveiling for Brown, though it’s worth noting they came at Monmouth, where she was (potentially) with the second stringers.
Pk5 A horses: 2,1,4,3,7
The tote will probably tell the story on #6 SIENNA BLUE EYES (8-1), who has modest works but Irad rides for Asmussen on debut, so there could be some intent here. I’ll also toss in #8 MUCHO GLORY (10-1), who showed high speed in her first start on dirt last time and, if nothing else, did well to draw outside the rest of the early gas.
Pk5 B horses: 6,8
R4: 3up NYB 25k at 6 ½ furlongs
My single isn’t for the feint of heart but I am expecting a big run from #9 HAUL ANCHOR (6-1), who runs as a first-time gelding for a hot McLaughlin barn, should relish the drop in class after facing better in every start since his MSW win, and has a rating gear in a field loaded with speed.
Pk5 A horses: 9
With a 6-1 as a single, obviously there are a ton of others you’d have to consider as B’s, and I’ll use two, with #3 PEGASUS RED (6-1), who may be the right closer in a field loaded with speed, and #4 MIGHTY ZEALOUS (3-1), who drops off the Rodriguez claim and has some big form to fall back on, if you can get past his last dud. Both those runners fit the race profile as stalker/closers who can pass horses late, which is why I’m siding against #7 Sudden Surprise (9-2), #6 Sol the Freud (8-1) and #1 Brimstone (8-1), who all could win this on their best day but really take all the worst of it, in terms of race flow.
Pk5 B horses: 3,4
Race 5: 3upfm N1X at 1 1/16 miles
I really wanted to pick against, or at least use someone other than #4 LAND MINE (7-5), who is an underlay at this ML, but she’s going to be tough to beat from an outside attack post while sitting just off a potentially honest pace, so she’s the single in what looks like a questionable field.
Pk5 A horses: 4
Getting back to a one-turn mile at Belmont should help #3 TIGALALU (9-2), who won on debut over the track and then struggled at the Spa going two turns, and she drew well be outside #2 CILANTRO (5-2), who surely needed her comeback off a six-month layoff, though sussing this out as the inside speed won’t be easy. It looks like #1 Indy Union (4-1) need an epic pace meltdown, so she’s not for me.
Pk5 B horses: 3,2
The main ticket is an easy $15 base play, which is our starting point. As you’ll see below, the backup tickets allow for some added coverage without breaking the bank, while allowing you to play you’re A-ticket for more than the minimum, should you so choose. If you combined the A and B tickets, you’d have a big $252 (4x2x7x3x3) play on your hands, so, at $86, this is a much more cost conducive way of doing business, while still allowing for plenty of margin for error.
Main Ticket: 4,5,2 with 1,6 with 2,1,4,3,7 with 9 with 4 = $15
R1 B Backup: 1 with 1,6 with 2,1,4,3,7 with 9 with 4 = $5
R3 B Backup: 4,5,2 with 1,6 with 6,8 with 9 with 4 = $6
R4 B Backup: 4,5,2 with 1,6 with 2,1,4,3,7 with 3,4 with 4 = $30
R5 B Backup: 4,5,2 with 1,6 with 2,1,4,3,7 with 9 with 3,2 = $30