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Teeing it up for the Pick 5 on Breeders' Cup Saturday

by Jerry Shottenkirk

October 31, 2019

The Filly and Mare Sprint and Turf Sprint are two Breeders’ Cup throwdowns that are part of the opening Pick 5 at Santa Anita on Saturday, and you have to feel your way through three good undercard stakes races before you even get to the beginning of the main block of races.

The Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday run from races goes from races 4-12, and the first three on the card give an opportunity to get the day off to a profitable start.

Here’s a look at the Pick 5 races:

1st (Senator Ken Maddy S.)
The argument can be made for the all button in the opener, but with good balance throughout the sequence, it necessitates some difficult exclusions on the ticket. The slight edge goes to morning line favorite Just Grazed Me, who seeks her third straight in and fourth in her last five. She comes off a win in the California Distaff for state-breds.
Apache Princess and Escapade are also on the ticket. Again, whittling down in the first makes it possible to have a ticket that doesn’t soar into the hundreds or even thousands. It adds up in a hurry. The suggested ticket here is $90 with only three in the opener.

2nd (Damascus S.)
This is where you take your shot with a lower number. Roadster and Flagstaff will battle for favoritism and ultimately should battle down to the end.

While Roadster didn’t pan out in the Triple Crown series (16th in the Kentucky Derby), he’s been impressive over the Santa Anita strip, where he won an optional claiming race and then took the G1 Santa Anita Derby and he most recently was second to Mucho Gusto in the G3 Affirmed. He’s 3 facing older horses but has a rather significant class edge.

Flagstaff is actually the slight favorite over Roadster. He was third behind Omaha Beach in the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship and this late bloomer clearly has talent and will bring his best.

3rd (Twilight Derby)
Like the first race, this one could go many different ways, and the suggested ticket has five runner on it: Originaire, Nolde, Succeedandsurpass, Neptune’s Storm and Gray Magician. The 7-2 odds on morning line odds on favored Nolde says something about this lineup. There aren’t many toss-outs and this has more than any on the ticket.
Nolde won the G2 Del Mar Derby last out and has won three of four turf races. He just plain likes running on the greensward and is a nose away from being unbeaten on it. Plenty of contenders in this one will have decent odds and are in good form. With the evenness of the field, there are many legit reasons to shop around.
Originaire is as intriguing as any. He is much-improved over his last three and in two races back lost to Nolde by just a neck in the Del Mar Derby. He recently adopted a closing style and it has paid off.

4th (BC Filly & Mare Sprint)
Covfefe, Come Dancing and Bellafina are on the ticket in the 4th, and a strong case can be made for each.
Covfefe and Come Dancing are the obvious inclusions based on the many triumphs they’ve have this year, but hometown heroine Bellafina has won all four of her attempts over this strip. She’s been running longer distances this year but is a graded winner at six furlongs and might be overlooked.

5th (BC Turf Sprint)
This is another that you could find reasons for almost all of them, but this is whittled down to two on this ticket: Pure Sensation and Eddie Haskell.

Pure Sensation is 8 years old and is having one of his better years despite only five starts. He won the G3 Turf Monster at Parx in his latest and has three others wins and a third to his credit for the year. He has had his post-race picture taken 14 times.

Eddie Haskell is a Cal-bred and just doesn’t run any bad ones. Most of his races have been in open company and was a fast-closing second to Pee Wee Reese in the G2 Eddie D. Familiarity with this setting and current form give this local hero a chance.

Here’s the suggested play for the early Pick 5 Saturday at Santa Anita:
1) #4 Just Grazed Me, #5 Apache Princess, #9 Escapade.
2) #3 Roadster, #4 Flagstaff.
3) #1 Originaire, #3 Nolde, #5 Succeedandsurpass, #8 Neptune’s Storm, #10 Gray Magician.
4) #1 Covfefe, #4 Come Dancing, #6 Bellafina.
5) #2 Pure Sensation, #10 Eddie Haskell.
50-cent Pick 5 ticket: 4-5-9 with 3-4 with 1-3-5-8-10 with 1-4-6 with 2-10 ($90).