Champagne: Playing Sunday’s turf-heavy Saratoga Pick 5 – Horse Racing Nation

Once again, a Pick Five ticket given out in this space was alive heading into the finale. Saturday’s sequence was pretty chalky, for the most part, but we were still alive to a few OK payoffs on what turned into a $96 ticket before Fled won like a very good thing and turned said ticket into confetti.


I’m back for another go at it on the Sunday card, and I’m building my $100 ticket around a single in the second leg. Here’s how I’ll play it.


Race 7: Optional claiming (older horses, 5 1/2 F, turf), 4:38 p.m. ET


I thought the “bookend” legs of this sequence were very wide-open. I’m going five-deep in this turf sprint, and I sincerely hope that’s deep enough.


#1 FINAL FRONTIER is the morning line favorite. His win two back was sharp, and he followed that up with a respectable third in a swiftly-run race downstate. However, this is a pretty sharp field for the level, and I felt the need to buy some more coverage.


I’ll also use #2 PAGLIACCI, #4 STOLEN PISTOL, #6 AVEENU MALCAINU, and #9 BATTLE STATION. I found Battle Station very intriguing given his local record. He’s 2-for-2 in turf sprints at Saratoga and chased the classy Om last time out at Churchill Downs.


Race 8: Allowance (older fillies/mares, NY-bred, 1 1/16 M, turf), 5:13 p.m. ET


My single comes in this event, and it may be a popular one. That’s #8 CHICLET’S DREAM, who came back running off of a long layoff last time out at Belmont. She was third beaten a head that day, and she stretches back out to two turns over a turf course she’s proven to like. I think the Chad Brown trainee will be very tough to beat in here, and given an otherwise-tough sequence, I opted to single here and buy coverage elsewhere.


Race 9: Saratoga Derby Invitational (3-year-olds, 1 3/16 M, turf), 5:48 p.m. ET


I’m going to use a few horses coming out of the Grade 1 Belmont Derby, but while I’m using that race’s winner (#1 HENLEY’S JOY), I narrowly prefer others. #4 ROCKEMPEROR and #8 DIGITAL AGE were third and fourth that day despite awful post positions, and they draw much more favorably here. I think both horses have big chances to turn the tables, and they may do so at square prices.


Additionally, I’ll also use #10 MOHAWK, who ships across the pond for trainer Aidan O’Brien. He won a Group 3 event last time out, has experience running against some of the top horses in Europe, and may move up getting Lasix for the first time.


Race 10: Grade 2 Adirondack (2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 F), 6:23 p.m. ET


The more I look at this race, the more I think it’s a two-horse event. #2 FRANK’S ROCKETTE and #8 MAGIC DANCE will almost certainly take the lion’s share of the betting money, and for good reason. The former romped on debut at Churchill Downs, while the latter is 2-for-2 and exits a stakes win. These two simply seem better than the rest, and any other filly in here would likely have to take a major step up in order to upset the apple cart.


Race 11: Maiden special weight (older horses, 1M, turf), 6:57 p.m. ET


The payoff leg/Sunday finale revolves around one question: How much do you trust #10 DOSWELL? He’s burned money in both of his American starts, and while he may be a horse you have to use defensively, I can’t trust him enough to single him or only go two-deep.


I’m going five-deep to finish this ticket out. In addition to Doswell, I’ll also use #3 MALTHAEL, #6 DOWNSIDE RISK, #8 STANDUP, and #11 GOOD GOVERNANCE. Malthael intrigues me at a bit of a price. He came back running off the bench last month at Belmont, and his prior running lines are dotted with the names of stakes-quality horses.




R7: 1,2,4,6,9

R8: 8

R9: 1,4,8,10

R10: 2,8

R11: 3,6,8,10,11


200 Bets = $100.

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