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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Across the Board with Mike B

Gulfstream: Pick 5 Plan of Attack


This Saturday at Gulfstream Park the Pick 5 sequence came up tough as nails. There are no lead pipe locks in my humble opinion (maybe one, I’ll talk on that later). When a scenario as such arises, there are positives and negatives that come along with said circumstances. If you look at things pessimistically, you might say this is too tough to put together a super confident ticket, I’m out. On the other hand, if you are a glass half full kind of guy/gal, you might say this is the type of sequence that could pay stacks, count me in. The eternal optimist in me tells me to take a crack at this thing, we may be rewarded handsomely. Let’s delve….


Race 7 – I found this to be a wicked tough way to kick things off. However, I did end up singling Todd Pletcher’s charge Doherty. He owns a win here and I will trust Todd on this one. He should be primed to run a nice race off the bench and may have a pace advantage as well. I believe he may be able to wire this field or sit right off the pace in fine position if need be. He showed talent in his first 2 starts, then ran in a 1 1/8th mile race which may have been too far, then caught 3 straight off tracks he seemed to despise. While I think he has a very decent chance at winning, there are a few others I will be very scared of. Elnaawi is returning for Kiaran McLaughlin after being on the shelf since the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last April. The fact Joel Rosario took the call to ride makes me nervous. Regardless, I am against his chances today. I was not that high on him last year and while he could win today he is a lock by no means, especially so at a short price. Two others I gave a quick look were the last out maiden breakers Tarpy’s Surprise and Secretive. I felt the exact same after watching both of their wins, I thought they were decent enough, but nothing super impressive visually. I wouldn’t be shocked if they won, but I just felt if Pletcher has Doherty ready to roll, those 2 would be running for minor awards. I am just hoping to make it through here, if I don’t, there is always the Pick 4.


Race 8 – I found this race to be inscrutable. I went 7 deep in hopes of catching a price. I will use Super Sky, Miss Arrangement, Lady Paradime, Market Magic, Spring Likeacobra, Morethanawarning, and Danalin. Clearly, I have no strong opinion here and I am just hoping to survive. I will say this though, this is the type of race that screams out that there will be a 20 dollar winner. Having just put myself out there by saying that, the favorite will probably roll. Good luck this leg, everyone. If you have a solid opinion, send it this way please.


Race 9 – And finally, I have a somewhat solid opinion. I think Summer Front has an excellent chance to take down the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale. He lost a head bob by a bologna skin in his last start in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park (pictured above), and if he moves forward off that effort, everyone is running for 2nd. Christophe Clement and Joe Bravo are a nice combo to have at Gulfstream and I expect a huge run from this guy in the co-feature of the day. Others that I gave a look were Slumber for Bill Mott and Utley for Jonathon Sheppard. Slumber is the one that scares me most. He gets Julien Leparoux in the irons and ran a nice 4th against some of the division’s heavyweights in the Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont 2 starts back. The thing that threw me off was the distance. He has always run in longer turf events. If he likes this cut back though, look out. Now might be the time to have him. As for Utley, he was hung out wide when he broke from the parking lot in his last over a yielding turf course here at Gulfstream. I am torn on him really, I wouldn’t be shocked if he won, but I will limit his use to underneath in the exotics.


Race 10 – The other half of today’s co-feature is the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope. I thought this race was pretty tough. I ended up using 2, Csaba and Lea, but I understand if you want to use more. Csaba, goes out for Philip Gleaves with Paco Lopez up, and should show a nice account of himself today. He took down last year’s edition of this race and I expect him to get a nice trip today. In his last start, he ran into a monster in River Seven who set a track record that day. I backed him in that start and I thought he ran a winning race, if not for River Seven getting freaky on us. As for Lea, I am taking a shot with him. He goes out for the 1st time from Bill Mott’s barn. As we all know, Mott is an unreal horseman, and horses have a way of turning it around under his care. I also found it interesting Luis Saez jumped ship to get on this guy. He was Csaba’s jock, who as I just stated, has a great shot to win today as well. A lot of times we make more of jockeys switching mounts than there is to it, but who knows. I am taking it as a positive and believe now may be the time to have Lea. As for the rest of the field, you can make a case for nearly all of them. I wouldn’t try to talk you off any of them. They all have their positives and negatives. The negatives just out weighed the positives in my mind.


Race 11 – The night cap I saw as a 2 horse race. I will use Big John B and Red Vine. Big John B is a 5 time winner taking a drop in class for Jason Servis with Paco Lopez aboard. He owns a win over the track and loves this trip. He has a nice post and I believe he should show a fine account of himself. Red Vine goes out for the Clemente barn and he gets a jockey switch to Rosario. He always seems to run well and if he improved off his brief freshening, he should be a hand full in here. I do worry a little, as he has burned money in the past, but I don’t think this field is all that tough. If I had to use one more, I would take a shot with Ampersand adding the blinkers for Richard Violette. One of those three should get the job done.


The Play – I will be playing a fifty cent Pick 5 that will cost 14 dollars. I will go 7 with 1-3-2-5-7-8-9 with 6 with 2-6 with 3-4.


As always, I hope I helped you guys lock up your own opinions or turned you onto something you may not have thought of. Have a winning day, folks. I wish you all a very enjoyable and profitable Saturday at the races. Peace.    


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Older Comments about Gulfstream: Pick 5 Plan of Attack...

Today's sequence was almost impossible to figure out. It's good for Gulfstream but bad for the handicapper.
the ONLY way to win these is having a HUGE collective bankroll and getting deep eniough into the fields as to elimante your competition. These fantasy tales about winning it on a small ticket represent much more luck than skill
  • geldedridgling · I'm not sure if you mean at Gulfstream or the pick 5 in general, but it's possible to win pick 4's, 5's, and 6's with relatively small tickets. I won a pick 4 for a grand with a 12 dollar ticket this summer at Woodbine and a 5 grand pick 5 at Del Mar this summer with a $72 dollar ticket. The dollar amount of the ticket is not that important; what’s important is playing a sequence with a couple or 3 races that can be reduced to 1 or 2 choices. If you can’t do that then you don’t play it. If you can do that, and can find a price or two in the other races, then you can have success. · 1375 days ago
Agree that crossing your fingers and singling a race where one *thinks the horse has a very decent chance at winning, but there are a few others to be very scared of* makes it a tough proposition.
Finding a sequence where you actually think you know a couple of WINNERS is another way. Needing to bet a zillion combinations to hit it ruins the ROI and, while reducing {not eliminating} the risk of bad luck and increasing the chances of good luck, does not really speak to the skill level of the bankrollers.
I have to say I agree with a lot of these picks, but leaving #4 Solitary out of the 8th might prove to be a mistake. She's been in my stable for a while, and I've been waiting for them to bring her back to the turf.
He's the chalk, but Summer Front is some turf horse ... 12-7-1-3 lifetime on the grass, most coming in graded stakes.

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 Meet Michael Barry   


 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 


Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 


Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.


Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 


I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.

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