Champagne: Playing Saratoga's Alabama Stakes day Pick 5

Our long national nightmare ended Friday afternoon. After what seemed like weeks of knocking on the door, we connected for more than $670 on a $105 ticket playing Saratoga's late Pick 5. We’ll look to make it two in a row on Alabama Stakes day with a $96 ticket that goes four-deep in each of the last two legs. Here’s how I’ll play it.

 

Race 7: Maiden special weight (2-year-olds, 6 1/2 F), 4:20 p.m. ET

 

The morning line man implies this will be a two-horse race, and I’m inclined to agree. #4 CANDY TYCOON comes in off of two very strong works for trainer Todd Pletcher and is bred to be a good one, while #6 IRISH MIAS rallied to finish second behind a promising colt that won Friday’s Skidmore Stakes and should improve with a start under his belt. Any other horse winning would be a bit of a shock, so I’ll go two-deep to kick it off.

 

Race 8: Smart N Fancy (older fillies/mares, 5 1/2 F, turf), 4:53 p.m. ET

 

#5 MORTICIA will likely be a short price. She had a very unlucky trip when third in a similar spot earlier in the meet, and she’s a consistent sort that generally fires every time out. Her usual race would make her pretty tough, and she’s my top pick, but she didn’t hit me as unbeatable.

 

I’ll also use #1 FIRE KEY and #7 OLEKSANDRA. The former was second in the race my top pick exits and may be in career best form, while the latter was third in a Grade 2 race at Woodbine and drops in class for this event.

 

Race 9: Grade 2 Lake Placid (3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 M, turf), 5:26 p.m. ET

 

In what shouldn’t come as a surprise, trainer Chad Brown seems to have a powerful hand in this spot. He saddles #5 REGAL GLORY and #4 BLOWOUT, the 1-2 finishers from last month’s Grade 3 Lake George, and they seem like the two horses to beat. Neither has finished out of the exacta, and I think it’s likely they comprise the top two once again here.

 

Race 10: Grade 1 Alabama (3-year-old fillies, 1 1/4 M), 5:59 p.m. ET

 

#1 DUNBAR ROAD will likely be favored, and I’m using her. However, she’s a defensive use for me, as I’m not sure if she really wants this 1 1/4-mile distance. Her lone defeat to date came in her only start going two turns, and she didn’t beat much in the Grade 2 Mother Goose.

 

On top, I prefer #7 POINT OF HONOR, who chased Guarana here earlier in the meet and is bred up and down to love the added furlong she gets here. I’ll also use #2 LADY APPLE and #6 ULELE, both of whom seem to be in strong form for trainers Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox, respectively.

 

Race 11: Allowance (older fillies/mares, NY-bred, 7F), 6:32 p.m. ET

 

We finish with a puzzling event going the tricky distance of seven furlongs. I’ll look to finish this out by going four-deep, and my ticket includes two “logical” runners and two longshots.

 

#2 SWEET MEADOW MIST and #5 MORE MISCHIEF are both logical. They ran third and fourth at this level earlier in the meet, and both should like the added furlong they get in this event. I’ll also use #7 MOON HEIST, who hits me as the most likely frontrunner, and #11 QUIETUDE, who gets a big rider switch and could take a step forward second off the bench.

 

The ticket:

 

R7: 4,6

R8: 1,5,7

R9: 4,5

R10: 1,2,6,7

R11: 2,5,7,11

 

192 Bets = $96.

 

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