Champagne: Building a bizarre Pick 5 play Friday at Saratoga

It didn’t break any records, but we chalked up another hit Thursday. The ticket, which wound up costing $126, returned just more than $430, which is enough to at least fund action into the weekend.


Friday’s sequence comes in the midst of a New York-bred showcase day, one that’s drawn full fields and several runners with experience in the graded stakes ranks. My $108 ticket is unconventional, and you’ll see why right away. Here’s how I’ll play it.


Race 7: Seeking the Ante Stakes (2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 F), 4:14 p.m. ET


Race 8: Funny Cide Stakes (2-year-olds, 6 1/2 F), 4:46 p.m. ET


You didn’t miss anything. I didn’t preview the Seeking the Ante above because I’m using the same strategy in each of these races. I’m hitting the “ALL” button twice in a row, as I found the 2-year-old races perplexing for different reasons.


Several runners in the Seeking the Ante exit the Stillwater earlier this meet. However, that day’s third-place finisher was beaten as a heavy favorite earlier this week in a maiden race, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Furthermore, #3 TIME LIMIT, who took some money that day, lost all chance at the break and has every right to improve with a clean trip. I can’t be confident in any of these six runners, so I’m buying the race and hoping for a price.


Meanwhile, all the runners in the Funny Cide…sort of look the same to me. This makes for a great betting race, and if you like a runner in here, more power to you, as you’ll likely get a price. I had no strong opinion, so I’m buying that race, too. I understand this probably isn’t the hard-hitting handicapping analysis you’re looking for, but bear with me, as the good stuff is coming up next.


Race 9: West Point Stakes (older horses, 1 1/16 M, turf), 5:18 p.m. ET


I wouldn’t have bought the first two races if I didn’t also have singles along the way. This race houses one of them, as I really like #3 OFFERING PLAN. There’s a ton of early speed signed on here, and the faster they go early, the better this one’s chances figure to be. He was beaten just three lengths in the Forbidden Apple (G3), and I think he’ll love the drop in class he gets in this spot.


Race 10: Albany Stakes (3-year-olds, 1 1/8 M), 5:50 p.m. ET


In looking at this race, I thought #2 BANKIT would be favored on the morning line, and if he’s at his 7-2 price come post time, I’ll be making a sizable win wager. He beat several of these rivals last time out at Finger Lakes and should once again get an ideal setup as a closer in a race full of early speed. He ran well here twice a season ago and certainly strikes me as the one to beat. He’s my second single, and I sincerely hope we get a square price.


Race 11: Maiden claiming (older horses, 1 3/16 M, turf), 6:22 p.m. ET


If #2 WACKY PAL gets comfortable on the front end, he’s going to be very tough to beat. He drops in class off of a decent effort against straight maidens, and this barn’s record with similar class-droppers is impressive. Having said that, speed has not been holding on turf this meet, so I need to spread a bit.


I’m going four-deep, also using #9 THE HAPPY GIANT, #10 MR. VINCENT and #11 CURLIN’S LEGACY. If the likely favorite misfires, payoff potential shoots through the roof, and I hope I’ve gone deep enough to account for that scenario.


The ticket:




R9: 3

R10: 2

R11: 2,9,10,11


216 Bets = $108.


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