Champagne: Build late Saratoga Pick 5 around Blue Prize

After the monsoon that hit Saratoga Saturday afternoon, it was tough to assume that they’ll be on the turf when racing resumes Sunday. As such, I built my late Pick 5 ticket thinking that races scheduled for turf will be moved to the main track, and that scenario played out.


It’s still a tough sequence. I’m going to construct my ticket around a popular single and hope to get a price or two home around that one. This ticket is listed at $132, but will likely cost far less than that for reasons that will become apparent when we get to the final leg. Here’s how I’ll play it.


Race 6: Maiden special weight (2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 F), 3:53 p.m. ET


I can’t get cute to kick things off. #4 FINITE and #6 MRS. DANVERS ran second and third in a similar event earlier this meet, and I think both fillies are eligible to improve at second asking. Doing so would make either of them tough to beat, so I’m simply using those two in hopes that at least one of them builds off of the race last month.


Race 7: Claiming (older horses, 5 1/2 F, turf?), 4:28 p.m. ET


If this race is run on dirt, #3 STILL KRZ figures to be a heavy favorite. He drops down in class and has shown significant early speed against far better groups. It’s likely he’ll make the lead, and if he gets comfortable, he could be tough to run down.


I’m using him, but there’s a chance his best days may be behind him. With that in mind, I’ll also throw in #8 HAVE ANOTHER, who makes his first start off the claim for Bruce Brown, and #9 MACHO BLUE, who almost certainly needed his last race and reeled off three wins in a row prior to that dull effort.


Race 8: Starter allowance (older fillies/mares, 1M, turf?), 5:03 p.m. ET


I’m not going to overthink this race. The runners with dirt form are all on the main-track-only list, so I’m using all four MTOs. Of that group, which includes #2 CATHY NAZ, #9 CARLISLE BELLE, #12 PECAN PATTIE, and #13 RIGHTEOUS RUBY, I’m most intrigued by Righteous Ruby. She didn’t get off to a great start last time out and was forced to rate several lengths back, which isn’t her game. A better break could put her in the mix right away.


Race 9: Summer Colony S. (older fillies/mares, 1 1/8 M), 5:38 p.m. ET


#7 BLUE PRIZE is one of the better older distaffers in the country. She’ll be a heavy favorite, and for good reason. I think she’s a very likely winner, and I’ll be singling her in this spot. She made Elate run a bit two starts ago, and the Delaware Handicap (G2) was likely just a bit too far for her. These waters are shallower, and the cutback to nine furlongs figures to be a big, big plus.


Race 10: Claiming (older fillies/mares, 1 1/16 M, turf?), 6:12 p.m. ET


Remember how I said my ticket had a weird valuation that would likely change? That’s because if this race comes off the turf, I don’t have a clue how it’s going to play out. As such, I’m hitting the “ALL” button and using up to 11 possible runners.


It’s highly unlikely this field will consist of 11 horses if the race is moved from turf to dirt. However, there’s no sense in assuming which horses will or won’t scratch, so for the time being, I’m using them all. In other words, if we’re alive to Blue Prize, and that runner gets home in the fourth leg, we’ll likely be sitting pretty.


The ticket:


R6: 4,6

R7: 3,8,9

R8: 2,9,12,13

R9: 7

R10: ALL


264 Bets = $132.


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