Champagne: How I'm playing Friday's Saratoga Pick 5

By Andrew Champagne, Special to HRN
July 11, 2019 11:24pm

Like a lot of NYRA Pick Five tickets on opening day at Saratoga, mine was toast early. Light the Posse ran down Veterans Beach, paid $31.40 to win and started a bizarre sequence that ended with a race being rained off the turf.


We’ll look for clearer skies (in more ways than one) on Friday at Saratoga, with a sequence anchored by the Forbidden Apple (G3). I’ve got a $54 ticket that assumes we’re staying on the turf. But if races are taken off the grass, adjust accordingly.


Race 6: Claiming (1 1/16 miles, older horses, turf), 4:03 p.m. ET


This race drew what seems like a pretty salty field for the level. My top selection is #7 KEEP QUIET, who has run very well in four starts this year and has a strong local record. He goes to the Steve Asmussen barn, and his best race would make him tough to beat.


I’m also going to use two horses that could be talented enough to overcome tough posts. #11 HAY DAKOTA and #12 APPLICATOR both come into this race off of wins against similar-level horses, and they both have back form that would be good enough to win this with the right trip.


Race 7: Allowance (5 1/2 furlongs, older fillies/mares, NY-bred, turf), 4:39 p.m. ET


The more I look at this race, the more I really like a pair of second-time starters. This is far from an easy race for the level, but #6 NOBLE JEWEL and #9 FILLY DILLY were both impressive in their debuts. I prefer the latter, who crushed an overmatched field in an off-the-turf event, but the former came home very quickly to graduate at first asking in a turf sprint last month and retains the services of Joel Rosario.


Race 8: Optional claiming (1 1/8 miles, older horses, NY-bred), 5:15 p.m. ET


Despite recent strong figures and a likelihood that he wants this two-turn trip, I find it difficult to trust #6 DOUPS POINT much. I’m using him, but he’s burned a lot of money in his last two starts, and he’s run second in five of seven lifetime tries. I’ll also use #2 DREAMZAPPER, who has improved Beyer-wise in every start this season, and #3 BIG GEMMY, who comes in on a two-race win streak for Linda Rice.


Race 9: Grade 3 Forbidden Apple (1 mile, older horses, turf), 5:51 p.m. ET


The key to this race is #7 VOODOO SONG, who loves Saratoga, has won big races here, and is coming off of a nine-month layoff. On paper, this race seems to set up for him. There isn’t much early speed to his inside, so he could sit a dream trip dictating terms early (provided he clears #1 GIDU, who I’m not using).


If Voodoo Song’s ready, he probably wins. If he’s not, I’ll have some additional coverage. #4 OFFERING PLAN is ultra-consistent and has won here before, while #5 MARCH TO THE ARCH won the Wise Dan (G2) last time and would certainly benefit from a faster-than-expected early pace.


Race 10: Maiden claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, older fillies/mares, NY-bred), 6:25 p.m. ET


Listen for scratches early on in the day. #6 LINDA’S BALLET is the likely favorite in this race, but she’s also entered for another event on Saturday. If she runs here, she’s a must-use and may very well be a popular single. If she doesn’t, I’ve got an alternate specified that we’ll get to in a moment.


In addition to that one, I’m also throwing in #1 FREUDYCATFEVER, who lost all chance at the break in her debut. She drops way down in class, certainly has a right to improve in her second career start, and will likely be a juicy price. Finally, in the event Linda’s Ballet does not run, I’ll sub in #5 ABBY NORMAL, who may be rolling late at a nice price for an underrated barn.




R6: 7,11,12

R7: 6,9

R8: 2,3,6

R9: 4,5,7

R10: 1,6 (5)


108 Bets = $54.


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