Champagne: 3-deep throughout in Saturday's Saratoga Pick 5

Raging Bull wins 2018 Hall of Fame
Photo: Elsa Lorieul/NYRA

Saturday’s a big day at Saratoga, with the Grade 1 Fourstardave and the Grade 2 Saratoga Special taking top billing on an 11-race program. With 11 events on tap, the late Pick Five starts in the seventh, and I thought this was a pretty tough sequence.

 

I’ve gone three-deep in each leg, bringing the ticket cost to an oddball amount one does not see very often. It’s a $121.50 play, and I’ll go into more depth about the ticket’s construction below!

 

Race 7: Maiden special weight (2-year-olds, 6F), 4:36 p.m. EDT

 

We’ll kick off the Saturday sequence with a baby race. Two of the likely top choices are very logical, and I also think an 8-1 shot has a real chance as well.

 

#7 GOZILLA has a very sharp work tab for Steve Asmussen, whose Saratoga 2-year-olds are usually ready to run. He draws favorably and is my top selection. Additionally, #2 OPTION VALUE debuts for Chad Brown, and has every right to be precocious given the presence of sire Into Mischief.

 

To me, the value play is #8 CARDIAC KID, who debuted going long for a trainer whose horses usually need a race to get going. He gets Lasix for the first time and has every right to take a major step forward at a bit of a price. He’s 8-1 on the morning line, and that hits me as an overlay.

 

Race 8: Grade 2 Saratoga Special (2-year-olds, 6 1/2 F), 5:11 p.m.

 

I can understand players who single #3 GREEN LIGHT GO. Jimmy Jerkens’s horses often need their debuts, so for him to win the way he did (with the runner-up coming right back to win, no less) was very impressive. He’s my top pick, but this hit me as a pretty good group.

 

#1 NOOSE and #2 ZYRAMID are on my ticket as well. The former topped a field of 12 at Churchill Downs and comes in off a bullet work, while the latter graduated earlier this meet and showed an ability to rate. Both would offer some value, so I’m throwing them in in an attempt to get through a solid renewal of the Saratoga Special.

 

Race 9: Grade 1 Fourstardave (older horses, 1M, turf), 5:46 p.m.

 

#3 UNI tries the boys, and for good reason. She’s won five races in a row, and this is as weak a group of male turf horses (outside of fellow Chad Brown trainee Bricks and Mortar) as I can remember. The race seems like it sets up for a closer, and if she fires her best shot, I think she wins.

 

However, I also need to use two others, one of whom may be a big price. #4 RAGING BULL is the logical alternative. He’s 2-for-2 at Saratoga, chased Bricks and Mortar twice earlier this year, and should appreciate the class relief with him at Arlington. Additionally, I’ll use #1 MARCH TO THE ARCH, who may not have appreciated yielding going in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple. A repeat of his race two back, when he won the Grade 2 Wise Dan over firm going, may very well be enough to get the money here.

 

Race 10: Allowance (older fillies/mares, 6F), 6:21 p.m.

 

The connections of #4 LA CHANCLA have had high hopes for her for a long time. She sold for $775,000 in March of last year and finally made it to the races earlier this season. She stepped forward with a solid maiden win last time out, and this field doesn’t look very strong for the level. She’s my top pick here, as further progression would make her tough.

 

I’ll also use #3 ALISIO and #7 SLIMEY, although both are faced with substantial challenges. Alisio has been on the sidelines since December and faces winners for the first time, while Slimey takes a big jump in class after two prior wins this meet against lesser competition. However, both fillies could absolutely win on their best days, so I’m using them.

 

Race 11: Maiden claiming (older horses, NY-bred, 5 1/2 F, turf), 6:55 p.m.

 

This race revolves around whether or not #14 WICKED GRIN draws in off the AE list. He probably won’t, but if he does, he’s almost certainly going to be the favorite and is a must-use. For that reason, I have to include him (along with two horses in the main body of the field).

 

If that one doesn’t run, #5 ALPHALFA is the horse to beat. He’s dropping back down in class to a level he nearly won at on debut, and the cutback in distance could work in his favor as well. I’ll also throw in #3 MAGNESITE, who has closed well in several of his prior outings against similar foes and could benefit from the closer-friendly turf course.

 

THE TICKET

 

R7: 2,7,8

R8: 1,2,3

R9: 1,3,4

R10: 3,4,7

R11: 3,5,14

 

243 Bets = $121.50

 

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