Final Saratoga Saturday Early Pick 5 play

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 2nd, 2017

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, which is how I felt after the first five races last Saturday at Saratoga. With an assist from the stewards, who elevated Paradise Island to first via disqualification in leg three, and a from Profiteer, who got his nostril in front at the last possible moment in the final leg, my Travers Day 50-cent Early Pick 5 play returned $22,910 on a $192 investment.

With the country's most popular race meet nearing its end, I'm tempted to take another swing at the wager on the final Saturday of the Saratoga season. Here's how I'll be playing the Early Pick 5 that begins in Race 1.

Race 1

#1 DRIVEN BY THUNDER (2-1) drops to his lowest level, shortens up, and returns to dirt after a fair try against starter allowance does on the turf. Could shake loose from this field if alertly away. #7 HONOR THY FATHER (8-1) reaches the third start of his form cycle with improvement needed, but this is undoubtedly the easiest field he's ever faced and don't think he wanted any part of the grass last time. Drawing a line through that one. #9 BORSA VENTO (7-2) earned a belated maiden win last time, and seemingly fits this level despite lack of experience against winners. Has run some decent races on this track, should be prominently placed and picks up meet-leading jock off the claim.

Race 2

#2 OROSCOPO (3-1) is a first-timer by Orb, whose juveniles have been doing extremely well, including filly that won the P.G. Johnson on Thursday. #7 DESERT STONE (12-1) shows a string of works stretching back to June. Half-sibling Handassa won on debut at The Curragh and was later a stakes winner. #10 MARAUD (7-2) also shows a long string of works, including latest over seven furlongs. Dam has already produced American Turf (G2) winner Arklow.

Race 3

#2 BREE'S GOT HEART (15-1) broke her maiden rather easily here last summer and was later multiple stakes-placed over the Aqueduct inner. Not quite good enough to hang with open N1X company in the spring, and presumably much better than dull turf try earlier in the meet. #3 BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE (2-1) is a logical threat having been second best in her last two starts facing similar. #9 FROSTY GAL (9-2) drops from stakes company and is reunited with Manny Franco, who was aboard for her three-length maiden win last fall.

Race 4

Not sure if millionaire #5 SLIM SHADY (3-1) can string two wins together after edging similar by a head. Reluctant, however, to toss any from the hot Servis barn. #7 DANCETRACK (7-2) plunges in class for a barn that's started three-for-eight this meet. Ran huge here in an N3X allowance last summer, so gives off somewhat of a fire-sale vibe second off the bench. #13 DOCS LEGACY (5-1) found his proper level when registering a 31-1 upset against $32,000 stock. Class drop off win not that big a deal -- he's eight -- but whether he can get a similar trip from post 10 is another matter.

Race 5

Only two deep here. #3 FUNTASTIC (5-2) just landed turf debut in solid time and could prove to be any kind for Brown stable. Gray sophomore is from the family of Saint Liam and Gun Runner. #8 J. S. CHOICE (7-2) knocked heads with the likes of Oscar Performance, Bricks and Mortar, and Good Samaritan earlier in his career. Obviously battle-tested, and comes off a second-place effort vs. similar early in the meet.

Here's the 50-cent ticket:

1,7,9 with 2,7,10 with 2,3,9 with 1,5,7 with 3,8 = $81

Good luck!