Hanson: Handicapping the Saratoga Late Pick 5 July 17

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 16th, 2021

Saturday's Late Pick 5 sequence at Saratoga includes two graded stakes and an excellent first-level allowance sprint for three-year-olds, which could yield a starter or two in next month's H. Allen Jerkens (G1) over the same seven-furlong distance.

Here's how we'll play the sequence.

Race 7 -- Allowance (4:29 p.m. ET)

This second-level allowance, with an $80,000 claiming option, over 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf features #2 BATTLE STATION (6-1), who has more winning experience over this course than anyone else in the field, including a score in a restricted stakes near the end of the 2020 meet.

#4 SOUPER DORMY (6-1) should be coming on late after a pair of runner-up finishes during the Churchill Downs spring meet, and love that bullet work here last week. #6 DURESS (5-1) failed to hit the board in three prior starts over this lawn, but is a much better sprinter now, should improve second off the layoff, and Jose Ortiz has been aboard for two of his prior victories.

Race 8 -- Allowance (5:03 p.m. ET)

The aforementioned Jerkens prep has a number of interesting players, two of whom come from the Chad Brown barn.

#10 CROWDED TRADE (4-1) should relish the return to one turn after earning small checks in the Wood Memorial (G2) and Preakness (G1). Narrowly missed in the Gotham (G3) three back. Stablemate #7 WITSEL (8-1) was a private purchase for owners Peter Brant and Bob LaPenta after he drilled maiden foes at Tampa Bay Downs last December. Remains with potential.

#12 MAHAAMEL (5-2), a solid second to eventual Dwyer (G3) winner First Captain in his debut, rebounded to win his maiden impressively in the mud for Todd Pletcher and will take some beating here.

Race 9 -- Sanford S. (G3) (5:40 p.m. ET)

The early favorites in this historic six-furlong dash for juveniles, #1 WIT (8-5) and #2 CANDY LANDING (7-2), were both impressive in their respective debuts at Belmont and Churchill, and appear to have an edge. 

Race 10 -- Diana S. (G1) (6:16 p.m. ET)

The fourth meeting this year between stablemates #6 SUMMER ROMANCE (4-1) and #8 ALTHIQA (3-1) should be a doozy. Althiqa has come out on top in two of them, including the Just a Game (G1) last time, but Summer Romance won their only showdown over this distance in the Balanchine (G2) at Meydan in February. Hard to separate again.

Race 11 -- Maiden (6:51 pm. ET)

Although he lacked staying power in his debut last month at Churchill, #2 COOL QUEST (8-1) figures to fire from the gate again and perhaps will show a bit more stamina while picking up John Velazquez. The one to catch.

#6 ABAAN (12-1), the only four-year-old in the field, has been gelded since last fall, when he placed twice going longer in a pair of open maidens in Kentucky. Debuts here for Pletcher and can pick up some pieces late with Luis Saez up.

Here's the 50-cent ticket:

2,4,6 with 7,10,12 with 1,2 with 6,8 with 2,6 = $36