Hanson: Playing the Early Pick 5 on Travers Day
One of the best betting cards of the year, Travers Day at Saratoga kicks off with a challenging Early Pick 5. Having enjoyed success with the same wager 12 months ago, we'll take a crack at it again.
Interestingly, trainer Chad Brown lost the Travers Day opener last year with a first-time starter named Good Magic. He might not be as unlucky with #1 GREYES CREEK (8-5), an $850,000 OBS March purchase by Pioneerof the Nile that seems well meant. #5 PUTTHEGLASSDOWN (2-1) was a clear second first out behind talented Steve Asmussen trainee Nitrous. This son of Violence was 19-1 and overcame the rail post in an effort he could improve on. #6 STARTING POINT (6-1) faded late in an off-the-turf contest two weeks ago. Shortens up a furlong and forward progress possible.
#4 WAY EARLY drops into a state-bred N1X following a second in the Penn Mile (G2) and a fourth in the Kent (G3), where he was only a half-length behind subsequent Secretariat (G1) winner Carrick. #6 IDES OF ARCH (8-1) graduated here last summer and is eligible to improve second time off of a long layoff.
#1 TOMMY T (9-5) a sharp second at this level last month following a six-month spell and will be well-backed in this spot as well. #3 HONORABLE TREASURE (10-1) was well behind Tommy T last time, but the addition of blinkers could help as he raced close to a fast pace and won for fun over this track previously. Speaking of blinkers, #7 CERRTALTO (6-1) improved considerably after adding them over the winter. Has never faced open company before and he comes in off a very lengthy spell, but a surprise not out of the question. #8 SILVER DUST (7-2) did the dirty work in the allowance that included Tommy T and Honorable Treasure. Perhaps has a better shot of shaking loose this time.
#3 DIGITAL FOOTPRINT (2-1) missed by less than a length in his debut for Chad Brown and obviously figures tough at a short price. Two also eligibles look intriguing. #13 MEDINA RIDGE (8-1) is by War Front and out of multiple Grade 3 winner Hit It Rich. This colt is a full brother to Profiteer, who won an allowance on the 2017 Travers Day undercard. #14 NOBLE NEBRASKAN (10-1) is by 15% turf debut sire Noble Mission and descends from the blue hen mare Toussaud.
#1 TATHQEEF (8-1) is another layoff type that looks capable on paper but will have to be rather sharp coming back an extended break. Rallied well to be third to the aforementioned Profiteer on this day last year and gets more ground to work with this time. Excellent first-off-the-claim trainer Eddie Kenneally sends out #8 VIGILANTE (5-1), who was good enough in his younger days to have beaten future Grade 1 victors Ascend and Bullards Alley, the former over this course. Recent form solid enough and he picks up Jose Ortiz.
Here's the 50-cent ticket:
1,5,6 with 4,6 with 1,3,7,8 with 3,13,14 with 1,8 = $72.
(Adam Coglianese Photography)