How to Play Santa Anita Pick 5 to get ‘Back in the Black’ on New Year’s Eve

TwinSpires Staff

December 30th, 2017


With just one day remaining on the 2017 calendar, handicappers in the red for the year have one more chance to make it a profitable 365 days before we head into 2018.

There are several venues running on New Years’ Eve, but of course I will “stay in my lane” and try to finish the year off strong in Southern California where Santa Anita Park has a nine-race card on tap that as always includes the low takeout Players’ Pick 5 over the first five races.

My favorite wager will be where I turn for my “Back in the Black” New Years’ Eve play in hopes we can score out and give folks an additional reason to celebrate later in the evening.

Here are my brief thoughts on the five races and how I will structure my “Back in the Black” wager:

Race 1

The sequence commences with the first division of two optional claiming events down the hill where #3 Fly to Mars is listed as the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite for trainer Peter Miller. The Cal-bred has a win in his only try over the course, but I am concerned that he may struggle to relax early since he is drawn inside the speedy #4 Rocket Heat. I will gamble that the two geldings go at it early and set things up for a runner from off the pace.

#8 El Tovar is my top choice off the freshening for trainer Richard Baltas, but the eight-year-old is hard to fully trust at this stage of his career. I will also include #2 Trifecta, #6 Rate for Me, and #10 Farley.

Race 2

The second is an open $20K claimer at the tricky 6 ½-furlong distance.

#7 Iron Rob does his best running when drawn to the outside and has run well in 2017 when properly spotted. He is my top choice for trainer Steve Knapp.

I will also include long shot #4 Tribal Roar for high percentage trainer Genaro Vallejo. You can toss his last when he tried two turns on the lawn. Vallejo takes off the blinkers, but this son of Tribal Rule should still find himself in a prominent spot early on.

Finally, #2 Top Brass will make my ticket for trainer David Jacobson. It remains to be seen whether Jacobson will be more successful at Santa Anita this year, but this colt attracts Kent Desormeaux and has races good enough to get the job done against this group.

Race 3

The third is the second of the two optional claiming events run down the hill. I will use several in here, including my top choice #10 Tristan’s Trilogy. The Rockingham Ranch gelding has yet to win in 4 starts in 2017, but checks a lot of the boxes I discussed in my “Sniffing for Longshots” article attached below.  He draws outside, possesses tactical speed, exits a two-turn race and has had success down the hill. There is a lot to like, but I will also include others.

Race 4

My single in the final Players’ Pick 5 of the meeting comes in a rock bottom maiden claimer at seven panels.

#2 Tiffany’s Diamond showed speed in her first effort around two turns back in late October, but appears better suited for sprinting. Trainer Michael Machowsky attracts the services of apprentice Evin Roman for the initial time on this daughter of Gemologist that appears a stand out in this lackluster field.

Race 5

The sequence concludes with a non-winners of three $16K claimer at six panels over the main track.

#5 Make It a Triple is the 5-2-morning line favorite and the one to beat, but he is 0 for 6 at Santa Anita Park making him hard to get too excited about at a short price.

I will also include class droppers #2 Tough It Out and #3 Tengas Ransom, as well as #7 Hank the Tank and #8 Bolitar both who could take advantage of things if they go too fast early on.

Here is my suggested ticket:

Race 1:



Race 2:



Race 3:



Race 4:



Race 5:






Ticket Price: $120

Happy New Year!

You can find my full card Daily Selections each and every day for the Southern California circuit here: