International racing expert on Arlington International Festival of Racing Pick 5 Play
By MICHAEL ADOLPHSON
It was quite a challenge narrowing down my picks in this year’s Arlington Million Day all stakes Pick 5 at Arlington. It was downright frustrating, but it is in that moment when you start seeing five horses per race who can win is that you have to slap yourself in the face and say ‘Sophie, make a choice!’ and decide on who your most logical winner is. Building upon that, I was able to open up the remainder of the races, while allowing the ticket to have some semblance of cost-effectiveness. If your single fails you, that is totally fine. Keep that money you did not waste on a $150+ ticket and play some cheap rolling pick-3s, especially the ones leading into stakes races and especially if you love Permian or Afandem in the Secretariat.
Race 8 — Leg 1 ($75k Bruce D. Memorial, 8f Polytrack, One Turn) — 4 5 6 8 10
Wayne Catalano has mentioned that #8 UNCONTESTED (3-1), the likely favorite, will be looking to rate off the speed, but I cannot imagine him doing so by much. He’s simply too quick of a horse who will be forwardly placed and the pace will possibly be too hot. He may take nicely to the Polytrack, as his half-brother Solitary Ranger won the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity over this trip a few years ago — but, maybe not, as said sibling had turf breeding (U. S. Ranger) and this son of Tiz Wonderful is more dirt-laden on paper. I will not throw him out, but I do not expect him to win. Support him with two horses I think will run big in #10 SOCIETY BEAU (6-1) and #4 SMOKE ’N’ GLOAT (9-2), while throwing in class-line play #5 KITTEN’S CAT (7-2) and improving long-shot with a key jockey change, solid barn and killer pedigree in #6 GAIN GROUND (12-1).
Race 9 — Leg 2 ($250k American St. Leger-G3, 13.5fT) — 1 2 7
Either one of Mike Maker’s duo wins — #1 KEYSTONEFORVICTORY (5-2) or #2 TAGHLEEB (2-1) — or #7 POSTULATION (5-1) runs the gauntlet as a horse in great form, not too dissimilar to the same connections’ Arlington Million winner Hardest Core in 2014 (who exited the same prep). He has been hot in the mornings (not too worried considering he is a Harlan’s Holiday), but he also has looked extremely fit. Applicator and Bullards Alley are fast enough to win, but combined they are a lovely 7-for-59 lifetime, so you can have them.
Race 10 — Leg 3 ($600k Beverly D.-G1, 9.5fT) — 1 5 7 10
I will not be drinking the Malbec on Dona Bruja. She offers too little value and poses too many questions when it comes to the quality of fillies she has beaten thus far in America. She knows how to win and loves the trip, but I believe most of her supporters are underestimating the ascension in class here. That, or I am dead wrong and she wins by five. I’ll risk it. We are going to rely on the usual suspects: #5 GRAND JETE (6-1) has out-looked every filly I’ve seen all week and has the best trajectory of any here. Trainer Chad Brown circled this race for a while and she really has an engine on her in the lane. The only question is can she get the trip, being bred more like a miler and physically favoring damsire Zamindar. I have a lot of confidence in Rosario and I love when Dansili offspring come to America because they adore the firm ground here (e.g. Dank). She will be very tough to beat and who knows how good she will be when she’s finally asked a real question. I feel as though RAIN GODDESS will run like a winner until a better filly comes along (again) and she (again) picks up a nice runner-up check for Ballydoyle. I’m including the remaining Brown horses because #7 RAINHA DA BATERIA (6-1) will offer much more value in the pick-5 pool than her morning line suggests and #1 DACITA (4-1) is simply too classy and training too well. I’m going to hope that Hawskmoor, Zipessa and Sarandia cancel each other out on the front end.
Race 11 - Leg 4 — ($1M Arlington Million-G1 10fT) — 5
DEAUVILLE (7-2) has been pointed to this race since losing last year. I can only see him being beaten by Mekhtaal (9-2). Both horses are rated similarly overseas and are G1 winners, with Deauville more of a miler type who can stretch to 10 furlongs (think: Lure in the early 1990s) and Mekhtaal a 10-furlong middle-distance specialist who grinds his way into winning. So, you have to ask yourself what the most logical outcome will be: a Ballydoyle horse ridden by Ryan Moore from a perfect post stretches out to 10f effectively or Frankie Dettori negotiates the 12-hole for a yard that does not come to Arlington nearly as often as O’Brien. Deauville just has to hold off Mekhtaal, Divisidero, The Pizza Man and Kasaqui in that extra furlong and I think he can — especially with how the pace appears to look and how firm it will likely be. Single Deauville and say a prayer.
Race 12 — Leg 5 ($100k Pucker Up-G3, 9fT) — 3 4
Much like last year’s edition, I see three or four fillies who could win this race and only two that should. #3 LIPSTICK CITY (4-1) enters for Chad Brown, has a great post and a solid closing kick. Rosario is on the horse to beat. #4 JOURNEY HOME (9-2), like some of the major players last year, exits the Grade I Belmont Oaks and has the numbers and class to be a serious factor. I love the move to Jose Ortiz here. She just has to prove that she wants to win again. Each out of A. P. Indy mares, they are the ones to beat and should love the nine-furlong trip. You can make cases for Happy Mesa and Dontmesswithjoanne, but I simply do not think they are quite as good as the aforementioned pair. If you want a big upset from a pace perspective, watch out for Mike Stidham-trained Canny on the outside going straight to the front under Leparoux. She gets brave when she gets easy internal fractions and knows the local course. She should go off at huge odds and — if you choose to go more than two-deep here — she is a fun one to include to go out with a bang.
All in all, it is not too exciting of a pick-5 ticket, but if your middle-market plays like Rainha Da Bateria, Postulation and Gain Ground run huge, it does not matter how chalky the remaining two legs are. Good luck!
Pick 5 Ticket — Races 8-12: $72
Race 8 — 4 5 6 8 10
Race 9 — 1 2 7
Race 10 — 1 5 7 10
Race 11 — 5
Race 12 — 3 4
See more of Adolphson’s thoughts with our own Ed DeRosa: