Upstart vs. Rick Violette

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August 15th, 2014

By Andrew Champagne

We gave out a $291 winner in this space yesterday thanks to Bug Juice prevailing in a blanket finish. For Friday’s card, a 10-race slate filled with head-scratchers, we’ll try to make some dough early in the day. The late Pick Four has two extremely tough legs, so I’ll steer clear and see if I can score right away.

RACE #2: We start off with a maiden race for state-bred 2-year-olds. I’m going three-deep, using #2 Tizquick (9/5), #3 Breakin the Fever (12-1), and #4 Upstart (2-1).

Upstart is my top pick. Rick Violette can win with firsters, and this Flatter colt has been working very consistently here. He was a $130,000 purchase last year by Ralph Evans, and he’s got every chance to be a good one.

RACE #3: I thought this was the toughest race in the sequence. It’s a turf sprint for $35,000 claimers, and I’m going four-deep, using #1 Rangey (5/2), #2 Slamarama (20-1), #4 Special Selection (7/2), and #8 Papa Tom (12-1).

Rangey is logical despite the rail draw. He likes Saratoga, has plenty of early speed, and should improve second off the layoff for Jeremiah Englehart. However, I’ve used two longshots for good reason. Slamarama likes the 5 ½ furlong turf route, and Papa Tom finished less than two lengths behind Rangey last out.

RACE #4: Here we have a classy little optional claimer for older fillies and mares. I’m using two of the six horses entered, as #2 Taketheodds (3-1) and #4 Street Girl (2-1) are on my ticket.

Street Girl makes her first start for Todd Pletcher, and she’s my top pick. She was second in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff two back and finished third to Close Hatches in last year’s Cotillion. She hasn’t won in a while, but she’s gone up against the best of the best. This is a good field, but it isn’t THAT good, and this seems like the perfect spot for a confidence-builder.

RACE #5: We end with a turf sprint, and this one’s a maiden event for state-breds. I’m going two-deep again, using #4 Poppy’s Watching (3-1) and #8 Latigo Trail (5/2).

Poppy’s Watching is my top pick here. He has three seconds in three starts at this route, and they account for all but one of his lifetime in-the-money finishes. He loves this route, he gets a great post in his second start off the bench, and he doesn’t face the best of fields in this spot.

This isn’t an expensive ticket. It works out to a manageable $24, and if one of the longshots in the first two legs connects, it could make for a sizable return on investment. Good luck!