Shapiro's Alabama Stakes Late Pick 5
The Alabama (G1) headlines another big Saturday of racing at beautiful Saratoga. The 11-race card also includes the Saratoga Derby Invitational, which is part of the late Pick 5 sequence, along with the Alabama. With vulnerable favorites in the two stakes, I will take a big swing and hope to score.
A number of these New York-breds exit the July 25 race won by Turbo Drive. There was a rare hot early pace in that two-turn turf event over the Saratoga sod where #2 Sanctuary City took advantage of the race shape and came from well out of it to finish second. The Temple City colt is amongst several in here that can get to the wire first, but it is unlikely he will get such a great setup in this one. That being said, there still should be an honest first half-mile given the presence of #5 Danfusi, as well as #9 Kid d’Oro and #10 Steelersfanforlife.
#6 Mo Ready and #7 Simply had brutal trips in that July 25 event and make a ton of sense in here. #3 Albie was involved in the early tussle in his last start, but the move to Joel Rosario and the removal of blinkers suggest he will be taken from off the pace on Saturday. I will use these three and Sanctuary City in an outstanding betting race to start the sequence.
Race 8: Saratoga Derby Invitational
#2 Decorated Invader has done very little wrong over his first seven tries for trainer Christophe Clement. The $200,000 Keeneland September 2018 purchase lost by three-quarters of a length to #7 Field Pass in his debut over this turf course and finished fourth when likely best in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last November. Other than that, he has hit the wire first in all of his other starts.
The West Point Thoroughbreds colt has shown versatility as a 3-year-old winning from both a stalking position and from well off the early pace. He merits major respect, but faces his toughest task of 2020 in the Saratoga Derby. I will try to beat him since I expect him to be over bet based on resume and reputation.
Amongst those the trio of horses I will use against Decorated Invader is #1 Bama Breeze. The son of Honor Code has had three less-than-ideal voyages to start his 3-year-old campaign and should appreciate the added ground. At a big price he is a horse I will also be betting to Win and keying in vertical wagers.
Race 9: Alabama S. (G1)
The featured event on Saturday’s card came up strong. Blue Grass (G2) runner-up #5 Swiss Skydiver has had an impressive 3-year-old campaign that includes top three finishes at five different racetracks. There is no doubt she is a deserving even-money favorite, but I still have my concerns. The daughter of Daredevil has danced a lot of dances and she has to prove she can get 10-furlongs with another speed horse in #3 Crystal Ball drawn to her inside.
#2 Spice Is Nice should get a great trip off of the likely pacesetters and has the look of a horse that should have no issue getting the arduous 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga. Look for the Todd Pletcher trainee to sit a pocket trip under John Velazquez and earn her first graded stakes victory.
There are several ways to go in an extremely challenging state-bred event for optional claimers.
#4 Call Me Harry was dominant in his first two starts for trainer Kelsey Danner before a pair of off-the-board finishes to end his 2019 campaign. The son of Street Sense comes in off a strong series of works and is capable of winning in his first try off the bench. #5 New York’s Finest makes his first start under Rudy Rodriguez and is tough to ignore based on his 4-for-6 record at the Spa. #9 Bustin Shout draws favorably to the outside in this 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the sod. If he can relax off of Call Me Harry and New York’s Finest he could make it two in a row. If they go fast early look for #1 Maxwell Esquire or #2 Shiraz to take advantage.
I am against the top two choices in the finale. #4 Bricco and #6 Michael’s Bad Boy have both had their chances to move forward and find the winner’s circle, but have failed to do so. Bricco is likely to take a ton of public support, but had absolutely no excuse last time out when he was outkicked by Operative. I will look to beat them both to close things out.
- R7: 2+3+6+7
- R8: 1+5+6
- R9: 2
- R10: 1+2+4+5+9
- R11: 1+3+8+9
Ticket Cost: $120