Shapiro's early Pick 5 analysis for Alabama Day at Saratoga
Alabama Day on Saturday gets started at Saratoga with an early Pick 5 sequence that includes a pair of maiden special weight events, as well as a trio of claiming races over the main track.
Let's put together a ticket and hope to make some money early in the card.
#4 Bebe Banker will cut back to one turn and drop in class, after a speed-and-fade effort going 1 1/8 miles against state-bred allowance foes July 29.
The 4-year-old gelding will handle this field of low-level conditional claimers for fun if he can run back to his 94 Brisnet Speed rating from June 21.
However, he is difficult to trust, because Saturday’s distance is shorter than he prefers and he has failed to hit the board in two tries over the Saratoga dirt. I will use the son of Central Banker, but also will include a few others who will provide greater separation if they win the opener.
#5 Polinesia is bred to win early and often. The American Pharoah colt is out of a Super Saver mare, Super Majesty, who won three of her first four starts, including a victory in the Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs in September of 2015.
The Chad Brown-trained Polinesia comes into his debut over the lawn with a long series of drills and meets a field he should handle with a clean break.
Trainer Rob Atras will send out 5-2-favorite #5 Chateau in a challenging open $32,000 claimer. The son of Flat Out has races to go back to, when he was under the care of Jason Servis, that would crush this bunch, but his two most recent performances leave a lot to be desired.
It has been dangerous to take on on Atras recently. The former Robertino Diodoro assistant has won with three of his last four starters, but with plenty of other speed signed on in this 6-furlong dash, I am willing to let the son of Flat Out beat me.
#1 Lusitano is an interesting option on the turnback and surface switch, as is #6 Bitumen, who should get a great trip off of an expected contentious early pace. I will use them both, as well as a couple others, to hopefully take down Chateau.
Favored #3 Papa Luke has finished second in his last two starts, but the son of Strong Mandate had perfect outside stalking voyages in both tries.
He is capable of besting this bunch of New York-bred maidens, as is #2 Farragut, but I prefer a few lightly raced runners who offer more upside and better value.
#7 American Piper will move off the rail, after he took solid support in his first start for trainer Rick Buckley. The addition of blinkers and Lasix should lead to a much-improved performance.
#1 Orb in the Tower was also well backed in his debut, when he ran on late to finish a well-beaten fifth. If he can avoid another slow start, he has a shot to spring an upset.
There is not much early speed signed on in the final leg of the early Pick 5, so I will lean on a few horses who should be prominently placed in this 7-furlong dash for non-winners of two races lifetime.
Class droppers #3 Fevola and #10 Brazen make a lot of sense, but I will also include #11 Beach Front. The son of Smart Bid has just one victory in 13 starts, but drew favorably to the outside and should appreciate the return to the main track.
Perhaps he can stalk off the early pacesetters and outfinish this group under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Suggested Wager: 50-cent Pick 5
Ticket Cost: $48