Shapiro's early Pick 5 analysis for Travers Day at Saratoga

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August 7th, 2020

Five stakes events, including the Travers (G1), headline a massive day at Saratoga on Saturday, but there is also a competitive early Pick 5 offered over the first five races.

Hopefully we can start the day off with a bang before the stars take center stage. Let's analyze the sequence and put a ticket together.

Race 1

Morning-line favorite #3 Doswell has not been seen since a fourth-place effort over the slop in September. The son of Giant’s Causeway has burned a ton of money, lost as the public choice in all four of his 2019 starts for trainer Chad Brown, and is now in the Barclay Tagg barn.

Perhaps the 11-months off and the change of scenery will benefit him, but I am willing to let the 5-year-old gelding beat me.

The same is true for #5 Compliant. The son of Kitten’s Joy will make his first start off a 9 1/2-month layoff for Brown. The Klaravich Stables colt lacks early zip and is better served going longer than Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile distance. He is likely to have too much to do late, which makes him an easy fade at his 7-2 morning-line price.

I will use the other four starters and hope to catch a price to start the day.

Race 2

Three of the major players in this 9-fulrong affair over the main track exit the July 18 race won by #3 Shalako.

There was a fast early pace for the distance in that $32,000 claimer, with the presence of Flowers for Lisa and Kumar. That honest early tempo set things up for those well off the pace, but I do not see that being the case in this spot. I will fade Shalako and lean on a pair of runners who should be prominently placed.

#1 Lil Commissioner will make his second start of the form cycle, after an easy win against lesser at Belmont Park in June. The Field Commission gelding should either make the lead or find a comfortable pocket position on the stretch out for trainer Rob Atras. If the Florida-bred handles the added ground, he will be tough to beat.

I will also include #4 Hammerin Aamer. The son of Jump Start was a bit too close to the pace in that race won by Shalako, but still tried hard and lost by just three lengths. With a more favorable race shape, the Maryland-bred has a chance to spring a minor upset in his first start off the claim for David Cannizzo. The presence of Kendrick Carmouche suggests he will be ridden aggressively out of the gate.

Race 3

#9 Light in the Sky is the deserving favorite in her second start of the meet for trainer Horacio DePaz. The daughter of Tale of the Cat finished second to good-looking winner My Sassy Sarah in a similar race July 19 and should get enough pace to run at in this state-bred, first-level allowance event over the grass. If the Barry Schwartz-owned filly can avoid another poor break, she should run this group down in the lane.

If Light in the Sky leaves herself too much to do in the lane, #3 Risky Mischief is the likeliest to benefit. The $350,000 sales purchase will try the lawn for the first time, after a speed-and-fade effort in the $100,000 Bouwerie S. in June. If she takes to the surface switch, she should give the chalk all she can handle.

Race 4

It is difficult to trust the turf races in New York will play out like they look on paper, but #2 Siding Spring, #3 Field of Courage, #7 Honorable Hero, and #10 Bootlegger should battle early.

That should set things up for #5 Hieroglyphics or #8 Golden Spear. Both have had success at Saratoga and will benefit from a contentious early pace. I will include both.

Race 5

The final leg looks like a two-horse race, between a pair of Into Mischief colts who drew favorably for their debut.

#7 Mutasaabeq has worked extremely well since he arrived in upstate New York, including a 4-furlong drill in 46.20 Aug 1. The Todd Pletcher trainee looks quick, as does his main rival, #6 Bottle Rocket Man. The Brown trainee worked 5 furlongs in 59.40 July 26 and should run big in his first try.

Suggested wager: (50-cent Pick 5)

R1: 1+2+4+6

R2: 1+4

R3: 3+9

R4: 5+8

R5: 6+7

Ticket cost: $32