Shapiro's Late Pick 5 for Vanderbilt Day
The second Saturday card of the 2020 Saratoga meeting is headlined by the return of Volatile in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1). The 6-furlong dash makes up the fourth leg of a late Pick 5 sequence that as always is conducted over the final five races on the card in New York.
The pace should be contentious in this first-level allowance event over the inner turf course, which could set things up for 2-1-morning line favorite #8 Lonesome Fugitive. The Zoffany colt broke his maiden on June 6 for trainer Chad Brown and has tremendous upside, but is still figuring things out making him tough to fully trust at a short price.
#1A Maroon Maniac is an intriguing alternative and will offer much better value. The Robert Lapenta-owned colt ran a strong second on debut at Tampa Bay Downs against a live bunch and then broke his maiden in a race washed off the grass in April. Javier Castellano should be able to tuck in just off the pace and get the jump on Lonesome Fugitive.
#7 Proven Strategies is worth using defensively. The son of Sky Mesa holds the experience edge over his rivals and ran well in his only start over this turf course. He may get caught up in an early tussle, but if not he is dangerous.
The Todd Pletcher entry of #1 You’re to Blame and #1A Money Moves is capable in this 9-furlong event over the main track, but is likely to get overbet. You’re to Blame appears to have tailed off as a 6-year-old and the talented 3-year-old Money Moves has been impressive in his first two tries in Florida, but meets a solid bunch of veteran rivals in his initial try at two turns.
I will try to beat the Pletcher duo with a pair of geldings that come out of the June 18 race at Belmont Park. #5 I love Jaxson and #6 Prioritize raced against the flow in that 1 1/16-mile event captured by 12-time winner Its All Relevant. They should both be setup well for big efforts on the stretch out to 9 furlongs.
I lack a strong opinion in this state-bred allowance event over the lawn, but the pace should be honest given the presence of #5 Steelersfanforlife, #7 Mo Ready, and #12 Stanhope. I will use several that should benefit from the lively early tempo, including price option #8 Sanctuary City. The Temple City colt was full of run in his maiden breaking performance at Belmont Park earlier this month. His pedigree suggests the added ground should not be an issue.
Race 10: Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap
#4 Volatile is the likeliest winner in the featured Vanderbilt after smashing a field of six in the Aristides S. in early June. The non-graded stakes victory was the second straight career-best effort for the pricey son of Violence and earned the colt a massive 109 Brisnet Speed rating. With little speed signed on in this sprint over the main track the Steve Asmussen trainee should have things his way, but I am slightly concerned that he takes a step backwards in his initial effort versus graded stakes foes. If he does, #5 Mind Control has a shot to spring the upset. The 4-year-old is a perfect 2-for-2 at Saratoga and should get a great trip from his outside post. I am willing to forgive his effort over the sloppy going in the Carter H. (G1) last month.
The Saturday finale is a state-bred maiden claiming event over the turf. #5 Timeless Journey should be ready to take a big step forward after a sixth-place effort versus better to start her career. In that race at Belmont Park, the daughter of Verrazano did not get off to a great beginning and then was hardly asked in the lane by jockey Junior Alvarado. The Christophe Clement barn is on fire to start the meeting and this one should appreciate the drop in class.
I will also include #7 Brovia who encountered serious traffic in her first try over the green on June 19. I love what I see from apprentice Luis Cardenas so far, but there is no denying the massive rider upgrade to the red-hot Irad Ortiz Jr.
Suggested Wager: (50-cent Pick 5)
- R7: 1+7+8
- R8: 5+6
- R9: 3+4+8+9+10
- R10: 4+5
- R11: 5+7
Ticket Cost: $60