To key or not to key: Gun Runner and Monday's Oaklawn Late Pick 5
Race 6: I'm going to sink or swim in this first leg going three-deep while leaving the two logical morning line choices out. Boxer Boy (#4, 15-1) has a trainer/jockey combo I greatly respect (Doug Anderson/Ty Kennedy) and this gelding should improve second out after breaking slow in his debut. Hard Scramble (#5, 9-2) is the likely horse to catch after leading and fading in his Churchill bow that included two starters in today's Southwest (G3). Big Ragu (#6, 8-1) has endured less-than-stellar trips in his first three outings and should improve routing for the first time here.
Race 7: Gun Runner (#1, 4-5) will be a key for most, and in a perfect world he would be mine, too. However, a line of storms late this afternoon could turn the track wet, and this colt hasn't been too keen on that condition in the past. I also recall the champion filly Untapable running below par at miserly odds in her four-year-old bow here on an off track for these same connections. Blue Tone (#3, 9-2) handled the slop just fine in the San Gabriel (G3) at Santa Anita last out, while Hawaakom (#5, 10-1) is another who can handle the wet going and comes off a sharp win in the $73,000 Louisiana at Fair Grounds.
Race 8: Rocket Time (#2, 4-1) comes off a solid third in the aforementioned Louisiana which he entered off a bit of a spell. If the track is off, I wouldn't be surprised to see him show a bit more speed from post 1. Brerry (#4, 10-1) has the look of a horse on the rise in this field comprised mostly of grizzled veterans. For a flyer, I'm going to toss in Dac (#5, 15-1), who might be better on synthetic but who should appreciate the return to a route.
Race 9: Uncontested (#3, 5-2) is the favorite for all the right reasons, and if the track is as wet as it was on Smarty Jones Day, look out. If the chalk happens to get softened up a bit more than last time, last-out maiden winner Silver Dust (#2, 10-1) is worth a look.
Race 10: Vandelay (#3, 7-2) is the one to beat off his last start, an improved effort with blinkers on, but others could turn in a mild upset. Both Altito (#2, 6-1) and Tapsolute (#4, 5-1) are nicely-bred youngsters with a chance to improve, especially the former on the drop from maiden special weight company in New York. I also wouldn't put it past Cash That Check (#7, 8-1) from having a say in his debut for a hot barn.
The 50-cent ticket is: 4/5/6 - 1/3/5 - 2/4/5 - 2/3 - 2/3/4/7 = $108