Whitmore an early key to Preakness Day all-stakes Pick 5

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 20th, 2017

A last minute decision to leave Happy Mesa off my Pick 5 ticket Friday at Pimlico in favor of going deeper than necessary in the Miss Preakness (G3) and elsewhere was not my finest wagering hour. That was a $2600+ mistake I won't soon forgot.

Looking at Saturday's all-stakes Pick 5 ending in the Preakness (G1), it's hard to imagine a return of similar size potentially awaits bettors unless several strong-looking favorites are mildly or shockingly upset along the way. I still think the Pick 5, because of the 12% takeout, is worth taking a shot at, however, and the hope is I can get a few upsets of varying size as we go along.

Race 9 (Maryland Sprint) -- Have to roll the dice somewhere, so singling Whitmore (#5, 9-5). The four-year-old has been brilliant since trainer Ron Moquett focused in more on one-turn races. In fact, the gelding is undefeated around one turn, and made short work of nominal opposition at Oaklawn over the winter. I have to hope the aging multiple Grade 1 veteran A. P. Indian doesn't take too big of a step forward off his fine second in the Commonwealth (G3), the form of which was franked two weeks ago in the Churchill Downs (G2).

Race 10 (Gallorette) -- Zipessa (#2, 9-2) was out of her element attempting to lead all the way in the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay (G2) on softish ground two weeks ago. I expect her to fare better shortening up over presumably dryer course conditions. Elysea's World (#7, 5-2) ran two huge races in Florida over the winter against eventual Jenny Wiley (G1) winner Dickinson. Strictly the one to beat with a repeat of those two efforts.

Race 11 (Sir Barton) -- Hedge Fund (#2, 9-5) is the horse to beat off placings in the Sunland Derby (G3) and Illinois Derby (G3), but this is the first of two races I'm going to spread a little in the hopes of catching a longer shot. Honor the Fleet (#1, 5-1) takes a positive bump in class after two big overnight wins over Laurel's one-turn mile. Watch Me Whip (#6, 12-1) surprised in his seven-furlong debut at Keeneland, but did so impressively while suggesting he wouldn't need to improve a whole lot to make his presence felt here. He's a half to Grade 2 winner Private Vow. I'm also tossing in Lexington (G3) also-rans Time to Travel (#9, 7-2) and Resiliency (#10, 15-1). Time to Travel adds Lasix after a solid fourth in that stakes debut, while Resiliency had no business being on the lead in that heat and showed at Fair Grounds two back that his best is good enough to be in the frame here.

Race 12 (Dixie) -- United Nations (G1) winner World Approval (#2, 7-2) will take a lot of action off an easy comeback at Tampa Bay Downs, while Projected (#4, 3-1) beat two next-out Churchill stakes winners in a Keeneland allowance last month, including Divisidero. However, Blacktype (#7, 4-1) should improve off his season debut in the Maker's 46 Mile (G1) and Catapult (#8, 10-1) seems to run his best with Javier Castellano in the saddle. The return of John Velazquez aboard Ring Weekend (#10, 4-1) also gives that six-year-old a big shot to rebound off some sub-par Santa Anita appearances. The pair barely missed in last year's Dixie when Ring Weekend was coming off a 14-month layoff.

Race 13 (Preakness) -- No need to get too crazy in this one. Always Dreaming (#4, 4-5) and Classic Empire (#5, 3-1) will suffice.

The 50-cent ticket is 5 with 2,7 with 1,2,6,9,10 with 2,4,7,8,10 with 4,5 = $50.