The first race goes off at Woodbine at 4:30 pm EDT
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It’s a relatively quiet day, at least as far as Saturdays go. We’ve still not quite made it to the heart of Breeders Cup Prep Season – that will unofficially commence with the running of the Pennsylvania Derby in a week’s time – but there’s nevertheless plenty of good racing action to go around, with Woodbine, which has three graded turf stakes, leading the way. There's also a Cross Country Pick 5 that we like, and that will be the focus of our play today. We will first handicap each race individually, in the order they will be run, and we will also illustrate how the concept of value with a win bet can be very different than it is in a multi-race bet like the Pick 5. With the Breeders Cup coming up, we need to be comfortable with multi-race wagers like the Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 5, because these are usually the best bets on the best betting day of the year.
There's a lot here, so let’s get to it. We will note that we expect fast dirt and firm turf everywhere; with that out of the way, let’s go.
Woodbine, Race 7, 4:30 pm ET
Grade 2 Canadian Stakes, 1 1/8 miles, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & up
Seven go in the Canadian. Chad Brown has the favorite, 5-Competitionofideas, a 4-year-old filly who has had second-itis since winning the American Oaks at Santa Anita last year: she finished second in three straight graded stakes in the spring and summer, before a third in the Beverly D at Arlington last month. She appears to be the class of the field, but she will be a short price: she's 8/5 on the morning line, and will likely be even shorter at post time.
Competitionofideas is a good example of how a horse can have very different merits in the win pool versus a multi-race play. As a win bet, her odds make her unappealing, but in the Pick 5, she can be the foundation of the entire ticket. We are comfortable singling her, will leave the rest of the runners out.
Woodbine, Race 9, 5:42 pm ET
Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, 1 mile, turf, 3 & up
The Woodbine Mile has been a major Breeders Cup prep race for as long as we can remember, and the quality of today's field illustrates this: it's a very good race, with some very talented runners. Even better is the fact that two fillies are entered: Both 5-Got Stormy, who won the Fourstardave at Saratoga last out, and 5-Awesometank, who finished second in the Beverly D, line up against the boys here.
This is a wide-open race that lacks a clear standout, and we will consequently handicap it very differently for Pick 5 purposes than we would if we were trying to make a win bet. We can throw out 1-El Tormento, 8-American Guru, 10-Emmaus, and 11-Admiralty Pier, but we think that the other seven runners all have a chance. We are going to spread wide in this race, and include them all except the horses mentioned above.
Belmont Park, Race 10, 5:57 pm ET
$200,000 Pebbles Stakes, 1 mile, turf, 3-year-old fillies
A field of seven goes in the Pebbles, plus one main-track only entrant. Chad Brown has 9/5 favorite 2-Blowout and 3-1 second choice 4-Seek and Destroy, but we very much prefer the filly on the outside, 8-East. East finished second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly Turf last year, and while she is winless this year, she has been running in some of the toughest turf races in Europe. We think that East simply outclasses this field, and we will bet her to win ($40 to win, at 7/2 odds), and we will single her on our Pick 5 tickets.
Woodbine, Race 10, 6:17 pm ET
Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, 1 1/2 miles, turf, 3 & up
A short field of six goes here, and we like that for Pick 5 purposes, the race is a freebie: Charles Appleby's 1-Old Persian, who's even money on the morning line, towers over this field. He's lost two races in a row, but they were Group 1 races in Germany and England; he faced very, very formidable horses in both of those, and the field here is at least an order of magnitude weaker. The fact that he is better up on firm turf -- throughout his career, he's run better the firmer the going -- makes him a lead-pipe cinch. He's probably going to be 3/5, and we wouldn't bet him to win, but we think he's a comfortable single in the Pick 5 sequence.
Belmont Park, Race 11, 6:30 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & up
This race looks wide open -- WIDE open. There's a full field of twelve, and for Pick 5 purposes, we are going to use them all -- if we make it this far, we want to hit the bet. We'll hit the all button, and hope for chaos.
Here are our picks in the five races in the sequence:
Race 1: 5-Competitionofideas
Race 2: 2-Lucullan, 3-Silent Poet, 4-Synchrony, 5-Got Stormy, 6-Awesometank, 7-Raging Bull, 9-Made You Look
Race 3: 8-East
Race 4: 1-Old Persian
Race 5: All (12 runners)
This is 84 combinations, and the base wager in this Pick 5 is 50 cents. We will play it at a $1 level, for a total investment of $84. A play with a 50-cent base wager will cost half that, $42 -- this is an example of how one can have fun, and possibly cash a big ticket, with a relatively small cash outlay.
That's all for today. Enjoy the racing, and good luck at the windows.