By Brian Monzo
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I figured this week we will try something different. Instead of picking winners and breaking down individual races and horses, I thought we would try to make a reasonable Pick 6 play. Pick 6s offer a lot of value, especially at Saratoga, and looking at today’s card, I saw an opportunity to play a reasonable ticket with some solid-price horses.
For me, I always try to find a race where a single horse can be used. Ideally two races with singles allow you to really mix it up in other races, but I couldn’t find more than one single. I think that’s alright though.
I was able to put together a ticket that costs less than $100 and uses a few good prices that have legitimate chances to win.
With 10 races on the card, the Pick 6 starts with the fifth race.
The fifth race is one of the tougher races to handicap. It’s for maiden 2-year-old fillies on the dirt for five furlongs. It’s a sprint. I went with two horses here. The 2 horse, Cynical Storm is a Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez first timer. This is a Pletcher special. Will come with short odds, but the last two workouts at four furlongs are fast, and the odds are Velazquez with put her in the lead and try to wire the field. The other horse I am using is the 3 horse, Mallory Street. Sired by Street Sense and the dam has been very good with first time sprinters. Each workout has been sharper than the last and I think this one will be live.
The sixth race is one of my favorite kind of races. It’s the 100K Stroll Stakes, 1 and 3/16 miles on the turf. There are quite a few horses that can win here, but again I went two deep. The 5, Winning Cause, is coming off a solid win last month in a similar spot. This is the longest he has had to run, but I think the added distance will benefit him. Joel Rosario takes the mount for Pletcher, and I think he has a big shot. The 6 horse, Hardest Core won at this distance last month in a claiming race, but the form has been getting better in each turf try. Should have a nice price and I think is a lock to hit the board.
The seventh is where I used my single. It’s a mile on the turf for 35K OC’s. We will have to see how speed is holding up, but I am going to single the 5, Starship Gambler. She is coming off a career effort, but she was brilliant with going to the lead and never looking back. She will have to keep the pace reasonable, as the closers look a bit live here. I like Edgar Prado jumping aboard. To me, this was the race to single one, and I think this was the horse with the most value with a big shot to win.
The eighth is the 100K Troy sprint on the turf at 5 1/2 furlongs. I went with two here, starting with the probable favorite, the 4 horse, Great Mills. I never love horses coming off layoffs from California, but I love Joel Rosario taking the mount. He will gun for the lead and try to wire the field. My second pick is the 6, Mop Head. This horse should carry a nice prize and should be just off the leaders and come flying late. Will need the speed horses to wear each other out and find enough room to run late. His last was on the dirt and despite a wide trip, seemed to be the fastest horse in a place effort. Best form is on the turf and I think he has a huge shot to take it.
In the ninth, I went with two. It’s 1 1/8 miles on the dirt for 25K claimers. With an open field, I went with logic. Michael Maker puts Horned Frog, the 4 horse, in this race, coming off three straight wins at Churchill. This is horse is 9 for 18, and will sit just off the pace. Will probably be the chalk, but impossible to leave off the ticket. I also threw in the 6, Thunder Quay. What attracts me here is the fact that the trainer ships from Parx after winning four of five and nearly winning last out against better. Should be on or just off the pace and will be there in the end.
Finally, if we are still alive going into the 10th, I finally used three horses. It’s one mile on the turf for maidens. The 1 horse, Lakeview Lady stretches out from previous runs at six furlongs, but the only turf try was a solid run at the Big A in October and finishing a good third. Works appear good here and I don’t want this horse to beat me. The 9, Tizallheart, just missed last month at Belmont, but did a good job rating last out and I think the cutback from 1 1/16 miles will help. Javier Castellano on for Dominic Galluscio makes this one look better. The 10 horse, Myperfectvalentine plugs away for the sixth time for Linda Rice, but has some of the best speed numbers in the field. Could be time for this one to come out on top.
So here is the final ticket for a $2 Pick 6:
Race 5: 2, 3
Race 6: 5, 6
Race 7: 7
Race 8: 4, 6
Race 9: 4, 6
Race 10: 9, 10, 1
Final Cost of ticket: $96
Good luck to all!
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