HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 4, 2023 — I play horizontal wagers selectively. My bankroll and handicapping sanity require as much. Usually, they are limited to sequences in which there is a desirable, quasi-reliable single, perhaps even two.
The process behind a Mandatory Payout Pick 5 is straight-forward. If no one selects a Perfect 5, the entire pool goes to those players who picked four winners, or less.
It still figures to pay decently and you don’t have to return tomorrow chasing your money via a carryover pool. It’s not any easier to win but it’s safer for rank and file players who can’t match tickets purchased by individual whales or syndicates.
Normally, we make horizontal selections on big race days anywhere and everywhere. Obviously, this is Whitney Day at the Spa and the Mandatory Five but is not part of this sequence. There is a Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 for those looking to single, or upset, Cody’s Wish.
Track and weather conditions are unreliable at this posting. Precipitation is forecasted to end tonight and the track will be drying out. Speed favoring or demanding, that is the issue.
I will name all the horses I’ve left in the five races, from the inside positions, out:
Saratoga Race 5: Probably the hardest race in the sequence. Wouldn’t be surprised if the deep-pocketed hit the ALL button here. Two for Charging (5-1) won here at 2. Golden Arm (6-1) goes for connections that are 26% with that tactic and his prior on dirt co-fastest figure in here. Thank You Jon (9-2) is not as fast but has never taken a backward step, winning his last as the rider pleased.
Troy Stakes Race 6: Cogburn (8-1) has found a home in turf sprints for Asmussen. Caravel (3-5), super star filly, meets colts here, getting weight concessions. Grooms All Bizness (8-1) was 2-for-2 in Monmouth turf sprints, earning a top Thoro-Graph figure in last; class test here. Nobals (7-2) seeks third straight for Larry Rivelli, a top ship-in barn, brings stable rider E.T. Baird along.
Lure Stakes, Race 7: Smokin’ T (7-2) has raised her game at 4, lacks “soft” experience, but has won on different courses. Dakota Gold (5-2) also has gone forward at 4, always seems to fire, big late engine, likes Spa. Speaking Scout (9-2) gets significant class relief for Motion/Prat team. Chazzesmee (12-1) Euro may be very well spotted here for top connections. Doctor Davis (20-1) comes off lifetime best run and drops six pounds.
G1 Test Stakes, Race 8: Pretty Mischievous (9-5) won the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn in her last two starts; needs no introduction. Dorth Vader (6-1) had the tougher trip when beaten ahead in the Acorn. Munnys Gold (7-2) back to what she wants to do–sprint–the experiment is over. Maple Leaf Mel (2-1) is an unusually gifted New York-bred filly; more than worthy of this.
G1 Saratoga Derby, Race 9: Many talented turf three-year-olds seeking top status. Mondego (5-1) prematurely to the lead going 10 furlongs and was just nailed; shorter is better here. Program Trading (7-2) a 2-for-2 Chad and gets Prat. Aspen Grove (12-1) won a Grade 1 in U.S. debut; Euro bounce? Far Bridge (2-1) Toddster is fast and classy. Webslinger (4-1) gelding has shown improvement through 3YO year. Lion of War (8-1) Euro shipper has improved in recent starts. Truly Quality (12-1) impressed in recent maiden win; Thomas and Irad; who knows?