HALLANDALE BEACH FL, April 8, 2022 — We’ve solved 40% of the national Pick 5 wager involving graded stakes from Aqueduct Race Track and Keeneland Race Course.
The final edition of the Pick 5 grid will be presented chronologically upon conclusion of the New York research, and a word on the titanic match at Santa Anita Park, too. Meanwhile, here’s a look at the G2 Shakertown and G1 Blue Grass from Lexington.
XC Pick 5 Sequence Order
1-Shakertown, 2-Wood Memorial, 3-Blue Grass, 4-Carter, 5-Gazelle
KEENELAND G2 Shakertown Race 8
The last time he was in action, Golden Pal won the BC Turf Sprint impressively in fast time. Prior to that he was an open lengths winner of the G2 Woodford on today’s surface, improving his Keeneland record to 2-for-2–at today’s trip.
On paper, with a lifetime slate that reads (8) 5-2-0, (7) 5-1-0 at the distance, he appears unbeatable.
The most probable winner will be challenged by several in the lineup, the most interesting of those being Gear Jockey, who will appreciate coming back home to Kentucky after a recent practice run Gulfstream Park. The surface switch and added sixteenth are in his favor. We will use both in the Pick 5 but graded choices follow:
A: 10-Golden Pal (4-5)
B: 5-Gear Jockey (10-1)
C: 3-Barraza (6-1), 7-Cowan (20-1), 11-Just Might (4-1)
VALUE WIN PLAY: Gear Jockey at 9-1 or greater
KEENELAND G1 Blue Grass Race 9
A two-horse race on paper likely will turn out that way between the fences. Splitting hairs, we prefer Zandon to Smile Happy but, as in the Shakertown, we will use both in the cross country sequence.
The former was beaten ½ length by the latter but Zandon had the tougher time of it, including a compromised start and a ground losing rally. He needs a top effort, at least a placing, to lock in a spot inside the Churchill gate.
A: 4-Zandon (5-2), 10-Smile Happy (9-5)
B: 6-Emmanuel (9-2)
C: 7-Golden Glider (20-1), 9-Rattle N Roll (8-1), 8-Ethereal Road (20-1)
VALUE WIN PLAY: Zandon at 2-1 or greater
AQUEDUCT G2 Wood Memorial Race 8
Two horses on paper are hard to separate as both are undefeated and love the surface in Queens. But we’ll shade a winning race at the distance, the longer pedigree, and super pace figures. In addition, he needs Derby points. Using both A’s.
A: 3-Early Voting (5-2), 5-Morello (8-5)
B: 1-Mo Donegal (5-2),
C: 6-Skippylongstocking (15-1), 2-Golden Code (15-1), 4-Long Term (20-1)
VALUE WIN PLAY: Early Voting at 9-5 or greater
AQUEDUCT G1 Carter Handicap Race 9
Speaker’s Corner’s figures have exploded with maturity this year and has visually impressed. Runnerup came back to win Florida Derby Day. Reinvestment Risk returned for layoff in top form and may move forward again. Green Light Go never should have been moved from Jimmy Jerkens’ barn in the first place. Mind Control, second in last year’s Carter, hits hard and has trained brilliantly for 2022 debut. Allowing for conceivable bounce and seeking value somewhere, we’ll consider using all four A’s and B’s.
A: 8-Speaker’s Corner (8-5)
B: 1-Reinvestment Risk (4-1), 2-Green Light Go (9-2), 4-Mind Control (7-2),
C: 6-War Tocsin (20-1)
VALUE WIN PLAY: Post time decision
AQUEDUCT G3 Gazelle Stakes Race 10
Venti Valentine’s only defeat in four lifetime starts was a neck loss to Nest, who crushed the Ashland on opening day at Keeneland. May be special herself. May just belong with the elite in loaded 3-year-old filly division. (If we single Speaker’s Corner, we’ll use A and B’s here. If we don’t, it likely will be Venti Valentine.
A: 5-Venti Valentine (7-5)
B: 3-Nostalgic (9-2), 6-Classy Edition (5-2)
C: 7-Divine Huntress (8-1), 1-Morning Matcha (8-1)
VALUE WIN PLAY: Nostalgic at 4-1 or greater
SANTA ANITA DERBY Race 6
This is the race many say that will determine the Derby winner of May. We’re taking a wait and see on that.
There’s no denying Forbidden Kingdom’s brilliance. HIs last was impressive by any measure, any speed scale. But does he go forward on backward from there? We don’t know, our best guess is he run the same race back.
Two things: He’s meeting a rival that is his equal or better. Of greater concern is the bottom side of his pedigree which is light on stamina. And in a big spot, it’s J.J. or J.R.–we’ll err on the side of the Hall of Famer.
Messier ran strongly and fast at 2, and his 3-year-old debut was lights out. He has good spacing into this and trained brilliantly before being turned over to a new trainer. Will he perform Baffert-like, or won’t he? We don’t know.
What we do know is that he now is in the barn of a former assistant and, unlike the former guy, Baffert likely, given his proximity to Hollywood, has heard the term burner phone. The only one who knows for sure is The Shadow. If Messier is all that, he is the more probable winner and is our choice.
I very much look forward to this matchup, but we’ll go to school on this one and keep our hands in our pockets.
this is a live column that will be updated throughout the weekend