Leverage Plays by Padraic Manocchio
Below is the Early Pick 5 ticket at Santa Anita Park on Opening Day, December 26th, 2017. As always the ticket is $20 or less.
River Boyne (#1, 3-1) ran exceptionally well in his United States debut after showing improving form in Europe. He is strictly the horse to beat with Flavien Prat retaining the mount. He will be a short price in a turf grab bag; however and could bounce off that effort.
Pali High (#7, 6-1) is a major threat while stretching out to a mile and an eighth in start number three. After running second in his debut, he encountered a rough trip from post 11 last time and does not need to improve much to be a major factor.
Orbit Rain (#5, 6-1) improved dramatically while stretching out to a mile. Mick Ruis wins at a 29% clip with two-year-olds and this colt offers great value while trying turf for the first time without blinkers.
Big Buzz (#10, 5-2) has ben knocking on the door and drops into a much easier spot after facing Analyze It in a stakes race last time. He should be right there once again, but has to prove he has the desire to win.
Candy Cornell (#12, 5-2) has to be included on all tickets after running a solid second on debut for a trainer that does not crank his horses up first-time out. A repeat of that effort should win this race, but he was 65-1 in his debut and you will only be getting around 2-1 on Tuesday.
Kanthaka (#3, 6-1) comes out of the same race as the favorite, finishing 4 and a half lengths behind that rival. He had to deal with the rail that day and Jerry Hollendorfer horses tend to progress as they go.
American Rule (#9, 8-1) debuts for the always dangerous Bob Baffert barn. Bernardini does not get many winners sprinting first time out, but this colt has a series of strong works and gets Flavien Prat to ride.
Blame the Rider (#8, 8-1) flashed speed after breaking slow against a good debut field. The horse that ran third, Geyvitos, has returned to win two stakes races since. Blame the Rider has been freshened since going off 3-1 in his debut and should be a bigger factor in this race.
Praetorian (#2, 10-1) was bet down to 4-1 on debut for the patient combination of Richard Mandella and Mike Smith. This $850,000 purchase ran only fair, but has worked well in the interim and could be well meant at a price this time around.
Collected (#6, 3-5) offers a short price, but looks to be a free square in the San Antonio Stakes. Collected has become a new horse since removing blinkers with his only loss coming in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. That was at a mile and a quarter, which is a little further than he ideally wants to go. The return to a mile and a sixteenth and easier competition should make him very tough to beat from a comfy outside draw.
Chickatini (#2, 4-1) took lots of money after working very well prior to her debut. She was run off her feet early before closing with a rush to be fourth at five furlongs. The addition of blinkers and switch to the hill should have her more involved early. Her main competition, Sensible Myth, enjoyed a perfect trip last time. Look for Chickatini to turn the tables on that rival and break her maiden in convincing style.
Spectre Bond (#8, 5-2) received a huge figure on debut and proved it was no fluke with a strong second in his first start versus winners at Del Mar. He likely needed his last start and will be tough to handle in his first start for Peter Miller.
Big Gray Rocket (#4, 4-1) has not run in over a year, but Bob Baffert is known to have top horses ready off of long layoffs and I do not think he would bring this colt back on Opening Day if he was not well meant. His maiden win was very impressive and his Champagne Stakes effort can be considered a toss after setting blazing early fractions over a route of ground. He returns to a sprint and could be dangerous.
$0.50 Pick 5 Ticket: 1,5,7,10 – 2,3,8,9,12 – 6 – 2 – 4,8 = $20