Below is an economical early Pick 5 ticket for Opening Day at Santa Anita Park. As always the ticket is $20 or less. Even with a low-priced single to end the sequence, it should pay extremely well. Good luck to all!
Zorich (#2, 7-2) does not like to string good efforts together, but after running poorly last time, his form cycle signals a better race is on the horizon. His effort two starts back was likely good enough to win in this spot and I like the idea of this gelding cutting back in distance to a sprint for the first time.
Red Valor (#5, 5-2) crushed lesser maiden claimers at Del Mar, only to be disqualified for coming over out of the gate. He was much the best that day regardless and the class hike from $20,000 to $40,000 may not be as large as it seems against this particular field. Hard to ignore his kind of early speed.
Rineshaft (#4, 8-1) offers upside after finishing with some interest in his only start at Los Alamitos. He broke very slowly that day and finished 5 lengths behind Palma's other starter, Norski. That was Norksi's 7th start and with a clean break, I expect Rineshaft to turn the tables on his stablemate.
Gate Speed (#3, 9-5) must be included on the ticket based on the large drop in class that he takes in here. I am not convinced that he is any sort of slam dunk at a low price, but he figures on his best day and attracts Joel Rosario.
Enchanted Nile (#1, 8-1) was simply given a race sprinting in her dirt debut for trainer Neil Drysdale. Drysdale is known to be patient with his runners and most of his stock end up being best routing on the grass. This $375,000 purchase gets that chance today and should show big improvement after working well for this spot.
Antigone (12, 7-2) looks to have a bit of hang in her, but the connections are hoping that the addition of blinkers will help her fight through the wire. She is certainly an exacta key and will not have to improve much to win on Friday.
Awesome Drive (#11, 6-1) ran a promising 3rd on debut before being thrown into the deep end in a two-year-old stakes. She held her own to run 6th that day and should be a major factor as she returns to the maiden ranks in this spot.
Undisturbed ( #8, 6-1) ran okay while getting an education in a swiftly run debut race. She should enjoy stretching out and picks up top jockey Flavien Prat.
K P Whirlwind (#9, 15-1) offers nice value at 15-1 morning line. Her debut was not too hot, but you can certainly be forgiving of that effort considering it came sprinting on the dirt and she is bred to route on turf. She picks up Rosario and is another contender in a wide-open race.
Lovely Lilia (#2, 2-1) drops in class, adds blinkers, switches to dirt and catches a field devoid of talent. Expect her to show much more early speed today for trainer Phil D'Amato.
Wakes Up Happy (#5, 9-5) has a similar profile to Lovely Lilia. She drops in class, makes an equipment charge, switches to dirt and has not proven that she is slow on dirt like everyone else in the field.
Pride's Gold (#4, 10-1) is worth singling at 10-1. Her form in Europe was terrific and her first race in America was even better. She broke slow, went wide and made a big middle move before running 3rd. She likely bounced a bit when asked to go 1 3/8 in her second U.S. start and was caught behind a slow pace. After a failed dirt attempt, she returns to the turf and more importantly, returns to a mile, the distance of her last win. She seems like the type of closer that does not get better with added distance, but makes her best run into a hot pace. She should get a hot pace today and is the key to a nice paying ticket.
Bast (#4, 3-5) looms a short-priced standout in the Chandelier Stakes. She ran much faster in the Del Mar Debutante than the males in the Del Mar Futurity on the same day and should toy with this field on her way to favoritism in the Breeders' Cup.
$0.50 Pick 5 Ticket: 2,3,4,5 – 1,8,9,11,12 – 2,5 – 4 – 4 = $20