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Sep 19, 2014

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               I have said in this space before that the pick 5 is the best bet at the racetrack but I will give two examples that show what a great bet it is and another when it would have been best to take a pass.

               On Saturday September 13th the pick 5 as always started in the first race, a NW1X allowance race run over the turf at 1 and 1/6th miles. A field of 9 went postward with eight betting entrants. Captain Gaughen got away in seventh early on behind some decent splits, came wide around the far turn and rolled on by to get the win by a half-length at 10-1. The second race was a maiden special weight race run over one mile with a field of six that went postward and that race went to Sun and Moon the 7-2 third choice in the race under Javier Castellano. The third race went to the dropdown layoff horse coming off a race back in September 2013 and got up to win by a head paying $25.40. The fourth leg went to the odds-on 4-5 favorite over the second choice paying $3.90 to win. The closing leg was the fifth race and that went to another nice priced horse paying $18.80. The five prices are $22.40, $9.10, $25.40, $3.90 and $18.80 with a $2 parlay paying $23,726. The $2 pick five paid $118,595 five times the amount of the parlay. Now I am not saying this was an easy sequence, however, the value of playing a pick 5 over the parlay was the biggest reason why you should be playing the pick 5 on 99% of the days.

               On Wednesday September 17th the early pick five was definitely not the best bet that day. There was a five race sequence that had 32 horses an average of 6.4 horses. The first race had a field of five but there was a 2-5 shot who opened up at 1-9 and stayed that way for most of the betting. That horse stalked the pace and won scoring by more than three lengths. The second race went to the second choice in the race when Artemus Playboy scored by three lengths paying $6.40. The third race which had a field of four horses went to the 3-5 favorite who scored easily by more than five lengths. That early pick three paid $14.20 for $2 while the double for 2nd and 3rd races paid $14.80, not a good sign for the pick five. The fourth race went to an 8-1 first time starter who was an easy winner by six lengths paying $18.80 to win. The final leg of the pick five went to 13-1 shot Rap d’Oro who paid $29.00 as the second longest shot in the race. The prices of those races were $2.80, $6.40, $3.20, $18.80 and $29.00. The parlay of those five races for $2 would be $1,953. The pick five paid $1,853 for $2 $100 less than the parlay. The pick four which included the last four races in the pick 5 paid $2,172 more than $300 more than the pick five and not including the heavy odds-on favorite in the first race. When a scenario comes up like this with a huge favorite, especially in the first leg of the wager it is best to pass that bet and actually playing the pick four is the way to go. The pick five is definitely a solid bet 99% of the time but when there is a huge favorite especially in the first leg it is best to not use that runner on that ticket or to play the pick four instead.

               In some disappointing news, the top two year old on the East Coast and maybe throughout the country, Competitive Edge, who was two for two and very impressive in both starts for trainer Todd Pletcher will miss the rest of the 2014 season. He sustained a hairline fracture to his left foreleg and although the injury is not career threatening he does have to miss the rest of the season. Pletcher said he believes the horse will be back early enough in his three year old season to attempt the Triple Crown trail Pletcher said that Competitive Edge will be out of training for 60 days. Hopefully this two year old will make it back to the races and be as good as he was before the injury because he was a rising star, something horse racing needs desperately.



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