02/26/2011 2:15PM

Playing the FOY Pick-5


HALLANDALE BEACH -- Someone from DRF had to leave pry himself away from beautiful, balmy New York to do a seminar at Gulfstream Park today and I drew the short straw. Neither sunny skies, 85-degree weather nor an excellent card of racing and betting could deter me.

For those of you who coudn't join me in the Sport of Kings room a couple of hours ago, here's what I said about playing the 50-cent pick-5 today, a sequence that includes three Grade 2 Stakes -- the Davona Dale, Hutcheson and Fountain of Youth:

Race 7: A skullbuster of a Nw3x allowance race at a mile and a sixteenth on turf in which I have only one complete throwout (El Kingdom) in a field of 10. ML fave Nordic Truce can win but doesn't have to off a five-month layoff in what's clearly a prep for bigger things. Second choice Guys Reward fits well but lost the last two runnings of this condition at the meet. The alternatives who most intrigue me are second-off-a-layoff longshots Reb (12-1 ML) and Olympic Election (15-1).

Race 8: The Davona Dale drew the first four finishers from the Forward Gal but I'm using only the second- and fourth-place finishers from that race, Dancinginyourdreams and less strongly, R Heat Lightning. I'm against Forward Gal winner Pomeroys Pistol stretching out to a mile. I'll also strongly use Oh Carole, unbeaten in two starts with a similar profile to Dancinginyourdreams but likely to be twice the price.

Race 9: The whole world seems to be trying to beat Travelin Man in the Hutcheson, and I get that he's stepping way up in class off a maiden victory in a five-horse field, but his 106 debut Beyer was no typographical error and this could be a future star. My backup is Flashpoint, another impressive debut winner, and while he wired the field at Aqueduct Jan. 15, what I really liked was his final quarter of 23.70 and I think he'll be off the pace today.

Race 10: To Honor and Serve is the best horse in the Fountain of Youth and a serious classics candidate but is unlikely to be wound tightly for his season debut. So I'll also use Soldat, no bargain at 2-1 in his fast-dirt debut after some strong front-running turf and slop races, and Gourmet Dinner, who might be the value in the race if dispatched at his 5-1 ML odds.

Race 11: Cast as wide a net as you can in this treacherous maiden-claimer at 7.5f on the turf. And note that two worth a long look -- Philology and Conjuration -- drew in from the also-eligibles.

So the play looks something like this: