02/24/2012 1:06PM

How to bet Gulfstream Park's Saturday Pick 5 - Feb. 25, 2012


Usually big-name horses result in less depth and fewer betting options. But for most part, that’s not evident in the pick five Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, at Gulfstream Park, with only the opening leg, the Grade 3, $100,000 Sabin, having a short field.

Here's my race-by-race rundown of picks. I'm building my wager with TicketMaker, found exclusively on DRF.com.

Race 8 (Grade 3, $100,000 Sabin)

Starting with the Sabin, the eighth race on the card that features the return of Breeders’ Cup Ladies winner ROYAL DELTA (#2), the preferred wagering pick five strategy is to go two deep. Besides Royal Delta, the other logical runner to use is AWESOME MARIA (#3), a Gulfstream-loving mare with trainer Todd Pletcher.

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Race 9 ($56,500 optional claimer)

Next up is a contentious second-level allowance with a $62,500 claiming condition, a race where one likely needs to go at least three deep to feel safe. NAMASKARA (#2) is two for two at the meet and rates on top, followed by SAFE CROSSING (#7), a runner-up at this level Feb. 4, and stakes dropping ZAPPARITION (#3), a graded stakes-placed filly capable of running Beyer Speed Figures in the 80s and 90s.

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Race 10 (Grade 3, $100,000 Very One)

PERFECT SHIRL (#4), fresh off her triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4, headlines the 10th race, The Very One, but she’s not a cinch. She began her year quietly in 2011, and there are bigger, more important prizes in the sights of her connections down the road. KEERTANA (#6), a long-distance specialist who ran an even third in a shorter comeback at Tampa, looks ready for an improved effort. She won this race last year and is a filly with heart and staying power. CASABLANCA SMILE (#5) is another marathon specialist that gets tossed on the tickets.

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Race 11 (Grade 2, $250,000 Davona Dale)

The Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies is next, a race GRACE HALL (#2) is likely to win. The second beat 2-year-old filly of last year behind champion My Miss Aurelia, she will be a single on many tickets, but if she were to return rusty and get upset, the pick five payoff would grow considerably. So using stakes winners DISPOSABLEPLEASURE (#7) and CAPTIVATING LASS (#3) act as blow-up ticket upside.

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Race 12 ($25,000 maiden claiming race)

The 12th race closes out the pick five, and it’s a puzzler that will leave some bettors hitting the “all” button. A maiden $35,000 claimer on the grass, it does not have one entrant in the body of the race with a single turf start. ELUSIVE STORY (#6) has the fastest speed figures and is a maiden special weight dropper, but with a short-distance pedigree, confidence is low. So best to include two other straight maiden droppers, DELTA RANGER (#9) and WAR GENERAL (#12) – both of whom have stronger grass pedigrees.

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My wagers

With TicketMaker I'm able to put greater emphasis on my "A" selections – note that I've emphasized "All A Entries" 2x and "A's with One B" 2x – while still having coverage with my "B" and "C" picks just in case. This allows me to maximize my budget for this pick five. (My total for the ticket comes out to $228.)

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