10/06/2016 2:10PM

King: Spread in Woodford, hoping for price to start pick five

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Almasty looks like a live longshot in the Woodford, the first leg of the all-stakes pick five at Keeneland.

With five stakes comprising the pick-five sequence at Keeneland on Saturday and the track guaranteeing a pool of $250,000, the wager, which I initially examined in Friday’s edition, merits revisiting here in more depth, covering strategy using DRF’s TicketMaker.

TicketMaker, for those unfamiliar with the online program, allows a bettor to construct exotic wagers by weighting play to horses a bettor likes best, rather than playing all horses equally.

So, let’s get to handicapping and putting a ticket together.

The first leg is the Woodford, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint that goes as the fifth race. This is a race where spreading seems like the wise strategy. I advised using six horses – Almasty (3), Alsvid (8), Undrafted (9), Hogy (7), Mosler (11), and Mongolian Saturday (12) – for the base ticket I outlined in Friday’s editions, but for those wishing to use TicketMaker, a modification is recommended.

Almasty, Alsvid, and Undrafted rate as “A,” or preferred plays, in TicketMaker, while Hogy, Mosler, and Mongolian Saturday are backup “B” runners.

Using so many runners, naturally the hope is to connect with a price – perhaps with my top selection, Almasty, who is an appealing 8-1 on the morning line.

The second leg of the wager, the Thoroughbred Club of America, isn’t nearly as competitive. Stonetastic (2) is a deserving favorite and likely will lead throughout. She’s an “A.”

Backing her up is just one “B” – Irish Jasper (1), who runs well fresh and should receive a hot pace to set up her rally given Stonetastic’s full-throttle style.

In the following race, the First Lady, Tepin (2) will be a single for many pick-five bettors, and understandably so, considering her accomplishments. She’s brilliant, no doubt about it, and an obvious “A.”

Still, there is blow-up potential to this pick five if Tepin loses, and for that reason alone, I will back her up with Celestine as a “B” horse. If Celestine can somehow pull off the upset, a large number of pick-five tickets will be eliminated, perhaps leading to an overly generous payoff.

The Breeders’ Futurity follows as the fourth leg in the sequence, and though cases could be made for some of the lightly raced, promising youngsters in the race, I prefer experience.

Gunnevera (2) is an overlay to me at 4-1 on the morning line and is an ‘A’ play as my value-based choice over Classic Empire (11), probably the most talented horse but the favorite. He, too, is an “A.”

Bitumen (1) is a backup “B” play coming off a lackluster effort in the Hopeful, where he was a flat fourth. Still, the potential is there if he can run back to the first two races of his career, when he sparkled in winning a maiden race and in taking the Sanford.

Lastly, we come to the Shadwell Turf Mile, which features many of the best turf milers in the country not named Tepin.

There, Tourist (10) and Ironicus (8) are “A” runners, with Tourist in top form after a second in the Shoemaker Mile and a victory in the Fourstardave and Ironicus splitting Flintshire and World Approval when a troubled second in the Grade 1 Manhattan in his most recent race on Belmont Stakes Day.

The time off is a potential disadvantage for Ironicus, but high-class grass horses tend to be more effective off the bench than other types of runners.

Mondialiste (4) is a secondary “B” horse. One has to respect his fine record when traveling to North America, with two Grade 1 wins and a second to Tepin in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. But his victory in the Arlington Million this summer came in a race in which some of the favorites didn’t fire, and his margin of victory was a neck.

TicketMaker play: Plugging the horses into TicketMaker, using a 50-cent minimum and a budget of $103.50, an all-A ticket can be played for $1.50, four As and a B for $1, and finally three As and two Bs for the minimum of 50 cents.