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Andrew Champagne gives us his Friday late Pick Five picks from Pimlico

Friday's Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick 5 Predictions From Pimlico

Friday’s racing slate is headlined by a gigantic carryover in Pimlico’s late Pick Five. We’ll have more than $115,000 in the pool to start, and that means taking a swing is a very worthwhile investment.

One note before we dive in: There is rain in the forecast, but the forecast I’m seeing as of this writing on Thursday night has the heavy stuff coming in after the sequence starts. I’ve put this together on the assumption that races carded for turf stay there. If they don’t, adjust your handicapping accordingly.

Now, on with the show!

RACE #5:

If rain rolls in early, we’ll have to adjust tickets starting right away. This is a turf sprint for older claimers, and I’ll be using up to four horses on a ticket that starts out costing $24 (but may come down after scratches).

#3 CINDY’S PRAYER is a likely favorite, but I don’t think she’s a cinch. She’s shown early speed against better and makes her first start for a very capable outfit, but she also hasn’t run since December and doesn’t seem to fire her best shot off the bench. Her best race can certainly beat these, but I don’t think you can simply single this 9/5 favorite and move on.

I’m also using #6 SUZZETTE STAR and #8 NOT MY MONEY. The former goes back to turf for the first time in nearly a year and has run well on the lawn, while the latter may have figured things out judging by a runaway win last time out at Penn National. If she runs, I’ll also use #15 COMMAS SAVE LIVES (as an Oxford comma enthusiast, by the way, I love the name). She ran reasonably well in two turf sprints at Santa Anita against better horses and could benefit from a drop in class in her local debut.

RACE #6:

Maiden claimers will go to the gate here, and while this event drew a field of 10, I think it’s a one-horse race.

#6 WICKED HOT got a heck of an education in her unveiling earlier this month. She rated off a very slow pace, was floated wide in the lane, came flying, and was beaten just a head. That came against maiden special weight foes, and she’ll face a far weaker group here (though she’s not entered for a tag due to conditions that are very friendly to Maryland-breds). Anything close to her debut will make her very imposing, and improvement second off the bench may make the 2-1 morning line price an overlay.

RACE #7:

My second straight single comes here, and this time, I’m going against the favorite. #2 PETION LASS hasn’t won in a while, and her best efforts have come going longer than this race’s six-furlong distance.

I much prefer #7 FAMILY FORTUNE, who’s already run three times at this meet and has shown an affinity for the Pimlico main track. She’s won two of those races, including one last week at this level and route. She’s got plenty of tactical speed and may be on or near a pretty slow pace, which could give a horse proven at this level an ideal trip. When those stars align, it makes for a runner that’s tough to beat. Add in that she’s the 4-1 fourth choice on the morning line, and she may also provide some value as a “separator single.”

RACE #8:

This optional claimer doubles as the Friday feature, and the morning line maker thinks this is a two-horse race. I’m inclined to agree, as I’m using the pair of runners that will take most of the betting money.

#4 CRY NO MORE looked great when dusting a restricted field in an off-the-turf event a few weeks ago. He’s shown an abundance of early speed and figures to be on the engine again here. Add in that he ran well when second over a wet track two starts ago, and you have the recipe for a logical favorite.

#2 HEIR PORT, meanwhile, would certainly benefit from the likely race shape. There’s a fair amount of early speed in here, and he does his best running late. Trainer Dale Bennett has won with four of seven starters at this stand, and he’s clearly thought highly of this gelding, who ran in a pair of stakes races a season ago. He’s a must-use for me as well, especially since, if I’ve gotten this far, I’ll have gotten my singles home and won’t want to get cute.

RACE #9:

We’ll finish this sequence with a one-mile claimer carded for the turf. I’ll use as many as six runners, though we’ll almost certainly be left with less than that after scratches are announced.

#12 GEARHEAD takes a big drop in class in his local debut. He’s been running for $25,000 tags in New York and will go for $12,500 here. He won for $16,000 three back at Tampa, but the post isn’t ideal and it’s not like there’s a ton of zip in this starting gate. He could win, for sure, but if you’re looking for a runner to back on the win end (rather than a multi-race exotics wager), I think you’d be wise to look elsewhere.

I’m also using #7 BLACK PRONG and #13 ITGOT GRANDMA from the body of the field. The former likely needed the last-out effort at Tampa and should improve second off the bench,. while the latter goes back to the lawn in his first start for the white-hot Miguel Vera barn and sports a long-ago turf win on his resume. I’m also using all of the also-eligibles, as I feel #14 PROJECTED, #15 ROHRBACHER, and #16 GUNSLINGER all have real chances should they draw in. If they do, I’ll have them; if they don’t, my ticket cost goes down.


R5: 3,6,8,15

R6: 5

R7: 7

R8: 2,4

R9: 7,12,13,14,15,16

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Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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