Only one favourite won during the Pick 5 sequence at Hawthorne on Saturday -- and even before Aurea Aura surprised as the second-longest shot on the board in the final race of the sequence, every single horse in the field was going to pay on just four out of five.
That's great news for anyone spending their holiday weekend handicapping and playing Hawthorne, as there's a $3,737 carryover into Friday's sequence. It covers the first five races, and has a $0.50 minimum. There's no jackpot rule, so everything pays out whether there's one five-out-of-five ticket or many.
The sequence is a challenge, with big fields all over the class ladder. The sequence features long and short, turf and dirt, maidens and saltier horses, claimers and protected company. Going five-for-five won't be easy, but whoever does will probably be paid handsomely for their handicapping.
Before we go deeper into the Pick 5 at Hawthorne, don't forget: if you're playing Churchill as well, we have you covered. There are six graded stakes across the weekend, all of which we delve into: the Cardinal Handicap (G3) and the Falls City Handicap (G3) on Thursday, the Clark and the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) on Friday, and the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) on Saturday.
Here is an ABCX chart of Friday's Pick 5 sequence at Hawthorne. Below the chart, we have comments for each horse in the sequence, explaining the rationale for the rating.
Selections for Race 3 are for turf only. Updated November 23 to reflect scratches. Race 3 will remain on the turf, rated yielding.
Race 1: Maiden special weight, two-year-olds, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:10pm CST
- #4 CHARLIE IRISH (5/2) - Though trainer Jim DiVito has been so historically good with two-year-olds, his first-time starter statistics aren't actually that great: 7% (3-42) over the last three years. Still? Rider Edgar Perez excels with maidens, is going great guns for DiVito (5-7 over the last two months), and is winning at a 26% clip this meet. And, dam Keepthename has been a fantastic two-year-old producer: all five of her winners won dirt sprints at age two, and three of the five won on debut.
- #8 COLONEL KLINK (10/1) - Top Selection - An attractive price play because Brad Rainwater has already sent a horse out of this mare to a first-out win at two: gritty, consistent stakes winner Go Lady Jay (Run Away and Hide). That came at one turn on dirt, too. The two others out of the dam are also winners: Liberty Ship (Adonis) won second-out at three, routing on the Arlington poly, and Call Up the Guard (Run Away and Hide) won third-out at three, sprinting on the Busan (Korea) dirt.
- #5 NEGRONI UP (9/5) - Debut was solid enough, and the early speed he showed could give him a pace advantage. Trainer Eduardo Rodriguez and rider Jermaine Bridgmohan are strong this meet -- but Rodriguez doesn't excel with maiden special weights or two-year-olds, and all three of dam Apt to Thrill's other winners took a long time to shed their maiden label.
- #6 BATTALSTOWN (15/1) - Is probably hoping that at least one of the first-time starters (most likely Foggy Albion) can go with NEGRONI UP early, as he has shown no early speed. But, this is a class drop, and based on the foes who have run so far he can be fast enough to figure.
- #7 FOGGY ALBION (6/1) - Strange worktab for this Vashchenko first-timer: a few works in August, then nothing, then a sharp three-furlong drill on November 3. Hard to love, but hard to dismiss: Vashchenko's only win this meet so far came with Julio Felix in the irons, and perhaps the short works were meant to give him some speed -- something sorely lacking here, other than in NEGRONI UP.
- #1 KISSEDTHEGIRLS (20/1) - Special weight company is too tough.
- #2 CEE R BEE (6/1) - Well beaten in two starts so far, and hasn't shown any early speed. Fast enough to nab an underneath slot, but hard to see him winning.
#3 JAXONS POINT (12/1) - Not a first-time starter barn, and not a sprint barn. Everything about the breeding says he wants to go long, and even the one two-year-old winner out of the dam -- who was by crack sprinter Orientate -- graduated at a mile on the grass.
Race 2: $4,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mare,s non-winners of two races in 2017-2018 OR non-winners of a race since November 23, 2017, claiming races for $3,200 not considered in eligibility, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 3:38pm CST
- #2 LAKE SNOW (3/1) - Top Selection - Her three wins this year make her a comfy condition book fit, and her tactical speed should suit the setup of the race well. Likely gets the jump on AWAY SHE GLOWS, making her the narrow choice.
- #3 AWAY SHE GLOWS (2/1) - Barn has been cold this meet, but trainer Dennis Hughes is surprisingly good with last-out beaten favourites. She has been trading blows with LAKE SNOW all fall, and should be trying to reel her in late.
- #5 BROWN SHOES (10/1) - Drops to the right level. She has sprint speed, a strong forwardly-placed rider in Edgar Perez, and solid form at the distance. 0-13 record at Hawthorne is a concern, but she has enough money finishes to give her some hope to keep going.
- #9 DULCE DE LECHE (8/1) - Likely sets the pace. Should be fitter than last time, when she was just coming back from a break. Will still need a lot of improvement to beat the top contenders, but the setup is good enough to give her a remote chance.
- #1 LIFE IS A RIDE (12/1) - She only seems to find her best at Fairmount.
- #4 LADY DOZER (20/1) - Hasn't been firing this year, and won't get a lot to chase even if she were.
- #6 SILENT CONGRATS (10/1) - Starting her at a sprint seems to be grasping at straws. With others in here who do have sprint speed, she likely won't seize the lead with her route speed.
- #7 SARK LADY (9/2) - Turf router has been mostly off form this year. Class drop a positive, but barn doesn't typically fire off of layoffs, and even if she finds her form she won't have enough pace to chase.
- #8 HURRACA (20/1) - Hasn't been anywhere close all year long. A distance third or fourth has been as good as she's done all year, and there's no compelling reason to think that's not once again the absolute best case scenario.
Race 3: Allowance optional claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starer, or state-bred allowance OR N2L OR claiming price $18,000, one and one sixteenth miles on the turf, post time 4:06pm CST
- #2 HANNITY (10/1) - Top Selection - Steps up to open company off a state-bred allowance win last out. Has tactical speed, and form over the course and distance. Does lose Constantino Roman to SEA ROVER -- but instead, he gets Edgar Perez, the hottest jockey in the colony.
- #5 IMPOSING WILL (4/1) - In the best form of his life. May get a bit more pace to chase than last time when he just missed catching SEA ROVER. Pedro Cotto does not return to the saddle from that outing -- but Jose Lopez, who has also won with him, does.
- #6 SEA ROVER (5/1) - Rider Constantino Roman had his choice of two live mounts -- this one and HANNITY -- and opts here. Won at this level last time, gate-to-wire, and may be able to lead at every call again if IN THE CHAMBER sticks to his more recent style of sitting just off the pace instead of gunning to the front.
- #3 IN THE CHAMBER (6/1) - Well beaten last time, but that Buck's Boy Handicap was as tough a state-bred turf stakes as you'll ever see. Has upside getting back to the right class and coming third off a lay. If he can find once again the form he had in the summer, he could spring a mild upset.
- #1 RIVER CACTUS (8/1) - Drops back to this level after finding N2X company a bit tough last time. Still fairly untested on grass; his only turf try was an okay fourth at this level two months ago at Arlington. Manley barn can be sneaky on grass, so worth a try on spread tickets.
- #4 SKYCRAFT (12/1) - Last start, though it was on dirt, jumps out: he went straight from a maiden win to a two-other-than allowance-optional, took a lot of betting action, and finished a credible second. Better proven on dirt than on grass, but has shown enough flashes of turf talent to be worth a look in this, his first turf start since breaking his maiden.
- #8 BEHIND ENEMY LINES (5/1) - Full brother to IN THE CHAMBER has the complete opposite running style -- though more typical for a Fort Prado baby, as he's a deep closer. But, has shown he can make up ground without a torrid pace in front of him. Being second off a layoff also gives him upside. Loses Jose Lopez to IMPOSING WILL, but new rider Carlos Marquez has been good enough lately with the Block barn that it seems more a lateral move.
- #10 DRAGUNOV (15/1) - Closed to finish a good third last time. These are tougher, but he can move forward second off a break, and he gets a positive jockey change to Jermaine Bridgmohan in the saddle.
- #7 TEDDY TIME (12/1) - Should improve on the return to grass, but the race won't likely do any favours to his deep-closing style, and having him in for the $18,000 tag looks suspicious. Why not just spell him and bring him back for turf stakes in Minnesota next summer, unless he's on his way down?
#9 CAMPIONI (20/1) - Might improve second off a freshening, but running on late for an underneath share looks like what he could do agianst these on his very best day.
- #11 ALPHA BOY (30/1) - Taking a jump in class first off the claim, and has never been at his best on the grass.
- #12 HIGH ON SUGAR (20/1) - Outruns his odds every so often, but doesn't find the winning line.
Race 4: $6,250 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, five and a half furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:34pm CST
- #3 CRAZY LADY (7/2) - Top Selection - Comes in third off a freshening. Drew relatively well, and tries blinkers for the first time. Has shown flashes of talent sprinting, and the blinkers may be what she needs to put it all together. Switches to rider Cecily Evans, who has done well when given other chances for trainer Hugh Robertson.
#12 ASHA (3/1) - Drew the parking lot, but has a lot to like anyway. Has only raced twice before, drops to this level for the first time, and has such sharp early speed that she could make the running, even from the outside.
- #2 ROSIE'S FLAME (8/1) - Has run just four times, and had her best outing yet on November 3 over this course and distance. Returns to the same level today, and should be closing up ground late. Has a shot if the pace gets lively at all.
- #1 DREAM OF HERO (15/1) - Faces as easy a bunch as she ever has, and tries Lasix for the first time. Daughter of Hero of Order has only raced twice before, so she still has some upside to move forward.
- #10 GOLDIE MINISTER (30/1) - Hasn't shown a ton in three career starts, but at massive odds, she has a bit of upside between the first-time blinkers and the fact that she is still so lightly raced.
- #4 TOMASITA (5/1) - Fast enough to be competitive, but in fifteen starts, she has found seven placings and no wins. She has had enough tries at this distance and level -- key her underneath, but don't fall for the underlay on top.
- #5 HEAR THE KISS (30/1) - Never on the board in twelve starts, and no change that suggests the trend will reverse itself today.
- #6 LAST SURPRIZE (9/2) - One of the better horses in this field, but has shown a consistent propensity to finish second. Key her underneath, but don't waste the money on top.
- #7 FOXXY FORD (20/1) - Form is going the wrong way, and even the best she has shown so far would give her a chance for an underneath share, at best.
- #8 QUEEN'S ALL MINE (20/1) - Puts on blinkers, but used them before to no avail. Has shown some early pace, but tends to stop badly.
- #9 BARBIELLO (30/1) - Drops to the bottom for the first time, but has finished far up the track in both career starts and comes from a barn that enters the race week 0-32 on the meet.
- #11 SALTED REVENGE (30/1) - Off the board in all nine career starts, and her rider enters this racing week 0-34 on the meet.
Race 5: $4,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 5:02pm CST
- #1 Z U AGAIN (9/2) - Put it together in her last few starts, with a maiden win two starts ago and then a credible fourth against winners last time. The cut back from six furlongs to five should help, and she should get enough pace to suit her late-running style.
- #6 JAMI RACER (3/1) - Top Selection - Rallied for third in both starts since switching to the barn of Chris Emigh. With so much speed signed on for this race, and the Hawthorne track often kind to off-pace horses after sunset, she can get all the way there.
- #4 CONGAREE GAL (7/2) - Tries dirt for the first time. Don't like the defection of Edgar Perez (he rides UNBRIDLED ATLANTIC instead), but she is fast enough if she can translate her polytrack form to dirt, and both the off-pace style and the class drop help.
- #7 DANIERA (4/1) - The layoff is a question, as she hasn't raced since July, and her barn isn't great with layoff horses. But, she showed this summer that she has some guts on the front end, and that ability to keep going despite a contested pace makes her the most attractive speed horse. Class drop also helps.
- #9 ANNIE TIME GIRL (20/1) - Drops to this level for the first time since being claimed to the barn of Chris Ryan. Though her maiden victory at Prairie Meadows came on the front end, she has shown enough interest from off the pace to suggest she is more versatile than your average $4,000 N2L horse. This chance to stay out of the likely pace battle and run on late makes her the most attractive of the huge prices in this race.
- #3 MISS HOPPER (20/1) - Has been well beaten in all but one start this year -- but that lone start when she rounded out the superfecta was also her only start at this level. Late-running style will be suited. These are gossamer threads, but she will be a massive price.
- #11 UNBRIDLED ATLANTIC (15/1) - Instead of returning to a live one in CONGAREE GAL, jockey Edgar Perez stays here. She will have a lot more to outrun early than she did in her maiden score last-out, but the way Perez is riding this meet, you can't discount him completely when he's on a price horse.
- #2 CHARGERS MISS (30/1) - Well beaten in all four starts for the barn, and 0-10 lifetime on fast dirt. Better races are on or near the lead, meaning she will be a brief pace factor at most.
- #5 STARIA PEACH (15/1) - Skips a condition, just like last time -- she is a 24-start maiden facing N2L foes. Should be a pace factor, but her seven dirt starts have suggested it's not her favourite surface.
- #8 SURE THING BOB (30/1) - Form tailed off in the summer. New trainer Raul De La Mora does usually get some improvement in a charge's first start for his barn, but an underneath placing looks her best case scenario, especially since her best race came on the front end.
- #10 LUCKYMRSBOND (30/1) - Could be a brief pace factor, but needs major improvement to be any more than that.
- #12 MOUNTAIN MOMMA (10/1) - Tumbling down the class ladder this year has not produced the desired reversal in form. May plod on for a piece underneath, but especially with the far outside draw, not likely to improve enough to win.
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