The Road to Kentucky Week 5 Recap

KENTUC

Week 5 in the Road to Kentucky contest played out similarly to the first four weeks, as big points were hard to come by and the contrarian opinion continued to be up against the chalk parade. Six of the eleven contest races returned less than 200 points, and only two of the eleven races were won by horses going postward above 5-1 odds.

The Gotham Stakes turned out to be an excellent race, featuring a rematch between the Withers 1-2 finishers Samraat and Uncle Sigh. Samraat extended his record to a perfect 5 for 5, defeating Uncle Sigh and In Trouble in a three-horse stretch duel. For contest purposes, however, Samraat winning at 2-1 was a relatively benign result.

The critical contest horse to have this week turned out to be the winner of the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. The winner was Solitary Ranger, who broke from the 2 post and maintained a narrow advantage along the inside through a pretty quick half mile fraction of 47.08 seconds. He put away the other speed horses on the turn, and opened up an 8 length lead in mid-stretch before securing an easy 5 length win. If you found Solitary Ranger today he was worth 732 contest points, nearly 30% of the total points available. He was a strong contender, exiting a front-running score over the Fairgrounds turf course and posting two sharp workouts over the Fairgrounds main track. The 9-1 odds on this runner seemed generous, as his ML was only 5-1 and he was a proven synthetic track runner. You could argue that the projected pace scenario would play against him in this race, but he handled the pace pressure easily and won for fun.

The maximum score available this week was 2,465 points. With another barrage of short-priced winners today, my longshot strategy continued to struggle. I managed to find one 5-1 winner and had a couple of minor placings in other races, but I came up short in the Gotham with Financial Mogul (4th at 6-1) and in the Battaglia with Chester’s Park (9th at 11-1). Expect the winning score this week to be in the range of 1,400-1,500 points, and congratulations if you selected Solitary Ranger this week!

Next week the Road to Kentucky contest returns to Tampa Bay Downs for the Tampa Bay Derby, and there is also a second bonus race from Santa Anita, the San Felipe Stakes. Good luck and good racing!

The Oracle

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