While the Final Four stakes take place at Woodbine, three year olds and Invitational trotters do battle at Yonkers Raceway which features a $20,000 guaranteed Win-5 pool encompassing the big races.
In the past, an all-stakes multi-race wager at Yonkers has produced at times paltry payouts, a consequence of the half mile oval. While attractive to the 'recreational' player, serious horseplayers tend not to get over-excited about these wagers with the placement of these big races in them because the results tend to be chalky, but it is what it is. Ideally, tracks should take advantage of these marquee nights and attempt to place challenging races in the sequence so as to provide an attractive wagering scenario yet attract larger pools due to the night's activity.
So what does the Pick-5 look like tonight? For the most part, I do see it chalky, however, there is a possibility of a price booster in the final leg, the Yonkers International Trot Preview. But first, let's work ourselves through the races.
Leg 1 (Race 5, Yonkers Trot) - It looks like a two horse race between Gural Hanover and Nuncio. It figures to be a quick move into the first turn and these two lining up one-two, the question being who takes the duo around the track. I don't see these two hooking up into a speed duel so the only question is will someone try to pressure these two? My guess is no, but in the event there is someone looking to take on that role and you want to throw a long shot in, Datsyuk, who shows a good effort over the Delaware oval would be my play. (2-1-4).
Leg 2 (Race 6, Messenger) - McWicked hasn't won in the last four starts but his most recent efforts over the Yonkers oval shows improvement and is worth a play. Of course, there is a question of the Burke entry of All Bets Off and Forty Five Red but the draw went against them getting posts 6 and 8. That said, you can't completely eliminate All Bets Off as he like the track. Wanting to go deeper? Luck Be Withyou is a possibility; expecting him to go higher than 8-5. I will take my shot and single McWicked (5).
Leg 3 (Race 7, Hudson Trot) - No need to go past the entry of Market Rally and Avalicious. Should Market Rally scratch out for some reason, then I would look at Mistresswithmuscle. Let's go two deep here. (1-3).
Leg 4 (Race 8, Lady Maud) - Act Now has been in top form and I don't see a need to look past her. Of course, Burke's entry must be respected. Both halves, Beautiful Lady and A La Notte Hanover, show class and ability over the half mile oval so if you fear the Burke machine, throw them in (1-3).
Leg 5 (Race 9, International Preview) - Here is where I reach. All the press has been Commander Crowe and Sebastian K. I am going toss both. Commander Crowe comes out of quarantine and makes his first start in America, but more importantly at Yonkers with the weird configuration. The trainer has made it known he is looking for a couple of preps for the Breeders Crown so he may be short. As for Sebastian K, he looked good in his last although he lost but he is known to be best at the mile distance and this race is 10 furlongs; I will let him beat me.
So who do you go with then? Bee A Magician is a classy mare and must be respected. Arch Madness set a track record at a 1 1/16 distance so he shows the ability for the added distance. Natural Herbie draws poorly but shows some real good efforts. Hopefully the extra distance allows him to get into the race. I wouldn't go any deeper in this race (2-5-7).
The ticket: 2,5/1/1,3/3/2,5,7 - $6.00.
Good luck all and enjoy the races.