I normally focus on the backend of cards in my sequence of the day work, but let’s mix things up on Friday afternoon and try to build the bankroll early for an extremely challenging last several races in Lexington.

The early Pick 5 is not likely to pay as much as the late version of this popular reduced takeout wager, but will be easier to hit and does contain a couple of vulnerable chalks.

Here are my thoughts and suggested Pick 5 ticket

Race 1

The day commences with a low-level maiden claimer at six panels over the main track. I will try to beat trial maiden #1 Odie, who has plenty of chances for trainer Wesley Ward.

I will use a few, but my top choice is #8 Wrath, who drops in class and moves outside after consecutive starts drawn along the inside for trainer Ben Colebrook. At anything near his 8-1-morning line price, Wrath is worth consideration as a Win bet.

Race 2

An open $16K claimer at 1 1/16 miles completes the early Daily Double. The lack of speed and current form make it worth taking a stand against the two morning line choices, #2 Cowboy Rhythm and #3 Chief Know It All, both making their first start for new barns on Friday afternoon.

Perhaps #6 British Humor can steal it on the front end on the surface switch from turf-to-dirt for trainer Mark Simms.

Race 3

#3 Gray Magician was nearly 34-1 in this year’s Kentucky Derby and finished dead last, but since the Run for the Roses he has earned a win and two seconds for trainer Peter Miller. The son of Graydar looks like a standout in this optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles. The Kentucky-bred colt will not provide any value, but since I am against a couple of other top choices I have no problem singling.

Race 4

The first turf race of the afternoon is a starter allowance event at two turns. #7 Classical Magic should be quick enough from the gates to clear and dictate the pace making her a must use with Joel Rosario taking the call for University of Louisville Equine Industry grad Bentley Combs. However, I do not trust this daughter of Magician enough to push “all in” on in the fourth, so I will include some others.

Race 5

The sequence of the day concludes with a six-furlong dash for $50K maiden claimers over the Keeneland main track. I will lean on a pair of class droppers in hopes of closing out the early Pick 5. #4 Badgeri Candy failed to hit the board in three tries against protected non-winners, but should appreciate the decreased competition. #7 My Maiko has not been seen since February, but has a steady series of drills over this surface and is spotted realistically by trainer Rusty Arnold. 

Suggested 50-Cent Ticket

Race 1: 4+8+10+11
Race 2: 1+5+6
Race 3: 3
Race 4: 1+5+6+7
Race 5: 4+7

Ticket Cost: $48