If you’re planning to take aim at Thursday’s $2,874 Super Hi 5 carryover at Turfway Park, I wish you the best of luck. You’re going to need it!

Thursday’s Super Hi 5 looks absolutely beastly to handicap. The wager will be offered in Race 8, a $5,000 claiming event for horses which have never won three races. The distance is 6 1/2 furlongs over the Tapeta course, and the field is huge—12 runners in the main body of the field, plus two also-eligibles on the outside looking in.

Assuming a dozen runners face the starter, there will be 95,040 possible outcomes in the Super Hi 5, so playing a strong ticket on a reasonable budget will be difficult. On the bright side, this means winning bettors (if there are any!) shouldn’t have to split the pool too many ways.

To reduce the number of possible outcomes into a more manageable range, we’ll begin by taking a stand with #3 Crocketts Bluff (8-5) on top. Conditioned by up-and-coming trainer Reeve McGaughey, Crocketts Bluff displayed a clear affinity for this course and distance when returning from an eight-month layoff last month, employing pace-tracking tactics to comfortably win a $7,500 claiming event for non-winners of two races lifetime.

McGaughey strikes at a 25% rate with horses running for the second time off a layoff, and hot jockey Gerardo Corrales (a 27% winner at Turfway) has been named to ride. There are no certainties in racing, but Crocketts Bluff comes in with strong Brisnet Speed ratings and looks reliable at a short price.

Underneath, we’ll strongly emphasize #8 Electric Avenue (4-1), who has likewise posted competitive Brisnet Speed ratings in recent starts. The stretch-running son of Smart Strike rallied wide to finish fifth over this class level at Turfway on Dec. 26 and will drop blinkers for his third local start.

#9 Adhhar (7-2) will be a popular choice, considering he dominated a $30,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs during the fall. But Adhhar hasn’t remotely challenged in two starts against tougher company at Turfway this winter, suggesting he doesn’t care for the Tapeta course. Whether dropping down to the $5,000 claiming level will be enough to land him on the board is open to debate.

We’re bound to see a longshot or two finish in the money, with #5 Wicked Wednesday (20-1) and #6 Skyswept (30-1) the two that interest me most. Wicked Wednesday tired when racing a mile at Turfway last month, but boasts a fine record sprinting and should appreciate cutting back in distance. Meanwhile, Skyswept has been gelded and freshened since the summer and can contend if he bounces back to the decent form he displayed at Turfway during the winter of 2018-19.

We’ll round out our tickets with #2 Court and Spark (6-1), who has been competing against tougher company over a wide variety of surfaces.

$1 Super Hi 5: 3 with 8 with 2,5,6,9 with 2,5,6,9 with 2,5,6,9 ($24)
$1 Super Hi 5: 3 with 2,5,6,9 with 8 with 2,5,6,9 with 2,5,6,9 ($24)

Total: $48

Good luck!