Memorial Day means another packed day of racing across the country and another edition of Ricky’s Rockets! Monday’s Early Pick 5 is highlighted by Frank’s Rockette in the second race. This sequence is tricky, but I’m confident that my selections will keep me hot at Churchill Downs.

Best of luck!

Race 1: Maiden Claiming $40,000 for 2-year-olds going 5 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $32,000

#3 The Beat is a son of Dominus, a talented 3-year-old on the dirt who won the Dwyer Stakes (G2) and the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2). #8 Full Velocity has been training well and his sire Tapiture, hits with 19% of first-time starting juveniles. #9 Mr. Pickles debuts for Stephen Lyster, who is 38% at the maiden claiming level. Mr. Pickles is by Twirling Candy, whose offspring have won 18% when debuting at age 2.

Race 2: Allowance Optional Claiming $100,000 for 3-year-old fillies going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $83,000

One of my favorite fillies in the country is #4 Frankโ€™s Rockette. By Into Mischief (my favorite sire), sheโ€™s the quickest of this bunch out of the gate. This is her first time running in allowance company after a putting together a stakes record of 5-1-4-0, so she will be tough to beat.

Race 3: Claiming $50,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $54,000

#1 Malpais is an intriguing runner who hasnโ€™t been in the best of form this year, but his 2019 form jumps off of the page. He drops in for a tag and should be a nice price at post-time. #2 Do Share returns to Churchill Downs, where he owns a 4-1-2-0 record. The days of him competing in stakes races are over, but if he has anything left, then he should do well against this group. #3 C Z Rocket comes out of a talented claiming event won by Lionite, who repeated here last Friday. He hasnโ€™t shown a ton of speed in the past, but Paco Lopez is an aggressive rider and might put him closer to the early lead. #8 Nero drops in class for Steve Asmussen, who has been on fire as of late. He and Ricardo Santana, Jr., are one of the best trainer/jockey tandems in the country, winning 20% of their past 931 mounts.

Race 4: Claiming $10,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $25,000

This race was the toughest of the sequence, so I tried to give myself as much coverage as possible. My top choice is #3 Metropol, who broke his maiden at Santa Anita Park in 2018 but didnโ€™t run again for over 15 months and has looked suspect at best since returning. He’s my top choice moreso because of trainer Brad Cox, who has won 25% this year. Other Runners: #4 Waverunner, #5 My Interest, #7 Road Game, #9 She Love Me, #12 Eskendereyas Dream

Race 5: Claiming $32,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $39,000

#3 Kurilov ran in these same conditions here twice at the end of last year, missing victory by a neck both times. Heโ€™s a very logical choice and gets Florent Geroux back aboard. #4 Gigging enters this race off of a solid win at Oaklawn Park on May 1. Ricardo Santana, Jr., was aboard for the first time and did a masterful job saving ground and will try to make it back-to-back wins. #6 Street to Indy put his best foot forward at this level last month and gets trainer Robertino Diodoro’s top rider David Cohen aboard. #7 Shortlist ran second to Street to Indy last time out, and an argument can be made that he ran a better race but was forced four-wide. His odds should float up at post-time.

THE TICKET

$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 3,8,9 / 4 / 1,2,3,8 / 3,4,5,7,9,12 / 3,4,6,7 – $144