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 Frank’s Rockette. By Into Mischief (my favorite sire), she’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 hasn’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 hasn’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 didn’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. He’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