by Frank Carulli
December 15, 2021
The popular Stronach 5 wager returns this Friday, Dec. 17, just in time to provide some holiday cheer to those who can solve the five-race puzzle. The $1 wager features a low, 12-percent takeout and, this week, encompasses three races at Laurel Park and two at Gulfstream Park. Last month featured a $99,519 payout November 12 and an average $3,890 payout the remaining three weeks. Here's a look at this week's lineup, with an update to follow after scratch time Friday:
LEG A // LAUREL, RACE 7 (3:18PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
MISS FOXANN cruised up 4-wide on the backstretch, dueled alongside the MSW-dropping winner until mid-stetch and settled for second best as the top pair separated from the crowded field. ALWAYS MIA is by a 12-percent, first-out sire, her dam was 10-for-27, and her trainer wins with 21-percent of his 2-year-olds in their first start on dirt. ISABELLA'S GLORY advanced steadily on the rail at one mile, appeared headed to victory in mid-stretch but got caught be the deepest closer in a 3-horse blanket finish.
LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 7 (3:26PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
ILKNUR broke her maiden off a longer layoff than this in August, ran third to Mizzen (6/2-2-0, $43k) at this level and gets ample pace flow to spring an upset. IDEAL BREEZE did just that for her new barn, covering 4F on a muddy track in :46, the fastest of 69 workouts that day. She can make amends as the beaten favorite in a 5-1/2F sprint.
LEG C // LAUREL, RACE 8 (3:50PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT)
RUANAWAY MONET is proven at this distance. She ran second off a year layoff and third to recent allowance winner Unshakable before romping to her first victory. She should sit a good stalking trip and is a must use on the ticket. AWARD WANTED staled loose leader MIT MAZEL to the far turn, took command while in hand and held safe for a 3-length victory.
LEG D // LAUREL, RACE 9 (4:22PM ET) // CLAIMING // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)
TORCH CARRIER rallied from the clouds to win first-out on the turf, then ran second in a 6F turf-to-dirt sprint, finishing between eventual three-peater Long Distance Love (3-8, $58k) and Capstone Girl, who rallied 7-wide to win next out. WINDRUSH KARMA angled 3-wide off the dueling leaders at the top of the stretch, then was squeezed out of contention in mid-stretch when she appeared to be tiring. She looms an upset possibility at 7F in her second start off the claim and with blinkers on.
LEG E // GULFSTREAM, RACE 5 (4:32PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER)
Going 5-deep in a wide-open final leg of the Stronach 5. DAY'S HUMOR repelled a bid by the 3-to-5 favorite to win at 5F in her first start locally. CHARLOTTE THE BRIT broke last, swung 5-wide for the stretch run and got up for second. RED WIND won going away in her first try at the distance and takes a confident class hike. SMOOTH PEBBLE was second in a 12-horse turf allowance when last seen three months ago. CAFFEINE RUSH finished first or second in 8 of 12 starts on the main track.
STRONACH 5 TICKET
Leg A: 4, 7, 8
Leg B: 3, 6
Leg C: 2, 5
Leg D: 2, 10
Leg E: 2, 5, 6, 7, 9
Cost for a $1 ticket: $120