by Frank Carulli
September 30, 2021
The road to hitting this week's Stronach 5 goes through the turf . Three of the five legs in the cross-country sequence drew fields of 10 or more to run on the grass. Here's a first take of the action:
LEG A // LAUREL, RACE 8 (4:19PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)
Several well-bred, first-time starters line up in this full field with three others who finished second in recent turf sprints. FULL OF MISCHIEF, by 2021 leading North America sire Into Mischief, leads off the ticket. His dam, Hillhouse High (27/4-6-6, $456k), was a MSW winner on the Belmont turf and a Grade II winner of the Royal Heroine on the Santa Anita lawn. Godolphin LLC's HOLIDAY HOUSE is by More Than Ready, a Top 5 turf sire in 2021, and out of the dam Glorietta Bay, a second-out MSW winner at Aqueduct. RADICAL RIGHT chased a loose leader, didn't change leads in the stretch and finished second to a troubled, 8-1 first-time starter. He fired a :47.2 bullet workout on the main track since his grassy debut.
LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (4:30PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
Morning-line favorite DEM A WONDER is a late scratch, making this race more wide open. ACTING LUCKY has two wins, two seconds and solid numbers in four starts this year. Her jockey lost the whip inside the 1/8th pole while dueling with the winning favorite last out. TRUE ATKA loomed boldly for the stretch drive at 6-1/2F in her second start off the layoff, only to flatten out in the long stretch at Colonial Downs and finish third. She won her prior two short sprints on the main track.
LEG C // LAUREL, RACE 9 (4:49PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 1/8 MILES (TURF)
MINISTER'S STRIKE rallied to win going away the last time he ran at this level and distance on the turf, but he could be compromised by a slow pace. CRAZY CATER avoided a wide trip from post 10, tracked comfortably before launching a rally at the 3/8 pole, but flattened out late when the deep closers passed by. SOLOMONIC should get the jump on the main contenders from up-close and is a usable longshot.
LEG D // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:00PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)
Going three deep in this leg of the Stronach 5 but could go deeper. ROY C raced evenly in his debut, but the race produced two next-out winners from four starters. ELEVADO showed good zip in his debut on the Los Alamitos dirt, now gets Rosario for his first turf test. SUMTER awakened on the switch to turf, chasing the 3-to-5 winner while 4-wide and finishing second in a photo finish. His dam was a $300,000 grass earner.
LEG E // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 4 (5:14PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER)
PLUM WILD backed off a contested, 4-way duel, then swung 6-wide for the stretch drive and finished okay for third. She raced close up in two starts at Golden Gate this spring and could change tactics in a paceless race. Either way, she's a good value play in her second start for the track's top barn. ALWAYS IN VEGAS, last seen winning a turf route race as a 3yo, makes her seasonal debut off a series of slow workouts. Must respect the connections, though, who are 13-36 with a +$1.32 ROI in the last year.
STRONACH 5 TICKET
Leg A: 5, 6, 8
Leg B: 2, 3
Leg C: 2, 7, 9
Leg D: 2, 8, 9
Leg E: 1, 4
Cost for a $1 ticket: $108