by Frank Carulli
November 11, 2021
If you're not betting on the Stronach 5, you don't know what you're missing. Since Friday, Oct. 8, the average payout for the $1 wager is $7,618 -- not counting the $98,311 carry-over payout Oct. 22. What's more, the highest odds on any winner during that span was 12-1. Last week's $8,826 payout featured four winners at 5-2 odds or less. Here's an early look at this Friday's races, with an update to follow after scratches.
LEG A // LAUREL PARK // RACE 7 (3:40PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
C TWO improved off a 3-month rest two starts ago, then raced close-up for a half-mile in a faster-paced long sprint. MOON BIZ got caught 6-wide on the backstretch in a turf sprint, ranged up 3- and 4-wide on the turn, then flattened out in mid-stretch. He takes a magnified class drop in a field that has no seconds in 51 starts combined. SCARLET'S SONG, well-bet in three starts to begin her 5-year-old season, returns from a nine-month layoff.
LEG B // GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 8 (3:53PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE, 70 YARDS (ALL WEATHER)
PETER D looms a strong favorite in this 2-year-old optional claimer. He weaved through stretch traffic two back against winner Last Leaf (3-6, $113k), then rallied from up close to a slow pace to win a Florida-bred stakes race in his first start on the Tapeta surface. He could be a solo play, but the steadily improving EYE OF THE TEMPLE is worth using as a backup. He set a pressured pace to the sixteenth pole and just missed at 7F, then won in a photo-finish at this distance in his Tapeta debut.
LEG C // LAUREL PARK // RACE 8 (4:10PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
MIDDLE ISLAND was fractious in the paddock but made a good middle move after a slow start into contention, before flattening out. ESTATE launched a rally from a ground-saving position in the same race, but raced erratically in the stretch and finished third in her debut.
LEG D // GOLDEN GATE // RACE 2 (4:18PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (ALL WEATHER)
The main contenders in this bottom-level maiden claimer drop out of the same $12,500 race won by pace-controlling favorite Bandeena, who set a pressured pace and tired for $20,000 in her previous start out of town. That being said, use QUICK TIME, who stalked the pace from mid-pack and tired late and STEIN'S GIRL, who raced evenly but rallied strongly for second in her previous two starts at this level.
LEG E // GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 9 (4:23PM ET) // 1 MILE, 70 YARDS (ALL WEATHER)
We're going seven deep in the final leg of the Stronach 5. NEVER SAY KNOW is a deserving favorite but has raced exclusively on the turf. SOLAR TAP rallied after he was bumped and shuffled back at Delaware Park but couldn't reach the 28-1, first-out winner; stablemate ASTRAL WEEKS took some money but was no factor at Belmont for a high-percentage barn with class droppers. CALIFORNIA FROLIC just missed as the favorite in a one-mile $50,000 claimer in his second start for Joseph. OCTOBER TIME was no match for Peter D (see Leg B above) in stakes company. LUIGI'S SPIRIT is a well-bred firster for a trainer-jockey duo that is 3-7 at the current meet.
STRONACH 5 TICKET
Leg A: 1, 5, 7
Leg B: 1, 7
Leg C: 7, 10
Leg D: 1, 3
Leg E: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10
Cost for a $1 ticket: $168