by Brian Nadeau
November 28, 2018
Big doings for Friday’s Strong 5, as there is an 88k carryover that is sure to bring about a robust pool, especially with a sequence that seems a bit more manageable than usual. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors.
*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update. ***
Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:21 ET) – 3up AOC at 6 furlongs
With the potential for a suicidal speed duel between #1 Gold Man (4-1) and #3 Shane’s Jewel (3-1), this one sets up perfectly for the favored #5 HOME RUN MAKER (9-5), who does rise in class (off a win) but has the best figures and will get a dream race flow.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 5
The most interesting alternative is #7 EASTERN BAY (5-1), who certainly needed his return off a 5-month break and did himself no favors when he had a tough start. He has several past races that can win this and a rating gear that will help too. I’m not stubborn enough to toss SHANE’S JEWEL, as he is outside his main speed rival and just maybe he can blow this open off the far turn, but it’s a bit tough to envision winning the battle and the war. If you really want to get crazy, and if you’re playing a deeper ticket, give a longshot look to #6 Two Putt (20-1), who has a closing style that fits the race flow and has a big-figure win at Thistledown two-back.
Pk5 B horses: 7,3 (Please note that to keep the size of this backup on the conservative side, I’ll only use #4 and #3 as my A horses in Leg 4.)
Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (3:51 ET) – 3upfm Maryland-bred allowance at 6 furlongs
If you’re not familiar with Ray Handal then get accustomed to hearing the name, as he’s one of the best young trainers in the country and knows how to read a condition book and spot his stock, which is why #1 PROPORTIONALITY (6-1) is so intriguing on the drop out of some tough races on bigger circuits. It’s obvious you have to use #5 GHOUL’S NIGHT OUT (9-5), as she has the most consistent form and should trip out just off the speed, but I also find her 2-for-16 lifetime record, with nine underneath finishes, a bit tough to trust, so tread lightly if you’re singling her.
Pk5 A horses: 1,5
The drop into the restricted ranks should also suit #8 LOVE’S LEGEND (8-1), who has been running well against seasoned, open optional claimers, has a nice stalking style, and will offer some value too. I’ll side against 2 Three Hawk (5-1) and #3 Elevated Vision (5-1), as both come in off long layoffs and may need this before firing their best.
Pk5 B horses: 8
Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R2 (4:15 ET) – 3up 6.25k claimer 6 furlongs
It looks like we have two class droppers that figure better than a modest field, and I’ll just use the both of them and call it a day, as #3 NIGHTIME OLYMPICS (3-1) has been facing tons better for a potent Wong barn and has enough early foot to get a good trip just off the speed, while #6 KRISTO STYLE (5-2) is essentially the same, and drew a nice attack post too, for a Herbertson barn that is 28% on the year.
Pk5 A horses: 3,6
You could do worse than tossing in #5 Hank the Tank (6-1) for Hollendorfer, but ‘Style beat him convincingly last time, so I’ll leave him off the ticket, along with #8 Tiz Indy (5-1), who has a ton of speed and enters off a fast win, but looks destined to bounce off such a big and taxing effort.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 4: Laurel Park R10 (4:23 ET) – 2k 16k MCL at 7 furlongs
Things get a bit dicey here, as a lot of these look similar on paper, are tough to trust, and seem to be running in place, which is why I advocate spreading as deep as your bankroll will afford. With little conviction at all, I’ll tab #4 COQUETA (7-2) as my top pick, for no other reason than she has some tactical speed in what looks like a paceless race, and should like the cutback from 1-mile. Blinkers seemed to help #3 TRI POKER (3-1) wake up last time, but they didn’t put any more speed into her running style, so while she hits hard, I’m not putting her on top. My price play is #5 AMERICAN STAR (12-1), who didn’t do much running in two starts with blinkers but takes them off here, will be close throughout, and has three good local races without the hood. A better start and cleaner trip would no doubt help #8 BROADWAY TROUPER (6-1), and note she did catch slop last time and will run today with second-time blinkers, so she could wake up.
Pk5 A horses: 4,3,5,8
Speed figure players will use #2 LUCKY DILLY (8-1), and she is consistent, if nothing else, though she was 3 ¾ lengths behind ‘Poker last time, so turning the tables seems a bit of a reach. Lastly, I’ll use #9 VARIANCE (4-1), who just missed on debut but has gone backwards since, and starts for a 2-for-58 Magill barn, which is why she’s the last rung on this ladder.
Pk5 B horses: 2,9
Leg 5: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 3up 8k N2L at 5 ½ furlongs
The closing leg sure isn’t easy but does look like it will have a ton of pace, so I’ll side to the stalker/closers, as this could fall apart late. The best appears to be #10 GENERAL MACH FOUR (6-1), who just missed against lesser last time but will love all the heat he gets up front. I can’t envision getting the 15-1 ML that #4 PREMIUM FOREST is at, but he should offer value in his first start for James (24%) and was facing tons better in So. Cal, and has the right kind of running style here too. The drop in class should work for #5 WALK ON WATER (12-1), as he’s been treading his wheels against better but can rally late. The best of the speed seems to be #3 KNUST (5-2), and he aired against lesser for Wong last time, so I’ll use him, though he’s down the list.
Pk5 A horses: 10,4,5,3
I don’t like any of the other speeds, especially since I think I have the best one in Knust, so I’m passing on them all and any potential B runners. Yes, they are only going 5 ½ furlongs, but there’s enough gas here to think none of it lasts.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Main Ticket: 5 with 1,5 with 3,6 with 4,3,5,8 with 10,4,5,3 = $64
Leg 1 B Backup: 7,3 with 1,5 with 3,6 with 4,3 with 10,4,5,3 = $64
Leg 2 B Backup: 5 with 8 with 3,6 with 4,3,5,8 with 10,4,5,3 = $32
Leg 4 B Backup: 5 with 1,5 with 3,6 with 2,9 with 10,4,5,3 = $32