by Brian Nadeau
January 16, 2019
It’s time to continue our weekly look at the Stronach 5. 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, as well as on Twitter. ***
Leg 1: Gulfstream Park R8 (4:10 ET) – 4upfm AOC at 1-mile (turf)
I don’t have a strong opinion in the opening leg, which is why I’ll use five, with the hopes that will be enough to get me through. I think an inside draw and getting back to turf will help #3 ROMANTIC MOMENT (8-1), who (go figure) is incorrectly priced on the ML and may well go favored based on her tactical speed and grass form last year. If no one goes with #7 MITCHELL ROAD (5-1) she may forget to stop, much like she did against lesser at Aqu when last seen. The posts are just terrible for both #11 TAPERGE (4-1), who had big 3yo form for Brown and now makes her first start for Motion off a 14-month layoff, and #10 DROP DEAD RED (10-1), a very fast 2nd in a small Laurel stakes two-back, so tread lightly, though obviously both figure on their best. Lastly, I’ll use the class-dropping #5 FINESS BERE (6-1), who was a fringe stakes player as a 3yo in So Cal last year for Baffert and could be a more mature filly off the June break for Walsh, who is 23% first-time in his barn.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 3,7,11,10,5
If I don’t get it done with the five-pack above, I don’t deserve to win, though #1 Notapradaprice (6-1) would be next on the list, though she never wins.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (4:35 ET) – 4up 5k N3L at 7 furlongs
It seems like #3 DO YAHWANNA SALSA (8-5) has found a group he can handle, as he’s clearly best on paper, drops stiffly in class, and should like the 7 F’s too, though I feel like we’ve said this before in the Laurel low-priced claimers and lost, so I won’t go it alone. That brings us to #10 SWING STEP (6-1), who won in the mud last time against lesser and steps up, but note he did add blinkers that day too and showed a lot more focus early, and with just five starts he still has upside, which is more than the pick can say.
Pk5 A horses: 3
I’m not sure if there’s enough speed to set up the late run of #9 BEST SURPRISE (7-2) but the added ground will help, and if the pick doesn’t fire, then she’s next on the totem pole.
Pk5 B horses: 9
Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:00 ET) – 3yo AOC at 1 1/16 miles
A drop in class and stakes experience figure to have #6 BOURBON WAR (7-2) primed for his 3yo bow, and that stellar debut win says he’s a name to remember as winter turns to spring for a Hennig barn that was aces here last year.
Pk5 A horses: 6
Call me a skeptic on #3 CUTTING HUMOR (3-1), who wasn’t threatening in two starts on the big circuits then added blinkers and won off going two turns at GPW when last seen; yes, it’s Pletcher at GP, but I’ll make this one prove it while limiting to him to a backup role. I’m leery of #4 Award Winner (4-1), an impressive gate-to-wire winner in the slop here last month, but I have a lot of confidence in the pick, so I’ll just have one backup here.
Pk5 B horses: 3
Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:12 ET) – 3f 20k MCL at 1-mile (turf)
When the 8-5 ML favorite is a NY-bred who is 0-for-5 I think you’re allowed to look around, which is what I’ll do with #8 TAILADIOS (10-1), who ran deceptively well sprinting on debut, will like the stretchout, and is worth the risk/reward. Yes, you have to use #6 MOLLY’S PARTY (8-5), as her NY turf form is best here, but she is in open waters now, is dangled for 20k, and is a short price, so there are reasons for concern too. I’ll also use #1 RIVER OF FIRE (7-2), who has been just OK in two starts for Pletcher but drew best of all, still has upside, and will save all the ground under Saez.
Pk5 A horses: 8,6,1
Being unraced in a spot like this is never a bad thing, so let’s use #9 BAY RIVER (12-1), who has a slew of works for Walsh, a decent enough 9% with firsters, and a potent 32% with Gaffalione aboard. I’ll also toss in #7 KINDHEARTED KOTA (9-2), since Sano has gotten going o flate after a terrible start and reaches for Irad, so there may be some intent here too, on a gal who isn’t too far out of this on figures.
Pk5 B horses: 9,7
Leg 5: Santa Anita R4 (5:30 ET) – 4up MSW at 1-mile (turf)
I’m not a fan of maidens who have had their chances and are short-priced favorites, but it finally looks like it’s time for #7 SELLWOOD (9-5), who is simply a better horse than his rivals, off his last four turf starts (all 2nd-place finishes), and won’t have to improve to beat this group.
Pk5 A horses: 7
I won’t kill anyone who wants more coverage or wants to try to beat what could be a lifetime maiden in the making, so #1 Englander (5-1), #2 Big Buzz (7-2), #3 Arch Anthem (5-1), #5 Cajun Treasure (5-1), and #6 Lomu (8-1) all warrant looks, but all seem a cut below, at least at this point in their development.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Main Ticket: 3,7,11,10,5 with 3,10 with 6 with 8,6,1 with 7 = $30
Leg 2 B Backup: 3,7,11,10,5 with 9 with 6 with 8,6,1 with 7 = $15
Leg 3 B Backup: 3,7,11,10,5 with 3,10 with 3 with 8,6,1 with 7 = $30
Leg 4 B Backup: 3,7,11,10,5 with 3,10 with 6 with 9,7 with 7 = $20