by Brian Nadeau
March 20, 2019
Back to battle with the Stronach 5 this week, which will double up on Laurel and Gulfstream, with Golden Gate as the anchor, with the guarantee once again at $100k. 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: Laurel Park R8 (4:43 ET) – 4up AOC at 6 furlongs
The opening two legs at Laurel aren’t easy, and are deeply competitive, so I’m going to choose to spread deep here, as I’m a lot narrower to end the sequence, as I am to begin it. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of speed entered, which will flatter the class-dropping favorite #2 MOE TROUBLE, but he’s also just 1-for-8 recently, so it’s not like he has to win either. And that’s why I’ll try for the upset with the well-drawn #5 COZY LOVER (5-1), who was a good 4th last time for Farro and now goes off the claim for Gonzalez, a stiff 27% move. The cutback, and the fact that #8 BRONX SANDMAN (5-1) will get faster splits to sit off of, says he might be an upset candidate, and his last three figures on a fast track put him in the mix here.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 5,2,8
I’m relegating the stretch runners, #6 TWO CHARLEY’S (7-2) and #3 SARATOGA BOB (4-1), to backups only, especially since their most recent run, when 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 2/24 race here, came with the benefit of an extremely hot pace, and that won’t likely unfold in this spot.
Pk5 B horses: 6,3
Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:16 ET) – 4up 8k at 5 furlongs
Things seem even trickier in the second leg, though the race flow looks different, as there’s a ton of speed, which leads me to #8 JROCK (4-1), who will like the drop in class and the contested pace he’ll get to rally into. The rise in class might derail #9 DRIVE AT NITE (6-1), but he’s also won three straight while climbing the ladder and is another who will be rolling late. The same can be said for #10 SWING STEP (10-1), who was outclassed in a N1X last time but closed stoutly to defeat lesser two-back and will be a big price here. If someone from the early brigade lasts it might be #5 CONCORDIA’S WAY (4-1), who did well to draw outside the other speed and will love the drop in class, while hopefully running on a fast track for the first time since McMahon claimed him.
Pk5 A horses: 8,9,10,5
I might be being stubborn but I’m willing to let #2 YOUNG AMERICAN (7-2) beat me (at least on the A-level), since he takes all the worst of it as the inside speed and will be overbet on the class drop, not to mention he’s now two starts removed from being claimed from a potent Magee barn. The drop will help #4 MIDNIGHT CRY (6-1) as well, and that 3rd two-back behind ‘American makes him a player here, but he’s likely going to be in a pace sandwich, which won’t help his chances late.
Pk5 B horses: 2,4
Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:38 ET) – 4up AOC at 1-mile
Sometimes you have to be bold, especially when you’re spreading wide in other legs, and that’s what I’m doing here, since I’m singling #5 AVERY ISLAND (7-2) off a 13-month layoff, while facing older horses for the first time. First off, McLaughlin is a gaudy 35% off this kind of break, this multiple graded stakes winner has been working lights out in the morning, and this seems like a field there for the taking, so if he’s ready, coupled with the expected maturity he’s undergone, he might be set to deliver a race the rest of these simply won’t be able to handle.
Pk5 A horses: 5
There are countless runners you can use underneath, but none really inspire, and all have question marks, so while I respect #2 Diamond King (3-1), #8 Hy Kodiak Warrior (12-1), and #3 War Giant (9-2), I’m standing firm and really trying to maximize the value of Avery Island, who can’t possibly be anywhere close to his ML.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:08 ET) – 3up 20k MCL at 1-mile (turf)
I won’t call this a match race but it sure looks close to it, as #9 JAMMIN JIMTOWN (7-2) and #4 WINE AT THE BEACH (4-1) seem to tower over this field based on their tur form. The former should be just off the pace on the stretchout, while the latter drew tons better than last time, and, unless any of the others improve in a big way, they should get you through. However, since their form is hardly overwhelming, a first-time starter might not be in a bad spot, so I’ll also use #2 SPINNING KITTEN (5-1), who debuts for Gargan with a string of works, and note this is a barn that is 3-for-12 with first-time turfers too.
Pk5 A horses: 9,4,2
The only others I would consider are #7 Temple Mount (6-1) and #8 Grampy’s Boy (6-1), a pair of firsters from John Servis and Cibelli, but the former has struggled at the meet and is just 1-for-23 first-time turf, while the latter is 0-for-11 with firsters and 1-for-19 first-time turf, so I can’t get too enthused by either’s chances.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 5: Golden Gate Fields R6 (6:15 ET) – 3up N1X* at 6 furlongs
The finale seems pretty well defined, as #6 GOREN (2-1) and #9 SEQUENTIALLY (7-2) will both benefit from what looks like a suicidal pace, as well as getting a bit more distance to work with after running well earlier in the meet.
Pk5 A horses: 6,9
A meltdown would really help #3 TOMAHAWK TUESDAY (6-1), who wasn’t far behind Goren when 4th last time, while the pace seems destined to beat #8 TANNER’S PRIDE (3-1), who has wired two straight and did well to draw outside here, but might be biting off a bit more than he can chew, especially going 6F’s.
Pk5 B horses: 3,8
Main Ticket: 5,2,8 with 8,9,10,5 with 5 with 9,4,2 with 6,9 = $72
Leg 1 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,9,10,5 with 5 with 9,4,2 with 6,9 = $48
Leg 2 B Backup: 5,2,8 with 2,4 with 5 with 9,4,2 with 6,9 = $36
Leg 5 B Backup: 5,2,8 with 8,9,10,5 with 5 with 9,4,2 with 3,8 = $72