by Brian Nadeau
March 27, 2019
Santa Anita reopens Friday and with it comes another Stronach 5, 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 R9 (5:16 ET) – 3yo 25k MCL at 6 furlongs
We’ve got the typical tough opening leg of the sequence at Laurel, with seemingly all 10 pre-entries in with a shot. I’m not going to go quite that deep, but spreading seems like the right idea, so I’ll use three on top line, with the class-dropping #7 GIANT VIKING (4-1) the pick, as the cutback from two turns should give him a good foundation, he’s lightly raced, and when a good horseman like Capuano adds blinkers, it’s usually because they are needed (and note he’s only done this once over the past few years, so it’s a meaningful move in my opinion). I’m a bit intrigued by #9 LUCKY LEONARD (8-1), who seemed to be inching forward in his form before getting derailed by the rail and slop last time, but might be able to bounce back from a nice outside attack post today. I’ll also (grudgingly) use #8 HONOR RUN (3-1), who has had his fair share of chances without breaking through, but has speed and either of his last two will put him in the mix here.
Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 7,9,8
The B’s are a bit tougher to trust, but #4 ELIAV (5-1) might have bounced and disliked the “good” track in his first start off the Lake claim after a fast 2nd two-back, while #10 ONCE MORE EH (10-1) rises in class off the Frock claim, has speed and a few solid runs showing, and gets a huge jock upgrade to Correa.
Pk5 B horses: 4,10
Leg 2: Golden Gate Fields R5 (5:45 ET) – 4up 4k at 1-mile
A race that seems to lack a ton of pace tilts this towards those who want to be close early, none more so than #5 SIZZLING EDDIE (5-2), who drops stiffly in class, drew outside the main speed, and will get first run on the rest, and if he can bounce back off a no-show last time, he wins this. A lack of speed won’t help #3 THE REF (7-2), but he does give a nice alternative to ‘Eddie, especially if things do get hot up front, and he too drops in class and has some big figures to fall back on.
Pk5 A horses: 5,3
An up-close style helps #2 PRESS BARON (5-1), and he’s been in good form of late, so even though he probably needs to still run better to win, the price and race flow make him worth a look. You could also give a look to #8 Special Season (4-1) and #9 Looks Good N a Tux (8-1), but both have some question marks and drew poorly, and just don’t merit consideration when working on a smaller budget.
Pk5 B horses: 2
Leg 3: Santa Anita R5 (6:00 ET) – 3yo MSW at 6 furlongs
Santa Anita returns to the Stronach 5 with a tough MSW where all 10 are first-time starters, so we’re in a guessing game here, but at the risk of being master of the obvious, I’ll go with the three who figure to be looking to win today; #7 RAFAL (8-5), #5 OGGONIS (8-1), and #2 STILL IN THE GAME (12-1), as all three were extremely expensive purchases, when compared to their sire’s stud fee, and Baffert, Hollendorfer, and Cecil all know how to get their firsters ready to fire on debut (which is also why I don’t expect the latter two to be as high as their ML suggest).
Pk5 A horses: 7,5,2
After that trio you could literally use every one of the rest, but that’s not happening here, so I’ll limit my B’s to #3 GATE SPEED (7-2) and #4 NESBITT (10-1), as both have worked big for this, and should offer value too. I was surprised to see #10 Beleth at 10-1 on the ML, as Ellis isn’t known as a debut trainer (0-for-6), at least not recently, and, while dam Nicole H was a nice one, I’m wondering if this colt will need a bit more ground with Medaglia d’Oro on the top, not to mention the works here are extremely slow, in lieu of some of the others here.
Pk5 B horses: 3,4
Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:08 ET) – 4upfm GIII Orchid at 1 3/8 miles (turf)
It’s tough not to think #9 SANTA MONICA (1-1) is the most likely winner of the sequence, as she lays over this field on class, goes for Chad Brown, and figures to like the cutback after running 2nd in the local GIII La Prevoyante, so I’ll play it that way and be quite OK if she fails, knowing I have by far the best horse.
Pk5 A horses: 9
I’m not going to use any backups, as #7 Ickymasho’s (9-2) big 2nd in the GIII Very One here last time just seems fluky, and she looks poised to bounce, and it’s tough to think #5 Homeland Security (6-1) can improve for Clement, now that she’s away from Brown, while entering off an October layoff to boot.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R11 (6:38 ET) – 3f 20k MCL at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
Good luck in the finale, as this looks like the type of race where you could go six-deep and still not run in the EX. I’m going to try and take advantage of a few opinions, while playing against a few as well, and hope something sticks to the wall. My first strong opinion is #1 PATCHWORK KITTEN (5-1), a daughter of Kitten's Joy who debuts for Gargan (4-for-13 first-turf), who has had a strong meet, and this miss drew perfectly, and, the fact she's yet to prove she's not slow in the afternoon, is a good thing too. Second, I think Pino does a great job spotting his stock off the claim (23%), so I think he can move up #2 MISS ANTONELLA (8-1) from Castillo, especially since this miss was a decent enough 6th in her turf/two-turn debut, and now immediately gets blinkers and a massive jock switch to Gaffalione. I’ll also give one last chance to #8 ABJURE (4-1), who I thought couldn’t lose last time but basically ran in place, but could move up second-time blinkers and now gets Irad.
Pk5 A horses: 1,2,8
You’re going to get a price on #3 GOLDEN TAP (20-1), who has been ignored at the windows but hasn’t run poorly in her last two and won’t have to improve much to threaten, while #7 MAMA LONGLEGS (20-1) didn’t fire on debut, but that against Florida MSW’s, so she’s allowed to build off that, and #9 GENERAL JUNE (9-2) was a decent 3rd from an impossible draw last time, and now goes off the Sano claim, which is a big 39% angle. If #6 Rosa Star (7-2) feels like winning today, then I won’t, but judging by her first 13 runs, which include seven underneath finishes, I’m not too concerned.
Pk5 B horses: 3,7,9
Main Ticket: 7,9,8 with 5,3 with 7,5,2 with 9 with 1,2,8 = $54
Leg 1 B Backup: 4,10 with 5,3 with 7,5,2 with 9 with 1,2,8 = $36
Leg 2 B Backup: 7,9,8 with 2 with 7,5,2 with 9 with 1,2,8 = $27
Leg 3 B Backup: 7,9,8 with 5,3 with 3,4 with 9 with 1,2,8 = $36
Leg 5 B Backup: 7,9,8 with 5,3 with 7,5,2 with 9 with 3,7,9 = $54