by Brian Nadeau
July 17, 2019
Let’s once again tackle a Laurel-Gulfstream edition of the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to 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 (4:54 ET) – 3upfm N1X at 1-mile (turf)
The opener looks like the type of race where you can make a case for basically every filly entered, so getting as much coverage as you can afford seems like a prudent approach. A field lacking early speed and the addition of Lasix makes #6 MAHKATO (9-2) very attractive, as she looks like a Lone F, and shouldn’t have to run as hard early as she did last time when a close 5th here at the level while taking on winners for the first time. Clearly the gal to beat is #4 GARDENISTA (5-2), as her two Del Park 2nds are better than anyone here has done, and Delacour is having a stellar meet with a limited amount of starters. The wide draw didn’t help #11 ADULT IN THE ROOM (4-1), who was 2nd and ahead of the pick last time, but she seems to have enough tactical speed to negate it, and does make the pivotal third start of her form cycle. Lastly, I’m going to use #2 ALEXA ROSE (9-2), even though she was 4th and a few lengths behind Gardenista last time, and that’s because she’s run just twice in the US, and could be poised for a breakthrough after getting a few stateside trial runs out of the way.
Pk5 A horses: 6,4,11,2
With Robb at 29% on the year and 31% off the claim, you should probably find a spot for #1 MUSIC MAKER (8-1), who does rise in class but isn’t too far off these on paper and drew perfectly. I’d also advocate using #10 ZONDA (10-1), who makes her turf debut but is by Scat Daddy, so you know she’s bred to love it, and won’t mind leaving the takes ranks and a pair of races won by rousing winners.
Pk5 B horses: 1,10
Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:26 ET) –3upfm 5k N2L at 6 1/2 furlongs
While the first leg seems impossible, the second leg almost seems too easy, as #3 SHEZA HANDFULL (7-5) could be odds-on off the stiff class drop and form that buries this group, which is a very modest bunch, and that’s being kind. The obvious worry is she plummets to 5k after being claimed for 20k two-back, but a win will net her 9k, and if she’s claimed that will be another 5k, so the connections won’t take that much of a bath.
Pk5 A horses: 3
If you don’t want to stand alone then #9 Country Linedancer (3-1) seems best of the rest off her 3rd at the level last time, but a wide draw and the fact she’s more likely to regress says this is all about the chalk.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (5:31 ET) – 3up 35k OC/SAL at 1-mile (turf)
In a race where most of these look about the same, taking the one with a ton of upside seems like the right way to go, so let’s put #1 ARMCHAIR JOCKEY (6-1) on top, as his comeback off 14-month layoff was very impressive, and with just six lifetime starts, he might have another forward move in him. You need to use #2 GOLDEN DECISION (3-1), as his two turf races off the Walder claim are strong and he drew perfectly too. The tactical speed of #5 KING ORB (6-1) makes him very playable, and his lone start off the Crichton claim two-back was an impressive win. You could make a case that #8 BAD TO THE CORE (4-1) is the one to beat, as he’s been in a trio of stakes of late, but he’s also marooned out wide and was going 1 1/2 miles in his last two, so he’s down the list here.
Pk5 A horses: 1,2,5,8
The quartet we have above seem better than the quartet that remains, so let’s leave it at that, especially since #3 Vassy (7-2), who won last time, and #4 Toupha (8-1), a solid 3rd in his last two, both rise in class and look a little outgunned on paper as it is.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:01 ET) – 3upfm 25k N2L* at 6 furlongs
Finally getting off the rail and to a perfect outside attack post might be all #7 R KISS EM GOODBYE (7-2) needs to breakthrough, as she’s been stuck on the rail in his last two and won the battle before losing the war and finishing 2nd. Just in case the favorite falters, let’s also use #1 MIDNIGHT MIRACLE (2-1), a stalker with five wins in a field filled where the rest have 10 combined, and if someone pressures ‘Kiss Em early, she’ll be there to take advantage late.
Pk5 A horses: 7,1
You could make a case for singling ‘Kiss Em, so the fact I’m going two-deep means there’s really no need to use any backups. If you are looking for more coverage, then #4 Elissas Secret (4-1) and #3 Shall Return (3-1) seem best of the rest.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:31 ET) – 3upfm 16k N2L* at 1-mile (turf)
Being relatively narrow in the first four races was by design, as the finale is impossible, and could go any number of 10 different ways. Obviously I can’t use that many, but I’ll try to get alive to as many as possible, between the A and B lines. Top honors got to #1 SECRET O’ LIFE (4-1), who drew best of all and has good enough form to win as is, but now goes off the Crichton claim, which is an insane 7-for-14 move, so you have to think she moves up in a big way. A drop in class and plenty of tactical speed make #4 LABHAY (5-1) a major player, especially since she was beaten less than 3 lengths in both tries for 35k and now makes her third start off a 13-month layoff. Improving off Delgado is never easy but Sanchez is 8-for-27 on the year yet shows only two claims in the past few years, so he must like what he saw in #7 PURPLE GIRL (12-1), and she was just a good 2nd to a runaway when tackling winners for the first time, so she has some upside too.
Pk5 A horses: 1,4,7
There’s no doubt #10 SAND DRIFT (8-1) is one of the ones here, as she’s been taking on better and running competitive figures, but this draw is as bad as it gets, so it’s tough to put her on top line. If you’re forgiving and are willing to draw a line through #3 LONESOME PALM’S (6-1) last race then her form fits nicely here, and she drew well too, so with speed and a nice price, she’s not the worst stab. You could use any of the rest too, but they all have some scars, tough posts, or subpar figures, so the five listed above will hopefully carry the day.
Pk5 B horses: 10,3
Main Ticket: 6,4,11,2 with 3 with 1,2,5,8 with 7,1 with 1,4,7 = $96
Leg 1 B Backup: 1,10 with 3 with 1,2,5,8 with 7,1 with 1,4,7 = $48
Leg 5 B Backup: 6,4,11,2 with 3 with 1,2,5,8 with 7,1 with 10,3 =$64