by Brian Nadeau
August 15, 2019
Back to battle with the Stronach 5, which welcomes back Golden Gate Fields this week and will once again have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number 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 (4:53 ET) – 3upfm 35k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf)
We’ve got a tricky opener, since #6 JUDI BLUES EYES (7-2) was a close and fast 2nd at 15/1 on debut on turf then didn’t run an inch in an off the turfer last time; I’m obviously using her, but I also don’t trust her, so I’m spreading. A neck separated #1 ECHO OF VICTORY (5/1) and #2 MEGALOMANIA (8/1) on June 28, but I like the latter a bit more, as she has a ton of upside, since that was her turf debut, and only her second lifetime start as well. The former has to be used too, as she drops out of an MSW run last time and clearly has the form to be a major player here. Lastly, I’ll use #3 MIA GIFT (9/2), who pressed and tired last time but was only a half-length behind ‘Judi two-back and now goes off the Gonzalez claim (24%), which is a huge upgrade over Samaniego (0-for-10 on the year).
Pk5 A horses: 6,1,2,3
Going seven-deep in the opener isn’t ideal, but it’s that type of race, so I want coverage, especially since I think the remaining races have a bit more of a condensed group of contenders. A cutback could help #4 HEIGHT OF THESTORM (5/1), who has solid route form, while getting back to the turf will move up #11 OLD LINE MAGIC (6/1), who was 4th, only two necks behind ‘Echo the last time she ran on the grass. The wildcard is the firster, #9 WHISPURRING KITTEN (10/1), who has modest works but goes for a sharp Merryman barn that knows how to spot its stock.
Pk5 B horses: 4,11,9
Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:22 ET) –3upfm AOC (35k/N2X) at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
Another reason I can go seven-deep in the opener is that I have a single in the second leg, as #11 VORTEX ROAD (9/2) looks better than this mixed bag, especially since she appears to own a strong tactical edge in a race with very little early speed, and because she gets a big jock upgrade from a 5-pound apprentice to Vargas. I’ll also single because, as you’ll see below, I could use the entire field if I didn’t.
Pk5 A horses: 11
The problem with the B-level horses is that you could use several, as the group below ‘Road all pretty much look the same on paper. I’m going to put together a small backup ticket that narrows on some of my A picks in the other four legs (see the R2 backup ticket below), in the hopes of me being spot on, in case ‘Road should lose. The list includes #3 MONKEYS UNCLE (12/1), #4 KAILEE (6/1), #5 SUMMERING (6/1), #6 BELIEVE INDEED (8/1), #1 MORE FUN AGAIN (4/1), #2 NOT IN JEOPARDY (6/1), #7 SHES A TRUE BEAUTY (6/1), and #9 SO INNOCENT (15/1).
Pk5 B horses: 3,4,5,6,1,2,7,9
Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (5:29 ET) – 3upfm AOC (62.5k/N2X) at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf)
Dropping out of GII and GIII stakes has to help #6 RAVEN’S LADY (9/5), who also makes her first start for Biancone and has been training very sharply in the morning, so maybe this is the right spot to finally get her first stateside win. The post is beyond dreadful for #10 PICARA (7/2), but she has plenty of speed to help negate it, and is a stakes winner too, and while improving off Pletcher is never easy, new trainer Delgado is a gaudy 35% with newcomers to his barn.
Pk5 A horses: 6,10
The secondary runners are much more of a stab, but you get a great post and a lot of upside with #2 BEAUTIFUL BALLAD (6/1), who would be a major player off her February turf win at FG and will offer value as well. If #4 Zarina (6/1) runs back to her stakes win here last time she’ll be a huge threat, but that was against only 3yofs and it came from nowhere, so I’m going to expect regression today, while #11 Midnight Soiree (12/1) has a few races showing that would win this, but she was awful last time and has a terrible post, so she’s not worth the risk-reward.
Pk5 B horses: 2
Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R4 (6:15 ET) –3upfm 20k MCL at 1-mile (turf)
It’s good to see Golden Gate return, though this tough eight-pack won’t make it easy on us, especially since there’s so much unproven turf form. The list of top contenders starts with #5 LA GUAPA VELOS (2/1), who has by far the best turf form here, and plenty of speed too, though she does keep find ways to lose, which makes her tough to trust. You could do worse than singling the favorite, though the upside with #2 SURE ANGLE (5/1) makes her appealing too, as she’s run just three times and was a much-improved 3rd in her first start for Trujillo, so while she’s not bred for turf, I’m going to use her.
Pk5 A horses: 5,2
Getting to the turf woke up #3 HEATSKY (8/1) last time at Santa Rosa, and while it was just eight days ago and he stretches out 3 furlongs, a repeat puts her in the mix here. There are others you could include, like #7 Oligarchy (4/1) and #1 Rouge Bouquet (3/1), but they are just too hit-or-miss with their form to be added in.
Pk5 B horses: 3
Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:29 ET) – 2yo 50k MCL at 5 furlongs (turf)
They did us no favors in the finale, as not only is it impossible, but it’s filled with firsters and one-time starters, so it’s a real guessing game as to who is going to fire. At least we know #3 YEI YEI (7/2) can handle turf, as he was a sharp 2nd trying it last time, which gives him a big leg up on the rest. The Baxter barn is 30% on the year but just 1-for-8 with firsters, but with Jaramillo named, #10 R LOVELY JULZ (9/2), a daughter of City Zip, has to be a huge contender, especially with a slew of works showing. The are four MSW droppers entered, and all have to be respected, but the one I want is #4 DEO FORTE (8/1), since he faced open maidens last time, was bet a bit (11/1), has a bullet showing since, and keeps Zayas too.
Pk5 A horses: 3,10,4
I’ll use #7 MISTER NOISI (4/1) since he was a speedy 2nd on debut on the dirt and now adds Lasix, though Amaya is 0-for-10 with first-time turfers, as well as #2 DANZO (10/1), who showed speed in an off-the-turf MSW on debut and has some turf on the bottom of his pedigree. The other two maidens—#5 Purecrazidude (15/1), #6 Maserati Man (8/1)—both can threaten, but neither overly inspire for low-percentage connections, so I’ll pass.
Pk5 B horses: 7
Main Ticket: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 6,10 with 5,2 with 3,10,4 = $48
Leg 1 B Backup: 4,11,9 with 11 with 6,10 with 5,2 with 3,10,4 = $36
Leg 2 B Backup: 6 with 3,4,5,6,1,2,7,9 with 6,10 with 5 with 3 = $16
Leg 3 B Backup: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 2 with 5,2 with 3,10,4 = $24
Leg 4 B Backup: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 6,10 with 3 with 3,10,4 = $24
Leg 5 B Backup: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 6,10 with 5,2 with 7,2 = $32