by Brian Nadeau
February 5, 2020
Back to battle in the Stronach 5, which will run the gamut with four tracks this 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 (3:50 ET) – 3yo 40k MCL* at 6 furlongs
Several different ways to go in the opening leg, though the drop in class for #4 ROYAL THUNDER makes him a huge threat in his local bow, after running in four MSW starts in Ca., especially since he showed high speed out west and new trainer Russell is 3-for-8 with newcomers. If ‘Thunder wasn’t entered it’s possible #8 GOLAZO would be a heavy favorite, as that debut 3rd at the level over the track/distance was very fast, and he won’t have to improve much, if at all, to win this, especially if the pick doesn’t fire. I’ll also use #11 COMMISSIONER BIGGS, who makes his debut for Lynch who is 26% with firsters, and this one has plenty of works that whisper ready.
Pk5 A horses: 4,8,11 (listed in order of preference)
The MSW drop, outside attack post, and addition to Lasix all say #9 ABUELO PAPS can be a big threat here, though the August layoff is a worry, and with McCarthy also named on #2 Deshackled, it’s worth tabbing who he does ride. It’s tough to toss anything from Robb, who is 35% at the meet and 29% off the claim, so #7 METAL MAGICIAN could deliver in his third career start, especially since he’s been highly backed in his first two.
Pk5 B horses: 9,7
Leg 2: Santa Anita R1 (4:00 ET) – 3yo Cal-bred MSW at 5 � furlongs (turf)
In a field of only eight, I’ll go with three proven runners and a firster, as #5 ZERO DOWN really woke up in his turf debut last time—over open MSW foes too—while #3 AUSTIN’S BOY was a solid 3rd at the level over the course/distance on debut, and #7 PERFECT AFFECTION also improved in his turf debut, and the cutback to one-turn could put him over the top. Lastly, with Puype at 19% on debut and 20% in turf sprints, you have to use #6 SQUALOTORO, who also has a slew of sharp works and lures name jock Valdivia.
Pk5 A horses: 5,3,7,6
There will be no backups, as the rest don’t really inspire, and the firster I considered, #2 Equipo A, goes for a 15-for-52 Ruiz barn, but one that is 0’fer in five categories pertaining to today’s conditions (albeit with very small sample sizes).
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (4:33 ET) – 4upfm AOC (25k/N1X) at 1 1/16 miles
I’m going to take the bait and single #7 ROYAL FLAG, who won’t be the lock the toteboard suggests but looks better than an average bunch, especially since he starts for Brown and Irad off an 8-length (muddy) MSW win at Aqueduct, has a world of upside off just two starts, and is a half to multiple GII winner Eagle; yes, facing winners is never easy, and his big win was over an off-track, but there’s not much here, and his two biggest foes have serious questions too.
Pk5 A horses: 7
The aforementioned two biggest foes—#4 Violent Trick and #2 Big Tina—are very tricky reads, as the former has just one big race showing (two-back), while the latter impressed on his return to the dirt last time, but that was against 40k N2L runners, so this is a significant rise in class, and for those reasons, and the talent of ‘Flag, I’ll go it alone.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 4up 3.2k claimer at 1-mile
A deep field but one that lacks much pace, so I’m trying to get #2 KONA COAST to forget to stop, as he really improved on the stretch to two turns last time and will undoubtedly be on the engine, and hopefully won’t get too much pressure from #8 Union Wine, who looks like the only other one who wants to be close early. The more logical win candidates are #6 TYPHOON HARRY, who is tactical and drops in class, and #1 KID ARCADE, who was a very fast 3rd last time and drew well, though his lack of speed is a concern.
Pk5 A horses: 2,6,1
I don’t really know what to make of #7 ASKIN’ FOR TROUBLE, who ran extremely fast (for these) when beating ‘Kid, but that was three starts ago, and he bombed last time with no apparent excuse, but now goes off the claim for Tanayo, which is a big 28% angle, so I think he needs to be used in some form. You could also use Kid Wine, who should trip out but might not be good enough, though his good race-bad race pattern says he’s firing today.
Pk5 B horses: 7
Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:33 ET) – 4up 8k claimer at 1-mile
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t love anyone in the finale, but I also think if you use #7 CHIRPING, #10 SMOKE ‘N’ GLOAT, #3 POSTINO’S VOW, and #9 FRENCH QUARTER, you’ll get through, as they simply look like the four best and don’t face much. The one who is a bit outside the box is ‘Gloat, who has plenty of speed and goes off the claim for Sano, a very underrated 25% move, while the other three are all very obvious.
Pk5 A horses: 7,10,3,9
If you’re looking for another, or want a price as a backup, then #4 Love Nest fits the bill, though his last two dirt runs, for a 1-for-24 Morrison barn, just won’t cut it here.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Main Ticket: 4,8,11 with 5,3,7,6 with 7 with 2,6,1 with 7,10,3,9 = $144
Leg 1 B Backup: 9,7 with 5,3,7,6 with 7 with 2,6,1 with 7,10,3,9 = $96
Leg 4 B Backup: 4,8,11 with 5,3,7,6 with 7 with 7 with 7,10,3,9 = $48