by Brian Nadeau
February 12, 2020
Back to battle in the Stronach 5, after we hit every race that was run last week, but unfortunately Laurel canceled and we live to fight another day. 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) – 4up 5k at 5 1/2 furlongs
The opener looks relatively cut and dried, in that there are only a few that can win, and a lot that can’t. The list starts and possibly ends with #4 UNBRIDLED OUTLAW, who has been in sharp form and drops steeply in class, but considering he was only claimed for 7.5k three starts ago, there’s no real warning signs that he’s dropping in for 5k off a 3rd for 12.5k last time. I’ll also use #7 SMOKIN HOT FACTOR, who was a solid 3rd off the Sanchez-Saloman claim for 8k last time and now drops, and has a stalking gear from the perfect outside attack post.
Pk5 A horses: 4,7 (listed in order of preference)
The two other logical contenders are #1a Laser Loop and #9 Will Munnings, but the former has been comfortably behind ‘Outlaw in his last two and the latter hasn’t been out since a no-show in July, so while neither are impossible, I’ll pass unless one of the top-2 scratches.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (4:00 ET) – 4upfm 40k N2L at 1-mile (turf)
I’m going to put a couple of newcomers on top here, as both #2 MUSIC OF LIFE and #8 SO CHARMING, have some big back form but enter off duds, but now both start for Joseph, who is very adept at moving his new acquisitions way up. We need to go deeper there, and while she drew poorly, but #9 STRELLA’S WAR has enough tactical speed to negotiate the quick first turn, and her Tampa allowance form stacks up nicely here too.
Pk5 A horses: 2,8,9
The backups will be #6 I AM MAGICAL and #7 SHIKAKA, who drop from the same N1X, which might be all they need to wake up. You could also use recent MCL winners #1 She Fled the Scene and #5 Kitten by the Sea, but they are stepping up in class and seem a little outgunned at this point, so I’m apt to make them both prove it.
Pk5 B horses: 6,7
Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 4up 8k N2L at 5 1/2 furlongs
The outside speed of #9 NUTTY SIERRA and the stalking styles of #6 SMILING BANDIT and #2 PAMPER ME NOW make this trio the ones to beat in a deep field, though admittedly there are several different ways you can go here. I’ll also use #7 SMOKIN ENCOUNTER, who has won two straight and has a ton of upside off just four starts, and keeps passing every test she’s been given, which means this tougher group could be next.
Pk5 A horses: 9,6,2,7
A cutback to one-turn might help wake up #5 DRIZZY, who seems to have gone the wrong way of late, but has plenty of back races that would make her a major player here. Both #1 Hot n’Famous and #4 Independent Indy can be considered, but they are below the top quintet, and going five-deep seems to be enough, so I’ll let them both beat me.
Pk5 B horses: 5
Leg 4: Santa Anita R4 (5:30 ET) – 3f Cal-bred AOC (50k/N1X) at 1-mile (turf)
Stakes droppers #1 WARRIOR’S MOON and #7 CALIFORNIA KOOK, who were recently 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the 200k Cal Cup Oaks, will be tough here, as this is a modest group for the level and they both proved they have some class last time. However, it looks like #4 SHE’S DEVOTED is a runner too, as she won at 8-5 turf sprinting on debut and is bred for this, so she’s a must-use as well. I’ll also use #5 ALMOST A FACTOR, since she had plenty of trouble when 5th in the Cal Cup, and will like what looks like an aggressive pace here.
Pk5 A horses: 1,4,7,5
There are a few others who have caught the eye, most notably #6 Teachers Big Dream and #8 Sassyserb, but the expected hot pace won’t help, so I’ll stick with just the top-4, especially since the race flow seems to suit them better too.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:33 ET) – 3f 16k MCL at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
I’m going to be aggressive in the finale because I have a lot of coverage early and I also like #4 BIG BOSS LADY a lot, since she had a ton of trouble in her lone turf start, drew perfectly here, and meets a group there for the taking as well.
Pk5 A horses: 4
The two main dangers are clearly #6 BETTER BARGAIN and #11 ZANDREA’S, so you have to use them, and could easily put them on the top line, though on my tickets that would make it much too expensive. Getting back to the turf should help #1 I’ll Do It My Way, while #2 Bee Wings would be a threat off the run two-back, but neither seem trustworthy, while the others rank higher.
*** Please note that to keep the backup ticket down, I’ll be singling #1 Warrior’s Moon in Leg 4.
Pk5 B horses: 6,11
Main Ticket: 4,7 with 2,8,9 with 9,6,2,7 with 1,4,7,5 with 4 = $96
Leg 2 B Backup: 4,7 with 6,5 with 9,6,2,7 with 1,4,7,5 with 4 = $64
Leg 3 B Backup: 4,7 with 2,8,9 with 5 with 1,4,7,5 with 4 = $24
Leg 5 B Backup: 4,7 with 2,8,9 with 9,6,2,7 with 1 with 6,11 = $48