by Brian Nadeau
June 17, 2020
Back to battle in this week’s Stronach 5, which once again has a 100k guarantee, and a prospective pool that should far surpass that. 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 90 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: Gulfstream Park R8 (3:41 ET) – 3f AOC (50k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf)
You could probably do worse than singling #7 SWIRLING CANDY (2-1), who just easily beat a few of these off the D’Angelo claim, and would win this one too if she runs back to that fast score, but with a ton of speed on both sides, I’m going to pick her on top but include a few others as well, since I don’t think her true winning chances are what the tote might indicate when the gates open. One of the main reasons I don’t want to single ‘Candy is that #11 TONY’S ROSE (9-2), who was 2nd to her, some 2 1/2 lengths behind, has every right to make up the difference, as she’s now second-off an almost 10-month layoff, and should love all the speed she gets to sit off of, so I’m expecting a very big run. I’m also using a price in #4 FUJAIRAH (15-1), who hasn’t sprinted on the turf since December but has been facing much better, is another who will be closing strongly, and goes for a very sharp David barn that is 24% in turf sprints.
Pk5 A horses: 7,11,4 (listed in order of preference)
I’ll take another longshot and race flow play and use #3 MANE ATTRACTION (20-1), who finally broke through in a confidence building off-the-turf MSW last time but has a few solid turf sprints showing that aren’t too far off these on paper, and can settle off the speed, which could move her up.
Pk5 B horses: 3
Potential B add-ins: #8 Fly On Angel (6-1)
Leg 2: Laurel Park R7 (4:06 ET) – 3up 16k AOC (35k/N2X) at 1-mile
In what might be the toughest race of the quintet, I’ll spread and use four on the top line, and all have tactical speed in common, as this one-turn mile doesn’t look like it will have all that salty of a pace. Top honors go to #9 BUSTOFF (9-2), who could be the coolest horse around, as he just dueled on the lead through a hot 48 1/5 half-mile and finished 2nd going 1 1/2 miles, one start removed from doing the same through a 45 4/5 half-mile when 4th here going 6Fs; he splits the difference today, and here’s hoping he finally clears, gets brave, and forgets to stop. I don’t know where the easy win #8 ROUGH SEA (8-1) delivered last time in a local N1X, but if you take it at face value, he’s a huge threat here, and the price will be right to come along. The duo of #3 TOUGHEST ‘OMBRE (6-1) and #11 THE RIGHT PATH (8-1) fit with these, have solid recent form, and should be close throughout, so they both seem like a must-use as well.
Pk5 A horses: 9,8,3,11
A decided lack of early speed might be the ultimate undoing of #6 PRETTY GOOD YEAR (5-1), who also seems better at two turns, and #2 TATTOOED (6-1), who has been 2nd in three straight, so they seem better on the second line, especially since the pace on paper doesn’t seem to flatter them.
Pk5 B horses: 6,2
Potential B add-ins: #5 Ruby Bleu (8-1), #10 Hanalei’s Houdini (10-1), #7 Belfour (12-1)
Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R9 (4:13 ET) – 3up Florida-bred AOC (20k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf)
This one is tricky because the favorite, #2 GOOD BYE GREG (2-1), ran huge in this space three weeks ago, when he never got a breather on the lead through wicked splits yet held well to be 3rd, and might not have to work as hard here. However, Apache Brave (7-2) didn’t break and was stymied in traffic in that race, and is every bit as fast—and maybe faster—than ‘Greg, so he could be a huge pace nuisance from the outside with an alert beginning, yet he takes the blinkers-off, to possibly settle better early. I’ll side with what I know, and that’s that ‘Greg will certainly be in front, and therefore has to be used on the A-line. But, should ‘Brave offer intense pace pressure, I want an alternative, and that’s #12 CRYOGENIC (4-1), who will love getting back to the turf, has Lopez, who will put him in the race early, and several races at the level that would win this.
Pk5 A horses: 2,12
Should #11 APACHE BRAVE break alertly and press the issue from the outside, he could be in a great spot and well clear of the rest, while dictating to the favorite, so I’m using him defensively based on this post, and the fact he beat Cryogenic when 2nd at the level two-back.
Pk5 B horses: 11
Potential B add-ins: #4 Honolulu Express (10-1)
Leg 4: Laurel Park R8 (4:38 ET) – 3up AOC (35k/N2X) at 6 furlongs
The second half of a tough duo at Laurel seemingly has plenty of pace, especially with #8 PREMIER STAR (9-2) entered, so I want to see tactical speed, and both #9 EASTERN BAY (5-1) and #11 TAPPIN CAT (6-1) have it, with the former a potential move-up candidate off the Gonzalez claim (27%), and the latter a big threat after missing by a neck at the level last time. You clearly have to use ‘Star, who impressed beating 3yos in a pair of GP runs to start his career for Navarro, but he’s now with Trombetta, and while he’s as good as they get around here, it’s not going to be easy to improve this colt’s form off his former trainer, who is awaiting trial for administering performance enhancing medication to many of his horses, especially with so much other speed to contend with.
Pk5 A horses: 9,11,8
The wildcard—and the best horse in the race—is New York bred stakes winner #5 RUNAWAY LUTE (7-2), who checks a lot of boxes, including running style, but enters off a 14-month layoff for new trainer Jeremiah Englehart, and while that’s a positive move from former conditioner Contessa, there are only three works showing, and it’s odd he’s here and not against his own kind up I-95, so I’m getting mixed signals and will only use him as a backup. I wanted to use #6 HALL PASS (8-1) on top, because he will be closing, and fits on numbers, but he’s off a November layoff and never wins (1-for-12 last year), so it’s tough to think today is the day, off that kind of break, expected hot pace and all.
Pk5 B horses: 5,6
Potential B add-ins: #1 Absentee (10-1), #12 Fortunate Friends (12-1)
Leg 5: Santa Anita R3 (4:59 ET) – 3up MSW at 1-mile (turf)
This is my line in the sand race, and not just because it’s the last one of the sequence, but more so because it looks like the type where you either need to take one, or take them all, as most of these look the same on paper. I’m certainly not in position to do the latter, so I’ll side with the former and single #6 WAR PATH (4-1), since he has a ton of upside off just three starts, should trip out nicely just off the speed, and gets a huge jock upgrade from Diaz to Prat, which to me says Baffert might think today is the time for a breakthrough.
Pk5 A horses: 6
Clearly if I said you could use them all I need several backups, so we have #9 TIBERIUS MERCURIUS (5-2), who has the best overall form and actually won an MSW in NY last time for Asmussen before being DQ’d and now starts for Sadler; #2 STILL IN THE GAME (4-1), who would be dangerous if he clears and ran his best race when 3rd in his only turf start last summer; and #8 NO SLO MO (8-1), an encouraging 5th on debut at 54-1 for Glatt, who is 29% with second-out maidens.
*** Please note, to keep the cost of the R5 backup ticket down, I’ll be singling #7 Swirling Candy in Leg 1 and #2 Good Bye Greg in Leg 3 ***
Pk5 B horses: 9,2,8
Potential B add-ins: #5 Much More Halo (7-2)
Main Ticket: 7,11,4 with 9,8,3,11 with 2,12 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $72
Leg 1 B Backup: 3 with 9,8,3,11 with 2,12 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $24
Leg 2 B Backup: 7,11,4 with 6,2 with 2,12 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $36
Leg 3 B Backup: 7,11,4 with 9,8,3,11 with 11 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $36
Leg 4 B Backup: 7,11,4 with 9,8,3,11 with 2,12 with 5,6 with 6 = $48
Leg 5 B Backup: 7 with 9,8,3,11 with 2 with 9,11,8 with 9,2,8 = $36