by Brian Nadeau
June 25, 2020
If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger, that’s how it goes, right? We forge on in this week’s all Laurel-Gulfstream Park 100k guaranteed Stronach 5 after a brutal neck loss in the final leg of last week’s sequence, when our 4-1 single couldn’t quite get by the favorite to secure what would have been well over a five-figure payoff (it paid $7,039 with the 7-5 winning) on an $72 All-A ticket. So it goes. 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: Laurel Park R6 (3:33 ET) – 3up 40k MCL at 6 furlongs (turf)
Whereas last week seemed to be a much more expansive sequence, this week’s doesn’t look nearly as hard—and yes, I know how that usually plays out—and so I’ll play it accordingly, since I came up with mostly logical horses throughout the five races. The opener is a good case in point, as #4 DREAMING OF CARATS (4-1) could be a potential single off the two-turn debut 5th against much better at GP, from an impossible draw too, and now he runs as a first-time gelding and takes blinkers off, so there’s a good chance he blows up here and lays down a race the rest of these can’t handle on the cutback in what looks like a speedy field. I do think #1 ARTISTIC REASON (6-1) is playable though, even though his dirt debut wasn’t much, but he did rally late, and McCarthy sticks for Motion, who is 27% dirt-to-turf, and there’s some solid grass pedigree here as well, plus he’s another who will like the expected hot and contested pace. I’m also going to use one of the few A-line prices in the sequence, as #10 LOCK (12-1) made up 10 lengths late in a non-threatening debut on the dirt against MSW foes, so this drop, and all the heat up front, could set him up at a nice price.
Pk5 A horses: 4,1,10 (listed in order of preference)
There are undoubtedly others who could be used on the top line, but the statistics have me siding against a few who will get played, especially #7 ROYAL THUNDER (9-2), an MSW dropper for a 30% Russell barn, but also one that is 0-for-9 first-turf, 0-for-9 dirt-to-turf, and 0-for-10 in turf sprints, so while he fits on paper, that’s a lot of 0’fers to snap. Inside speed might be #2 KARAN’S NOTION’S (5-1) undoing, as that 2nd on debut on the dirt was big, but he takes all the worst of it here with so much pressure to his outside, and that 61-1 is long gone today too. if nothing else, #9 FIYA (6-1) did well to draw outside the other speed, and both dirt runs were strong, but he’s off a December layoff and may need this, for a Merryman barn that is 0-for-9 in turf sprints.
Pk5 B horses: 7,2,9
Potential B add-ins: #6 Makoto (8-1), #3 Chauffer (12-1)
Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R8 (3:41 ET) – 3upfm AOC (62k/N2X) 6 ½ furlongs
Gulfstream has a pair in the sequence that look mighty tough to beat, with the first being #6 LIZA STAR (2-1), a stakes dropper who not only looks best of a modest bunch, but also drew perfectly for her pressing style, as the two confirmed speeds are to her inside and look destined to set her up perfectly.
Pk5 A horses: 6
I’m not using any backups here, since #1 Crumb Bun (4-1) and #3 Cory Gal (5-2) are next-best on paper but look to be involved together in a torrid pace, while #4 Spanish Point (7-2), who could theoretically take advantage, just looks much too slow on figures.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Potential B add-ins: #3 Cory Gal (5-2), #1 Crumb Bun (4-1), #4 Spanish Point (7-2)
Leg 3: Laurel Park R7 (4:30 ET) – 3up Md-bred N1X at about 1 1/16 miles
An inside draw and getting back to two turns could be key for #1 MARYLANDER (6-1), who aired against open SOC runners two-back, and should be sitting close to what looks like a modest pace. If #10 PLOT THE DOTS (3-1) gets loose he’ll be tough, as that chasing 2nd against open N1X foes last time was sharp, and he could well be the controlling speed in what is his two-turn debut. If #9 MY FRIENDS BEER (5-1) can put the GI Arkansas Derby drubbing behind him, then he’s going to hit hard off the two open runs preceding it, though note he was only facing 3yos, so this won’t be easy, especially since he may be at a race flow disadvantage.
Pk5 A horses: 1,10,9
Speaking of a race flow disadvantage, it’s tough to envision #4 CAN’T PASS IT UP (4-1) getting there, as he might not be able to get ahead of a turtle early, though he does figure on paper and McCarthy lands here, so he’s worth a backup slot. It looks like #8 TAP THE MARK (7-2) could be in the same boat, since he’s been far back of late too, though his best race makes him a player here, so he sidles up nicely next to ‘Up.
Pk5 B horses: 4,8
Potential B add-ins: #7 Can He Shine (10-1)
Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R9 (4:49 ET) – 3up 12.5k MCL at 1-mile (turf)
We have our second single, and a much more comfortable one than Liza Star in Leg 2, as #2 LIMETINI (7-5) might lap this field on the drop and perfect draw, as all three of his races win this, and it simply looks like Pletcher is trying to open up a stall for a better one, while taking an easy win in the process.
Pk5 A horses: 2
Limetini is such an overwhelming favorite that there are no backups, especially since arguably the biggest danger, #11 Rags for Britches (9-2) drew terribly, and is 0-for-15 to boot.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Potential B add-ins: #11 Rags for Britches (9-2), #8 Dramatic Kitten (7-2), #3 Power (10-1)
Leg 5: Laurel Park R8 (5:00 ET) – 3upfm 12.5k claimer at 6 furlongs (turf)
If there was a race that might be open for chaos, I think this is it, since a few of these are tough to trust, and it’s possible #6 MARIE FROM PARIS (12-1) gets loose early off the Serey claim, and while she’s been running on the dirt of late, note she does have a few solid turf sprints here showing back in her PPs. It’s obvious #5 CHECKBOUNCIN BILLY (5-2) is the one to beat, as that fast figure 4th against SOC runners off the 10-month layoff last time would win this, and there’s a chance she could even build off that as well. The SOC drop also makes #9 EIFS (9-2) appealing after a good 6th from an impossible draw last time, and he too goes second-off the layoff and off the claim for Capuano.
Pk5 A horses: 6,5,9
You have to respect Magee off the claim (21%), and #4 TANDA’S JOY (3-1) does have some big prior turf races showing, but the dirt run when last seen in January was ugly, and the grass runs were at two turns, so this seems like a bit of a reach, at underlaid odds too. If you like Eifs you have to use #8 PRINCESS KILLMAIN (12-1) as well, since they hit the line together last time, and getting off the rail should help too, but she looks more like a bounce candidate, as that was her fastest run yet.
*** Note that if #12 BATH AND TENNIS (6-1) draws in, she too is a must-use, on either line, depending on your preference and bankroll. ***
Pk5 B horses: 4,8
Potential B add-ins: #1 Bruja Bug (10-1)
Main Ticket: 4,1,10 with 6 with 1,10,9 with 2 with 6,5,9 = $27 (play for $2)
Leg 1 B Backup: 7,2,9 with 6 with 1,10,9 with 2 with 6,5,9 = $27
Leg 3 B Backup: 4,1,10 with 6 with 4,8 with 2 with 6,5,9 = $18
Leg 5 B Backup: 4,1,10 with 6 with 1,10,9 with 2 with 4,8 = $18