by Brian Nadeau
July 2, 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: Laurel Park R7 (3:50 ET) – 3upfm 16k N2L at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf)
I’ll try for a small upset with #6 PINS AND NEEDLES (4-1), who had a tough go of it early last time and lost some key early position, but a look at her prior two says she can play with these, and she figures to have a tactical edge on ‘Highway too, not to mention a recency edge as well. I contemplated singling #3 GENNIE HIGHWAY (3-1), who might be better than a really weak bunch, but the fact she hasn’t been out since September is a worry, and now she’s in for a tag too, and both rub me the wrong way, especially since she’ll be overbet too.
Pk5 A horses: 6,3 (listed in order of preference)
Maybe dropping in class and getting back to the turf will wake up #4 JUDI BLUE EYES (4-1), and her turf runs are solid, plus she’ll now run on the grass for the first time for Gonzalez, so she’s going to be my lone B, even though her 13-1-5-1 record is a bit disconcerting.
Pk5 B horses: 4
Potential B add-ins: #3 Sunday Red (12-1), #9 Toma (6-1)
Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R9 – 3upfm AOC (25k/N1X) at 1-mile
I might be trying to be too clever, but I’ll put #8 FREE TO FLY (9-2) on top, since she goes off the claim for Delgado, a 4-for-11 move, and meets a pair who I don’t fully trust, though there’s little doubt she’s going to have to improve several lengths off what is a stiff rise in class. I also sided with her because #5 LIL MISS HOTSHOT (4-1), who is the gal to beat, has been 2nd in three straight, and is just 1-for-10 of late, so while she’s the most likely winner, I have some reservations as well. You also have to think #2 ALIZEE (3-1) will regress in her first start away from Navarro, especially since she rises in class off an off-the-turf win, so even though Doles is 24% with her newcomers, she’s a bit down on the top line for me.
Pk5 A horses: 8,5,2
The tactical speed of #4 SKY CHASER (7-2) makes her playable, and she comes out of a very good race for the level too, plus her overall recent form is sharp, and you’ll get a lot more value than this ML as well, so she’s worth a look as a supporting actress.
Pk5 B horses: 4
Potential B add-ins: #3 Champagne Bliss (8-1)
Leg 3: Laurel Park R8 – 3up allowance at 1-mile
You might not see a deeper, more competitive open allowance in Maryland all year, or maybe even the country, as this heat is that tough, and you could make a case for literally everyone entered. I’m going to get a little cheeky and go with the classy #6 NO DOZING (10-1), who may well have seen better days, but also might be a Lone F, and if you surmise he just didn’t like a sometimes quirky Tampa surface, while knowing he’s never been a two-turn horse either, then his form comes a bit more into focus and puts him in the mix at a price with these. The more likely winner is Maryland stud #8 ALWAYSMINING (3-1), who had no chance against tons better after a rough start last time, but has a class edge on these, and drew a perfect outside attack post at this one-turn mile as well. A September layoff says #7 CORDMAKER (7-2) might be prepping for two turns next time, but he’s too good to not use on the top line, especially since he’s got several one-turn races showing that would win this. I’m a sucker for two-turn types cutting back to one-turn, so I’ll lastly toss in #1a NAME CHANGER (9-2), a classy router and GIII winner that could trip out nicely just off the pace.
Pk5 A horses: 6,8,7,1a
This is a definite rise in class for #3 HARPERS FIRST RIDE (9-2), who aired against better with a big figure last time, but he’s clearly better than ever, and he’ll trip out here too, so he would hardly be a surprise, tougher group and all. A sharper early pace will help #2 JOHN JONES (6-1), who got caught dueling through slow splits at this trip last time but should settle better here, which will put him in the mix off the far turn, while going second-off the layoff too.
Pk5 B horses: 3,2
Potential B add-ins: #9 Honor the Fleet (12-1)
Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R10 – 3up MSW at 1-mile (turf)
Being a fresh new face against a so-so group of proven runners might be the key for #4 MONY (3-1), a first-time Ward runner who was a close 4th on debut in his lone start for Pletcher, and while it came some 15 months ago, there’s a slew of good works showing, for a trainer who is 20% off this elongated break, and 20% with newcomers too. Getting back to the turf should move up #6 JOE BENJAMIN (6-1), and his turf form is best here, as those runs two and three-back would put him right on the line with this group, plus he has plenty of speed too. A clean run would move #7 STRONG HEADED (12-1) way up, as he had a tough start last time, but his prior two were solid, and he has a stalking gear that should put him in the right spot off the far turn.
Pk5 A horses: 4,6,7
The post and connections are the biggest reason to look to #1 SPIN FACTOR (4-1), as he drew perfectly for Maker and Zayas, but there’s not much pedigree here, and this is only a 9% first-turf barn, so tread lightly as well.
Pk5 B horses: 1
Potential B add-ins: #10 Salow (8-1), #8 Unbridled Tizzy (10-1), #9 Mr Matuschek (9-2)
Leg 5: Laurel Park R9 – 3up N1X at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
It looks like put up or shut up time for #1 J BERESFORD TIPTON (2-1), who has been knocking at the door with big figures (for this group) of late, drew best, and, quite frankly faces a group he’s supposed to beat, so he’s the single in the finale, as this just looks like a field he’s got to beat up on.
Pk5 A horses: 1
Both #5 TEN EYCK (9-2) and #4 SPEED GAME (5-1) were close to ‘J last time, so I’ll use them both underneath, but they also have shown their best, so I doubt a breakthrough will be coming today. Getting back to the turf and going second-off a long layoff will help #6 CANNON’S ROAR (5-1), who will be stalking in midpack, and that fast 2nd here in September says he’s not impossible.
* Please note that on the backup tickets I’ll be singling #4 Mony in Leg 4. *
Pk5 B horses: 5,4,6
Potential B add-ins: #8 ARANSAS (6-1)
Main Ticket: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 4,6,7 with 1 = $72
Leg 1 B Backup: 4 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 4,6,7 with 1 = $36
Leg 2 B Backup: 6,3 with 4 with 6,8,7,1a with 4,6,7 with 1 = $24
Leg 3 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 3,2 with 4,6,7 with 1 = $36
Leg 4 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 1 with 1 = $24
Leg 5 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 4 with 5,4,6 = $72