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Weekly Bankroll Builder: February 15 Stronach 5 Picks

by Brian Nadeau

February 14, 2019

Last week’s Stronach 5, which had an increased guaranteed pool of $100,000, easily blew past it and reached almost $200,000, so obviously word is out and interest is building. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and 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: Gulfstream Park R8 (4:10 ET) – 4upfm Florida-bred AOC at 6 furlongs

The opener is filled with speed (take note of the track condition as well, as there’s been heavy rains in the area all week), so I’ll look for the stalkers who have shown they can pass horses late. An alert beginning would help the chances of #7 R TRUE TALENT (6-1), who blew the start last time and didn’t fire off the long break but should improve mightily off that tightener, and this outside attack post will help too. An outside stalking trip seems in line for #6 QUEEN NEKIA (6-1) as well, and she showed she fits on the local circuit when 2nd to a rousing winner last time, while well clear of a next-out winner too. Lastly, I’ll go inside to #1 HELLO JULIET (7-2), who is a bit tougher to trust but really woke up in the mud when 2nd last time and has run well on dry land before, so she too is in the mix from close range.

Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 7,6,1

It’s important to check the scratches, since if one of the two B’s scratches it will really elevate the chances of the other, and move them to the A-line. The fact that #5 THERE GOES BELLA (3-1) is drawn outside #3 THREAT (4-1) gives her a big edge, as both gals want to go early, and the former wired by the length of the stretch last time, while the latter set a hot pace and held 3rd. I’m also tossing in #8 FLORA FANTASY (8-1), who has been nibbling of late and has no speed, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in here.

Pk5 B horses: 5,3,8

Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (4:35 ET) – 4up allowance at 7 furlongs

The prospect of an honest pace would set up #7 COUSIN JIMMY (6-1), who rises in class off a restricted local win last time but fits nicely on figures and will enjoy the race flow. The same can be said with the wildcard, #2 AUTOSTRADE (5-2), who hasn’t been out since July, returns as a first-time gelding, and makes his first start for Motion, but showed high promise in four starts last year and wins this if he’s ready for a barn that is a big 25% off this kind of extended layoff.

Pk5 A horses: 7,2

It would be a bit too bold to toss #4 WON AND DONE (3-1), since he brings big form from Parx for Gonzalez, who is 25% on the year, but the gut says he’ll face some other pace pressure, so wiring this tougher group might be a bit much to ask, hence his spot on the second rung.

Pk5 B horses: 4

Leg 3: Santa Anita R4 (5:00 ET) – 4upfm 16k MCL at 5 � furlongs

The ML doesn’t make sense in this race, so I’m not sure how “bold” my single of #6 SECRET OFFER is, since she can’t possibly be 5-1 off her return from 361 days on the shelf, when a close 6th in her dirt debut, against much better than she meets here, especially since she should only improve off that and meets an extremely weak crew.

Pk5 A horses: 6

Not only am I quite confident in my single, I can’t justify using anyone else in here, especially since I like to keep these tickets on a relatively modest budget. Case in point, #1 Sweetener (3-1) will have to run hard every step of the way and meets speed to her outside, so she looks vulnerable at short odds (though she’d be my first B); #4 Crackling Bread (7-2) could be sitting just off the pace with the blinkers going on, but why would today be the day for a breakthrough after 14 losses and seven underneath finishes; #5 Factorize (5-2) hasn’t been out since 8/17, has a high of a 33 Beyer in two dirt starts, and Miller rides 7-pound apprentice Diaz, who has not ridden in the afternoon all year; lastly, #7 Gio Pronto (7-2), who cost 2k way back in 2015, debuts for 16k for Baltas, who is a somewhat unbelievable 1-for-41 with firsters. So yeah, suddenly Secret Offer is looking a lot better (albeit at half of that 5-1 ML).

Pk5 B horses: NONE

Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R11 (5:42 ET) – 4up 12.5k MCL at 5  furlongs

The second single in the sequence is #11 ACCOUNTANT Q (4-1), who got run off his feet when 6th on the turf last time but wins this with either of is last two dirt races, drew perfectly, and meets a crew filled with question marks and lifetime refusers.

Pk5 A horses: 11

I don’t like using an abundance of B’s when I have a single, as they can make the ticket go up exponentially, so I’m only going with #2 STARSHIP TAXI (9-2), since he chased and tired behind ‘Q last time, in what was his first start since April, when he ran twice against MSW fields on the dirt. If you want more food for thought, then #1 Vaughan (5-1) will close late, though he’s never tried the dirt and is 0-for-18 lifetime and #8 Dr Dudley (8-1) was a much-improved 2nd last time and would be a player if he doesn’t regress.

Pk5 B horses: 2

Leg 5: Golden Gate Fields R5 (5:53 ET) – 4upfm allowance at 1-mile

Tough sledding in the finale, as it’s wide open with no clear-cut favorite, but it does have pace, which is why I’m looking for this to fall into the lap of the stalker/closers late. My top pick is #1 ZIARAH (8-1), who drew perfectly, has been 3rd sprinting in both US starts, and should save all the ground on the stretchout for Badilla, who is 4-for-11 sprint-to-route. A more energetic pace will help #2 GETTING SIDEWAYS (6-1), who closed late to get 3rd behind a slow pace when returning to two turns, as well as #9 RENNY’S LADY (8-1), who was just a half-length back in 4th, in what was her US debut, first start since June, and first start for Badilla as well. We round out the quartet with #5 MUSIC BABE (4-1), who doubled up in very fast time over 12.5k starter-allowance gals last time and doesn’t seem outgunned on the rise.

Pk5 A horses: 1,2,9,5

If someone is going to survive a pace battle it might be #6 OF NOTE (7-2), an easy winner for 20k last time who now goes off the claim for Rivelli, but improving off Herbertson (27%) isn’t easy, and this is a rise in class for a gal who catches speed on both sides. 

Pk5 B horses: 6

The tickets:

Main Ticket: 7,6,1 with 7,2 with 6 with 11 with 1,2,9,5 = $24
Leg 1 B Backup: 5,3,8 with 7,2 with 6 with 11 with 1,2,9,5 = $24
Leg 2 B Backup: 7,6,1 with 4 with 6 with 11 with 1,2,9,5 = $12
Leg 4 B Backup: 7,6,1 with 7,2 with 6 with 2 with 1,2,9,5 = $24
Leg 5 B Backup: 7,6,1 with 7,2 with 6 with 11 with 6 = $6