The New Year's Eve party will start early for horseplayers, who have the Stronach 5 on the Friday menu. The $1 wager covers three tracks and five races from coast to coast, all in a one-hour afternoon time frame. Here's an early look at the action, with an update to follow after scratches Friday morning:
LEG A: (Laurel Park, race 8, 3:50 EST) -- VENEZUELA ranged up in-hand, dueled with winning favorite Boss Logic (4-9, $97k) and drifted out badly in the stretch to finish second. ARMANDO R rallied to win three of his last six starts at this distance and steps up off the claim. RATIFY, 6/3-2-0 during a $107k sophomore season, returns off a long layoff for high-percentage connections.
LEG B: (Gulfstream Park, race 8, 4:07 EST) -- MISS AURAMET held sway under demanding fractions to win off a 4-month layoff and will take some catching again today. MISS J MCKAY, anxious while saving ground to the stretch, split rivals in the final sixteenth and edged clear of the pace setter.
LEG C: (Laurel Park, race 9, 4:22 EST) -- Going 4-deep in this leg of the ticket. DEVILISH AFFAIR runs for the cheapest tag of her career and gets plenty of pace to rally into. R AVERIE LYNN dueled through solid fractions and faded to third off the claim but could go the distance on the class drop. EXACT burned money in her last three starts out of town, now tries a longer sprint. MAVILUS dueled and held second at one mile in her last two starts.
LEG D: (Santa Anita, race 3, 4:40 EST) -- ALL DIALED IN trailed nearing the Los Alamitos stretch but closed with a flourish for third in a well-bet debut. The extra half-furlong today could make the difference. SELF ISOLATION sat a good trip off the dueling leaders, appeared to make a winning 3-wide bid but raced erratically in the lane, costing her victory in the same race.
LEG E: (Golden Gate, race 3, 4:45 EST) -- TRAFFIC STOPPER led through the turn in her turf debut but couldn't fend off the odds-on favorite. She can make good use of her speed in this spot on the return to the main track. LIAM'S SECRET chased the 7-to-5 favorite and held second in a 6F sprint two starts back at this level. The pace was comparable to a 5-1/2F sprint for $16,000 boys earlier on the card.
Suggested $1 Ticket
Leg A: 2, 6, 9
Leg B: 5, 7
Leg C: 1, 2, 3, 9
Leg D: 2, 3
Leg E: 2, 6