Form finally held in the Stronach 5 with a season-low $1,756 payout for a winning $1 ticket when the cross-country wager was offered February 25. But keep in mind the three previous installments featured a $29,000 average payout and winning horses that paid $30.40, $31.80, $39.40 and $67.60, respectively. Here's an early look at this week’s action, with an update to follow Friday after scratches:
LEG A: (Laurel Park, race 8, 4:24 EST) -- Go deep in a difficult opening leg. LOST MY VOWCHER was away last, checked nearing the final turn and rallied 5-wide to finish second. BAHAMA CHANNEL was 4-wide on the first turn and advancing on the second turn before he flattened out in the same race at 1-1/16 miles. TITAN’S WILL finished ahead of both runners, is proven at the distance and has a tactical edge in a race that lacks pace. LUDICROUS MODE has improved since the claim and should benefit from the added ground, but he can’t seem to avoid slow starts and very wide trips. UNION LEADER rallied to win 3 of his last 6 starts in California, all going a route of ground. He arrives off a cross-country journey with an 8/3-2-1 record on conventional dirt.
LEG B: (Santa Anita, race 3, 4:30 EST) -- INCREASE STAKES dueled inside and shook clear to break her maiden at 6F on the turf, now lands in a pace-controlling spot from the outside. YOUTE overcame a slow start and wide trip to beat Increase Stakes in a long sprint and will get deserved attention with Prat aboard for the first time. SQUARED SHADY sandwiched a series of fast workouts between back-to-back winning rallies on the Golden Gate all-weather surface and she has a 7/1-2-0 record on the Santa Anita turf to run back to.
LEG C: (Gulfstream Park, race 8, 4:37 EST) -- CAPTURINI chased a loose leader through fast fractions, took over in early stretch and beat a suspect field easily despite drifting a bit in the stretch. She arrives in top form for new trainer Claudio Gonzalez, who is far better than his 0-17 record at the meet and 17-percent win rate off the claim suggests. Let’s try her as today’s solo play.
LEG D: (Golden Gate, race 3, 4:47 EST) -- The last 10 times a race from Golden Gate has been a part of the sequence, four winners paid between $30 and $97, all fueling lucrative five-figure payouts. This race fits the mold, with class droppers, recent claims, layoff horses and a field of nine that is a combined 9-for-114, so include several runners on the ticket.
LEG E: (Gulfstream Park, race 9, 5:08 EST) -- SANURA, a daughter of Kitten’s Joy, can be excused for her one-mile debut on the turf when she broke slowly from post 11 and never threatened. She chased the 5-to-2 winner in a follow-up route on the all-weather track, when she shifted 4-wide near the top of the stretch ‘stayed on with good response’ to finish ahead of two next-out winners. WATCH IT showed promise with a 4-wide rally from post 9 to finish second in her turf-to-main track debut. Her dam was a Grade III winner in Ireland.
Suggested $1 Ticket
Leg A: 2, 3, 5, 8, 9
Leg B: 1, 5, 6
Leg C: 1
Leg D: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
Leg E: 4, 6