It’s horse racing’s version of March Madness with five races nationwide in a little more than an hour. The Stronach 5 only costs $1 to play and, last week, returned $5,642 with all five winners at 5-1 odds or less. Here’s a look at this week’s action, with an update to follow Friday after scratches:
LEG A: (Laurel Park, race 9, 4:50 EST) -- With several well-prepped, first-time starters, class-dropping speedball QUEEN CADENCE and debut runner-up SMART EULEE in the field, go deep in the opening leg.
LEG B: (Santa Anita, race 3, 5:06 EST) -- BARNFIELD, no factor in his debut on the grass, projects an ideal stalking trip for the Sadler barn that is 28 percent with second-time starters, 36 percent on the drop into a maiden claimer and 20 percent with blinkers added. FLINTMORE exited a double-key race, pressed the even-money winner through fast fractions around the turn and weakened in the final furlong in MSW company. SETTECENTO shows a good work tab since an improved second start at one mile on the main track and the race produced a next-out, 15-1 upset winner.
LEG C: (Gulfstream Park, race 9, 5:16 EST) -- WORA lost all chance at the start in his seasonal debut against three-peat winner Sayyaf (8-20, $327k). He rallied for second in a pair of 5F grass sprints at Gulfstream early last year and is reunited with Irad Ortiz, who was aboard for both. T. WALTZ is a viable price play returning to her maiden-breaking surface. She rallied to finish third off a nine-month layoff in a weaker field than today, gave way to a pair of next-out winners on the synthetic track two back, then ‘folded’ after fractious behavior in a long sprint on dirt. TAPE TO TAPE ran away from then 0-for-14 Proud Contender two starts back, then got used hard in a duel before the odds-on favorite passed by last out. He will be an underlay in his first turf start but can’t be ignored.
LEG D: (Laurel Park, race 11, 5:51 EST) -- VINNY showed improved speed with blinkers, was no match for the 6-1 winner at 6F, but remains a threat to carry it farther off the claim by Robb. He is today’s solo play.
LEG E: (Golden Gate, race 3, 5:59 EST) -- WHAT UP NOW J T wheels back on short rest for a 27-percent ‘repeat’ barn after she sat a perfect trip off of dueling longshots, bid to a clear mid-stretch lead and held safe to win at today’s distance. ELGOFRANCO enters a new barn for her third start this year and must be respected if she can recapture her best form on the class drop.
Suggested $1 Ticket
Leg A: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9
Leg B: 2, 4, 7
Leg C: 2, 5, 8
Leg D: 9
Leg E: 6, 7