Coming off a whopper $12,432 return last Friday, racing’s best bet – the weekly Stronach 5 – returns with another lucrative opportunity. The $1 minimum and low, 12-percent take out work together in producing overlay returns. And don’t forget to play with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET in order to take advantage of the weekly $10 Friday Free Bet offer on the Stronach 5.
Here’s a look at this week’s action as I pinch-hit for Frank Carulli, who returns next week:
LEG A: (Laurel Park, race 8, 4:19 EST) – Part of entry #1 HEARTNESS should be the horse to beat off a third-place allowance finish to next-out $100,000 Private Terms Stakes winner Shake Em Loose. You could single here and may not be wrong to do so. #9 HEFNER, like the top pick, also comes from a high-octane barn and has faced stakes-type sophomores around one turn. #2 THE ADDISON POUR should be a late threat on the scene and lightly raced with perhaps more upside than the other selections to improve.
LEG B: (Laurel Park, race 9, 4:56 EST) – Good options abound here. Spread races to me are those with multiple good horses to choose from, not poor races where you’re grab-bagging among the bottom sorts. #5 STICK IT TO THE MAN rates top choice as protected Maryland-bred won in open company maiden claimer in her debut – often a sign of a good local to follow. #4 BANDITS WARRIOR and #8 FUHGEDDABOUDIT hail from the same Jerry Robb barn and stable pilot Xavier Perez is named on both (perhaps a scratch of one?). #1 MOODY WOMAN won a similar race here two starts back and is in for the optional claiming price now due to already clearing the condition. #2 MISTY MAUVE was beaten favorite vs. similar at a mile and may fire more late at 7 furlongs with the shorter stretch (first wire in play).
LEG C: (Santa Anita, race 3, 5:06 EST) – Since #3 FORE FLAG has been beaten favorite 5 straight times, and #4 STRAUS’S PLACE has never tried turf, there are some likely well-backed horses here to stand against. I’ll do it with #7 SQUARE CAT and #8 OVER REGULATED. Trainer Brian Koriner won with 3 of 4 Santa Anita maiden starters last week and #7 SQUARE CAT has been knocking on the door sprinting. #8 OVER REGULATED has two-turn experience and upside making just his third start.
LEG D: (Gulfstream Park, race 9, 5:16 EST) – In what might be a prototype ‘single or spread’ race, this turf allowance fits the bill. The hot pace should set up for a closer, even if Gulfstream’s lawn plays to speed. #2 FINAL BELLE gets a great set-up, runs second off the layoff for old-school trainer Bill Mott and I love when a horse’s next-to-last workout is the best on the form. She’s well-drawn to rally after saving ground and should be sitting on a big race. If not her, the floodgates are wide open with multiple speed horses that you’re splitting hairs trying to figure out which one survives the pace.
LEG E: (Golden Gate, race 3, 5:25 EST) – The absolute bottom maiden claiming level can be a significant difference from other maiden-claiming levels at any track. The class drop here takes increased influence and #3 TRIBUTE TO JAZZ and #8 CAT LADY BLUES should find the lack of competition most to their liking.
Suggested $1 Ticket
Leg A: 1,9,2
Leg B: 5,4,8,1,2
Leg C: 7,8 / single if either scratches
Leg D: 2 / alternates in case of scratch 8,11
Leg E: 3,8 / alternates in case of scratch 7,6