Five sprint races, including the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial featuring multiple graded stakes-placed Double Crown and nine-time stakes winner Whereshetoldmetogo, comprise Friday’s Stronach 5.
The popular wager with a low 12-percent takeout begins at 3:32 ET at Laurel Park and will conclude at Golden Gate Fields at 4:48 ET.
Laurel’s seventh race will kick off the sequence, a $40,000 waiver claiming event for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs. The tepid 3-1 favorite is Lael Stable’s Hand Gesture, who will break from post 11 after finishing third in his debut at 5 ½ furlongs earlier this month at Laurel. The son of Diving Rod will have Mychel Sanchez riding. Mugsy Malone, trained by Gary Contessa, goes out after a third-place finish last time out at Delaware. Baton goes first time out after being claimed at Keeneland for $50,000 by Michael Pino. Highland Dream is a first-time starter leaving from the rail for trainer James Lawrence and jockey Victor Carrasco.
The Stronach 5 stays at Laurel for the second leg, the $75,000 Bender Memorial at seven furlongs. Whereshetoldmetogo is the 3-1 favorite. The Brittany Russell-trained 6-year-old has won five of seven races at Laurel and is three for five at the distance. The son of El Padrino won the New Castel at Delaware last out. Jevian Toledo has the mount. Double Crown placed in last year’s Chick Lang (G3) and Smile Sprint (G3) and was fifth in this summer’s Smile. The 4-year-old finished second last time out in the Maryland Million Sprint. Air Token, the winner of the sprint at odds of 7-1, also returns in the Bender. Multiple stakes winner Alwaysmining will break from the rail for trainer Cathal Lynch.
The third leg of the sequence will be Golden Gate’s second race, a claiming event at 5 ½ furlongs for fillies and mares. Miss Ski goes out first time off the claim for trainer Jonathan Wong after winning against similar earlier this month. Lyrically Violent returned from a near year layoff to win earlier this month for trainer Bill McLean, who will also saddle Lacey’s Rainbow.
The Stronach 5 returns to Laurel for Race 9, another $40,000 maiden waiver event for 2-year-olds. Royal Spy, second in his debut Nov. 6 for trainer Linda Albert, is the 9-5 favorite. Lacey Gaudet saddles Free Square, who cuts back in distance after finishing third last time out around two turns. Wired In makes his debut breaking from the rail for trainer Mary Eppler.
Golden Gate’s third race serves as the conclusion to the Stronach 5. Maiden claimers 3-year-old and up will go six furlongs. Mystic Traveler and Mr Botanicals enter off second-place finishes last time out against similar while Union Bliss drops a bit in company while hoping the eighth start is the charm to break your maiden.
Friday’s races and sequence
Leg One –Laurel Race 7: (11 entries, 7 furlongs) 3:22 ET, 12:22 PT
Leg Two –Laurel Race 8: (10 entries, 7 furlongs) 3:53 ET, 12:53 PT
Leg Three – Golden Gate Race 2: (7 entries, 5 ½ furlongs) 4:18 ET, 1:18 PT
Leg Four – Laurel Race 9: (11 entries, 7 furlongs) 4:25 ET, 1:25 PT
Leg Five –Golden Gate Race 3: (11 entries, 6 furlong) 4:48 ET, 1:48 PT
Fans can watch and wager on the action at 1/ST.COM/BET as well as stream all the action in English and Spanish at LaurelPark.com, SantaAnita.com, GulfstreamPark.com, and GoldenGateFields.com.
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
If a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5.
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