Horse Racing
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Thoroughbreds

Horse Racing: Wednesday Garrity goes to Gulfstream

The 2nd race has a seemingly unbeatable horse with a lot of red flags

Chris Garrity

We’re going to keep chasing the warm weather here: with a pair of winter storms set to sucker-punch the Northeast over the next few days, we’re going to drop in on Hallandale Beach, Florida, and take a stab at at the card at Gulfstream Park. We’ve had a run of tough beats lately, but one of the 10 Commandments of the Degenerate Handicapper’s bible is that one cannot let bad beats to discourage one. So we’ll dust ourselves off, get back on the horse, and try to find some winners.

There’s a 10-race card down in South Florida, and, as usual, it’s a nice mix of appealing races. We’re going to use one of them to illustrate a fundamental handicapping precept: the negative training angle.

The 2nd race is a 5 ½-furlong, $30,000 conditioned claimer (non-winners of two races lifetime) for older fillies and mares on the main track (i.e. dirt). There’s a field of six.

The hot morning line favorite is 1- R Kiss Em Goodbye, at 9/5. And a cursory look at the past performances shows why: In November, she won her maiden race by 10 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Park West, earning a big (71) Beyer Speed Figure in the process. If she runs back to that number, she’s going to be awfully hard to beat.

But there’s something in that race record that should give a serious horseplayer a pause: if she’s that good, what is she doing in this race? One would think that she would be placed at a higher level; the fact that she is not is concerning, a real negative sign. Moreover, she has a new trainer, Georgina Baxter, who is ice cold: she’s 0-for-19 at the current Gulfstream meeting. We’ll take a pass on taking 9/5 on a horse with this many red flags.

We like 5- Nocturnal Mission. She’s in good form, gets the services of top jockey Javier Castellano, and, perhaps most importantly, she draws outside her two main rivals. We think she gets a good stalking trip from the 5 hole, and overtakes the field at the top of the stretch. We’ll take her 5/2 odds, and bet $30 on her to win.

That’s the only play today. We’ll be back here again tomorrow. Until then, good luck at the windows.

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