Tiz the Law wins the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
Tiz the Law wins the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. |Lauren King/Coglianese Photos, Gulfstream Park via Associated Press
Thoroughbreds

Bet the horses! Garrity picks races at Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream Park, and Oaklawn Park — including the $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes

In a quirk, all six of our featured races today are dirt sprints, and we expect fast dirt for all six of them. Let’s go.

Chris Garrity

The current Oaklawn Park meet has been tremendous, perhaps their best ever, an asset both to the sport and to the country. The good folks in Hot Springs, Arkansas have provided some high-quality stuff to a nation starved for action, both sporting and wagering. That trend continues today, as Oaklawn runs two stakes, both at six furlongs and both for state-breds. We will take a look at three races from Oaklawn, including both stakes, with some races from Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs as well. It’s a Friday six pack, with all six races going within a window of just over two hours.

In a quirk, all six of our featured races today are dirt sprints, and we expect fast dirt for all six of them. Let’s go.

Gulfstream Park, Race 6, 3:43 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

This second-level allowance dirt sprint drew a field of eight. Favored 6-Sniper Shot is a strong play: this Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old son of Shackleton has three career starts, won two of them, and lost the second by a nose. He has high speed, which plays well on a Gulfstream dirt surface that has been favoring speed in recent days, but he is not a one-way frontrunner, as he proved in his last race, which he won by stalking the pace. We think he is going to improve off that race today, and that means that the rest of the field is running strictly for second money. We will bet him to win at 6/5. This is not a play that will make anyone rich, but it’s always nice to start the day by cashing a ticket. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 6, $40 to win on 6-Sniper Shot.

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 8, 3:58 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

This is a dirt sprint, and first-level allowance, for older horses. It drew a field of nine. We like the horse on the outside, 9-Town Classic, who’s trained by Gerald Bennett. He’s a hard-knocking 7-year-old gelding who is admirably consistent, having run three very good races since Bennett claimed him in February. We think a similar result today will be enough to win this race, especially since he gets the tactical advantage of an outside post position. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Tampa Bay Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 9-Town Classic.

Oaklawn Park, Race 5, 4:06 pm ET

$100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Arkansas-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies

The Rainbow Miss drew a good field of eight sophomore fillies. 6-Proud Victoria is a strong play: there’s a lot of speed in the field, but not much stamina, and we think this girl will be ideally positioned to pass the tiring pacesetters late. Look for her to sit midpack, and to seize control of the race with a strong stretch move. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 5, $40 to win on 6-Proud Victoria.

Gulfstream Park, Race 9, 5:17 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

Ten older horses drew into this race, which is another allowance for non-winners of two races other than maiden or claiming. We’re all over the favorite, 6-Fortin Hill, who starts for trainer Chad Brown. He’s a 4-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man who won both of his career starts, and did so impressively, earning lofty speed figures in the process. Those races were last year, so he’s coming off a long layoff, having last raced at Belmont Park in June. But if he’s right, he’s strictly the horse to beat. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 6-Fortin Hill.

Oaklawn Park, Race 8, 5:38 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

Twelve go in this first-level allowance. There are some blazingly fast horses among them, multiple need-the-lead types who are virtually certain to set an unsustainably fast pace. We’re looking for an off-the-pace runner, and the one we like is 6-Puttheglassdown. He comes into this race after a brief layoff, having last run at Laurel Park in February, but we think he will be ready to fire today, and we also expect the race shape to favor his running style. Look for him to be in the middle of the pack early and moving late. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 8, $30 to win on 6-Puttheglassdown.

Oaklawn Park, Race 9, 6:09 pm ET

$100,000 Rainbow Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Arkansas-bred 3-Year-Olds

The Rainbow, for state-bred 3-year-old colts, drew a field of ten. The favorite is 10-Zaino Boyz, who is 8/5 on the morning line off a fast win in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on March 14. He’s a speedy colt, and his outside post is tactically ideal, but his races prior to that allowance score were pedestrian, and we are reluctant to back him off only one good race, especially at a short price. He looks like an underlay to us, and rule number one in this game is always to bet against the underlay.

We like 4-Implicator, who starts for trainer Ron Moquett. He has not yet run as fast as some of the other colts in the field, but he has shown a nice progression in his three career starts, with each race better than the last. Extrapolating that trend makes him competitive in this race, and we also like his late-pace numbers, as this is another race that looks to have a very hot early pace. We will wager that Implicator can pick up the pieces late: he’s a gray and look for him to be making up ground down the stretch. We will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $35 to win on 4-Implicator.

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