Wednesday Horse Racing: RT picks 3 races at Florida's Gulfstream Park
Yesterday at Parx in race 9, I was high on #4 Run Casper Run. When the post parade was shown, I saw that he had front wraps on his legs – a sign of tendon trouble. So, I got off him. That was a stark reminder to keep an eye on your selections’ equipment and behavior before the race is run; those are the real tells.
Race 5 - $12K Optional Claimer N1X
Florida breds 3↑ going six furlongs
#1 Soldollie (6/1) #2 R Mercedes Boy (7/5) #5 Gran Casique (7/2) and maybe #4 Feast (8/1) are all front runners, so the pace will be hot. I mention maybe, about Feast, due to his change to second leading jockey Luis Saez. Saez’ strategy may be different with this colt. #2 R Mercedes gets leading rider Paco Lopez up for the Georgina Baxter barn where they’re a 33% tandem. He’s been a big money burner recently going off as the favorite in his last three races, four of his last six and five of his last seven, to only win one of those. #1 Suldolllie changes to Miguel Vasquez for first off the claim trainer Enrique Amado. Amado, who is not exactly on fire these days, is 50% off the claim, which means he’s 1-2. Last race, he scored a six furlong win in 1:10.3, which is two seconds off the track record and that was in a $6.25K claiming race. That is not to say that he’s a Man O’ War in the making, yet for that level, it’s significant. Similarly, #3 Arrivederla (5/1) ran his last at GP West on October 11th in 1:10 flat, just one second off their record, a sharp move for a $10K claimer. #6 First Homestead (8/1) is first off the claim for Jose Delgado (24%) and has twenty five races on this strip, winning four, getting the place in four and hitting the show board in four. He is also 13:3-2-3 for $64K at the distance. #5 Gran Casique comes into this in perfect form having just eclipsed his best Beyer and putting in a bullet work of :47.1 on Dec. 9. Based on the horses coming out of his last, it’s doubtful that he’ll best that last number…although he’s a tough out today.
I’m going to take a shot on two in this race. #4 Feast with Saez and a second helping of Lasix. The interesting one to me is #7 Pro Quality (12/1) who just set the Gulfstream Park West record for 6.5 furlongs, besting R Mercedes Boy. Out of nowhere, he notched a 90 Beyer, and it could be a benchmark, or it could be an outlier. It’s worth the stretch due to that 6.5 second fraction in his last race. We’ll see if Luis Panici keeps him close because of the short stretch run.
Race 8 - $50K Optional Claimer SAL$50K
2yo filles going one mile
A regular who’s who in the equine racing world in this, starting with #3 To a T (5/1) trained by Saffie Joseph, has Tyler Gaffalione aboard. Bet them together and you have a 28% proposition of winning. Debuted on turf in early October, this $100K purchase out of Smart Strike was none too fond of the going. One workout, an entry into a $50K mcl, he hit a slow pace and scored from off that. On Nov. 14, he put in a smart work of :47.4, then a 1:00.2 in mid-month. Ten days ago, he put his final prep in going :50.6. This appears to be a tall order for this colt, however, with these connections, you never know. Next, we have the most reviled jockey on Twitter, Irad Ortiz Jr. riding on Brad Cox’s filly, #4 Yellowstone Girl (5/2) Cox, a 24% winner when stretching horses out, is coming off a near miss versus optional claiming company in mid-November. Three works since and a new rider to perhaps slow her proclivity to go to the front, makes this a dangerous proposition. Yellowstone’s daddy, Exaggerator, won the Haskell, Preakness, Santa Anita Derby and the $1M Delta Downs Jackpot stakes. Stage left is Kathleen O’Connell, having a very un-Kathleen meet to date, not saddling a winner yet after eleven tries. Riding for her today on #8 Terry’s Dream (5/1), who has just broken her maiden on a sloppy GPW track in November, is regular rider Miguel Vasquez. Stage right is Saffie again with #1 Bold Article (4/1) and Edgar Zayas in the irons. This filly out of Constitution broke her maiden at Churchill at the end of September, moved to Keeneland in a $40K N2L claimer; nada, then back to CD for a $30K N2L claimer; zippo, and then scored huge last race in her first route, a $20K N2L claimer. A speed type, she may get overlooked today. Finally, on center stage, we have my choice, #7 Sunny Isle Beach (7/2) a recent claimee for Danny Gargan (47%) from the Wesley Ward barn. Riding this Kitten’s Joy granddaughter is Luis Saez, and they are a 41% combo. On Oct. 13, Sunny made easy work in a $40K claimer race, sitting the rail before swinging out three wide to take the stretch and win going away. She has had three works since and her increase in length will be a benefit as her mom was a distance specialist.
Race 9 - $75K Optional Claimer C
3yo↑ going 7.5F on turf
You can make a case for almost all eleven horses, so here are three that are logical contenders. #1 Olympic Runner (4/1): It appears that Mark Casse is moving his big horses’ way south from Woodbine and this four-year-old has put out the “what could have been” campaign this year, going 7:0-4-1 for $116K. To his credit, he has been beaten by some big names - Silent Poet, Starship Jubilee, March To The Arch, and Pink Lloyd. His best races have been on turf and being a stalker type with a rail trip may not be his best placing. Tyler Gaffalione gets the nod today. #2 Another Miracle (20/1): Three-year-old out of Pioneer Of The Nile had a terrific 2yo campaign, breaking his maiden at Saratoga, winning the Skidmore next out, coming in 5th in the G3 Futurity Stakes and then racing third to Four Wheel Drive and Chimney Rock in the G1 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint. All in all, he went 6-2-1-1 for $218K. What went wrong after that great start? A dirt stakes, a layoff, a poor effort after the bench, more layoff and then brought back this fall. He was gelded in September and his form is improving. It would not surprise to see him make a positive statement here. #4 Social Paranoia (2/1) is going to drop in odds and is the probable winner. What a year it started out for this colt, going 4:2-0-1 for $150K before being benched in July. Almost a millionaire, his earnings of $930K on just 15 starts, dwarfs this field. Todd Pletcher is a master at bringing horses back off a long layoff and with Irad Jr, they should take this.