Thursday at the track: RT goes to Gulfstream Park to pick a pair of races
Crystalle, shown here racing at Saratoga in 2019, is RT's pick to win the 8th at Gulfstream Park todayElsa Lorieul | NYRA

Thursday at the track: RT goes to Gulfstream Park to pick a pair of races

The first picked race, the 8th at Gulfstream Park, has a post time of 4:11 pm EST

Gulfstream Park Race 8 - $25K Optional Claimers N1X

Fillies and mares 3yo↑ running 8.5 panels

#1 New York Girl (6/1) is the mystery entry in this. As a 2yo, she was entered into an open maiden race, lost, then graduated next time in a $74K Group 3 event at 7F on soft turf. Benched for 8.5 months, she returned to action in June in a $281K Group 1 event and has been facing similar company since – and has yet to hit the board in any. This filly is bred to go long, so this distance may be suitable yet there are no resources available to me to determine how she will run. Meanwhile, Bill Mott is 20% with first timers, the #1 post position in turf routes has been the best this far at 15%, and he’s 17% with Junior Alvarado. I will use her underneath. #10 Extra Effort (10/1) ran one race on turf and had a solid outing; getting up for third in a $75K allowance at Churchill. She most certainly will vie for the lead today and it is doubtful she will hold it. #2 Osaka Girl (4/1) Brian Lynch/Junior Ortiz have won half of their races in four tries thus far. She had a three month respite and in her last race, the first one back, it was the first time she did not hit the board. She is 4:1-1-0 for $40K and 3:1-1-0 for $36K at GP turf. She just put in a slow 4f work and with her new jockey, perhaps he will take a different approach other than hitting the front straight away. #7 Coconut Grove (9/2) Woodbine shipper who changed barns from stud trainer Kevin Attard to stud trainer Todd Pletcher (24% with first timers), she broke her maiden in her last and her works since have been good, including 5f in 1:00 flat. She is a late flyer and Pletcher/Luis both en fuego, hitting 23% together. #6 Beam Of Light (3/1) Trombetta barn chilly of late with only a 5% win rate. This Candy Ride filly may be the bright spot in his barn. Her GP record of 2:0-1-1 for $13K and her first off the layoff race three weeks ago, was an encouraging omen, where she went three wide on the turn, took the lead and hung tough for second. She will face tougher today and is coming around after being in the Navarro ether.

I am going with #9 Crystalle (5/1) she started off successfully on the east coast breaking her maiden at first asking at Saratoga, went on to win her next, a $100K stakes, and followed that up with a sharp closing effort, getting up for second in the G2 Miss Grillo. Her next trip was to Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly and she caught a bad break and did not make a dent. Benched for the better part of a year, she was brought back to Belmont and never was a factor. In her last, she chased a buzzsaw named Duopoly who, as you know, just won the G1 American Oaks from gate to wire. Today, in her third off the layoff, she faces the easiest company thus far in her career and will be a late charger.

Gulfstream Park Race 9 - $62K Optional Claimers/C

3yo’s↑ running one mile

#1 Mexican Wonder Boy (9/2) was in my virtual stable after Gargan claimed him for $40K on 10/08. He must have scratched him three or four times at various tracks before finally bringing him to GP after two months. In his last, he sprinted to the lead, set the pace, and tired late, getting caught and hung on for a 4th place reader. Today, he is the only horse in for a tag and normally, that would be a negative, however, if someone grabs him, the connections will have made a few shekels. The one to catch. #7 Famished (8/1) Aqueduct shipper has had two strong works since his last. Today, he faces similar company and maybe the change of climate will get him back to the hopeful that he was this spring/summer. He has been a good earner, covering about $11K per race in his short career. #6 Soldado (5/2) is going to take big money today as Pletcher/Saez 22% together, Pletcher storied with horses off a layoff and his record of racing at GP of 5:3-0-1 for $85K is excellent. Today, he will be against it as two classy horses are entered - #4 Everfast (3/1) and #3 Garter And Tie (4/1). Everfast a 4yo colt still, is out of AP Indy and has earned $632K in 23 races in his career. Unfortunately, he has been a money burn for win players because he has only won 8% of those races to wit: 2. He faces similar company as last today, has a closing kick to make this interesting, and is coming into form.

With earnings of $437K on 19 races at Gulfstream, Garter And Tie is my choice. Edgar Zayas is on fire lately and he has ridden this colt at both GP and GPW with efficiency. On December 23rd, he put in a bullet work of 1:00.6, so he’s tanned, rested and ready to go.

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