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God's Tipster's Saturday Gulfstream Park and Fair Grounds Picks: 7 races with the Royal Delta, Risen Star

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Friday’s Race Recap from Gulfstream:

(All odds US)

Replays for yesterday’s races from Gulfstream can be found here at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park:

Race 1: 2nd@ 18.70/1

Race 2: 6th@ 3.80/1

Race 9: 2nd@ 0.50/1

In Race 1, Impetuous Soul was 31/1 when they loaded into the gate and dropped to 18/1 when they sprung the latch. He raced well back off the speed and came with a nice run for second without ever threatening the winner. Hopefully some of our members keyed him in exactas and trifectas. In Race 2, Vanishing Interest wasn’t sent early and never mounted a serious bid in his turf debut. In Race 9 the world was on West Bank as she got bet down from her 7/5 morning line to 1/2. She was perfectly positioned turning for home, took the lead in midstretch but allowed her rival Jellicle Katz to battle back on the inside and beat her by a nose. That looked like a textbook difference between a horse wearing blinkers (winner) and one not.

Two second place finishes from three selections on the day. One at 18/1 and one got beat for top honors by a dirty nose.

We are heading back to Gulfstream for Saturday’s races with a quick detour to the Fair Grounds for (Grade 2) Risen Star Day. Fast and firm conditions are expected at both locations. Let’s get started!

Saturday at Gulfstream Park:

Race 4: Ticking - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)

There’s very little chance this runner is 8/1 by post time here in the U.S. This is a bad morning line so if our UK members can lock in those odds with your bookmakers, do it! Maiden optional claimers sprint 7 furlongs here and we have a pretty modest-looking group of three-year-olds somewhere between maidens and maiden claiming type. Ticking returns off a July layoff after being bet down to 9/5 favoritism in his debut. This $675k son of Bolt d’Oro worked bullets leading up to that debut effort and flashed good early speed before getting blasted by an eleven length winner. He’s working bullets once again and this barn wins with 20% of their second time starters and 25% of runners coming off similar layoffs. He’s getting Lasix today which might help keep him in the game longer. These connections debuted this one’s half brother, Klugman, last winter. He also lost his debut effort before decimating rivals to win by 13 in his next start. He won two of his next four after that. This runner is bred to be fast and offers value at anything 3/1 or higher.

Race 8: Mondego - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)

Three-year-old maidens go a mile and an eighth on turf here and in Clement we trust. Trainer Christophe Clement’s turf runners have been running out of their skin at Gulfstream this meet. Clement has won 21% of the turf races he’s run in at Gulfstream in the last five years. With debut runners in turf routes he’s an underrated 17% with an average payoff of $16.20. About a month ago he debuted a runner named Far Bridge who ran a wicked 88 speed figure in his debut race. This runner had been working with that one in December and has a similar work pattern to that one. Clement is 3 for 6 at this Gulfstream meet with debut runners on turf in the last 90 days. It’s never easy to win a route race on turf in a debut effort, Clement is one of only a handful I’d trust to get the job done.

Race 11: Kathleen O. - 1 pt win - (US Morning Line Odds: 7/5)

The Grade 3 Royal Delta at a mile and a sixteenth is a rematch of last year’s Grade 2 Davona Dale between Classy Edition and Kathleen O. That time Kathleen O. proved much the best as the favorite. They’re a year older and take on a few new faces but Kathleen O. still looks very much the one to beat. Last time out Kathleen O. made her return running for the first time since May’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks where she ran a fine race. In her return effort she was well behind a loose leader setting a slow pace and came up 1/2 length short. She’s 3 for 3 here at Gulfstream and is 1 for 1 at today’s distance. She’s had a plethora of workouts since that last start in November and should have no excuses today.

Saturday at Fair Grounds:

Race 2: Persimmon Hill - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)

Three-year-old maidens race a mile and a sixteenth on the main track to kick off our day at Fair Grounds. We’ve got a field of 8 runners and I’m siding with the debuting Persimmon Hill from the barn of Ken McPeek. McPeek is a pretty unique trainer. He’s excellent at getting his two-year-olds to run a route of ground first time out. He wins in streaks and when he goes bad, give him a wide berth because he goes really bad. He’s winning at a 21% clip right now and Persimmon Hill is one of two McPeek debut runners I am siding with today. Her Jan. 25 work matches up with recent runners: He’s Got Swagger (a fast closing second in his turf debut) and Seeking Unity (a game second in his second career start). McPeek and jockey David Cohen are 3 for 10 this year so far.

Race 7: Neighbor - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)

We’re going with streaky McPeek today and just like his debut runner in Race 2, Neighbor worked 5 furlongs on the same Jan. 25 worktab as Persimmon Hill, He’s Got Swagger (a fast closing second in his turf debut) and Seeking Unity (a game second in his second career start). Neighbor has several sharp looking 5 furlong drills (my favorite!) since then too. Jockey Brian Hernandez is McPeek’s top go-to rider and is winning at a 23% clip at this meet. Don’t underestimate at 8/1 odds or higher.

Race 10: Happy American - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)

The Grade 3 Mineshaft came up a salty race with an evenly matched looking field of 9 lining up. We had Happy American last time when he ran in an almost identical race just about a month ago. That was the Grade 3 Louisiana which was also at a mile and a sixteenth. That day he chased a slow pace and kicked it into overdrive in the stretch to win by a neck. Today we’ve got a lot more speed signed on and once again I expect him to be rolling late. Trainer Neil Pessin (29% wins at this meet) generally keeps his good horses going well for a while (Bell’s the One comes to mind). Should get plenty of pace and just needs the right trip.

Race 13: Tapit’s Conquest - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)

The Grade 2 Risen Star for three-year-olds at a mile and an eighth on the main track will give the winner a free ticket to the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby in May. We have a full field of 14 runners and there are some awfully good looking runners in here. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a handful of these in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. Tapit’s Conquest is my selection. He’s one of two (very) early selections for the Kentucky Derby (the other being Tapit Trice) but he’ll have to overcome some hurdles first. In his debut race he took on more experienced rivals and almost upset that field at Saratoga while sprinting. Sired by Tapit, the expectation is that he’d improve with added ground and he did just that in his second start where he was wiped out on the first turn and still won - as easy as you please - while striding out powerfully to win by nearly four lengths. He was given some time off before returning a few weeks ago here. That day he chased a dawdling pace and got hampered down on the rail. He had to shift a few times in the stretch and still almost ended up winning. 43% winning trainer Brad Cox with 34% winning rider - Florent Geroux look locked and loaded here with a workout on Feb. 11 that matches stablemate Victory Formation. He’ll need some pace ahead of him and if he gets it he’ll be plenty tough. I’m not a trifecta player - I only bet win but the other two I like here are Crupi (15/1) and Silver Heist (12/1) for those exotics bettors.

Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s races from around the U.S.!

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