God's Tipster's Saturday Horse Racing Picks: 5 races at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn
Friday’s Race Recap from Gulfstream:
(All odds US)
Replays for Friday’s races from Gulfstream can be found here:
Race 1: 2nd@ 8.20/1
Race 2: 3rd@ 3.50/1
Race 6: 4th@ 0.80/1
In Race 1, Grey Princess checked between horses early but rated well beneath jockey Miguel Vasquez. She made her move turning for home and opened daylight on the field in mid-stretch before getting run down in the shadow of the wire by Reconnecting. We had to settle for second. In Race 2 Shes All Woman battled early then took back and had dead aim on the leader turning for home but the fast early fractions left them sitting ducks for Rose E Holiday who swept by them all for the win. In Race 6, Soupersilverdollar looked like a shoo-in as the 4/5 choice but sometimes I feel like trainer Mark freakin Casse could lose a one horse race. His charge could do no better than 4th.
A second a third and a fourth from three picks as we head into the weekend.
We are going to spend most of our time at Gulfstream on Saturday with a quick detour to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas for the Grade 2 Rebel. I’m expecting fast and firm conditions beneath sunny skies at Gulfstream and rainy, sloppy weather once again at Oaklawn. Let’s get to it!
Saturday at Gulfstream Park:
Race 8: Ghost Giant - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1
Allowance/Optional claimers sprint 7 1/2 furlongs on turf here. The morning line favorites have similar running styles and I prefer the more seasoned Ghost Giant in this spot where he’s likely to get overlooked. Going back just four to six months, though, he owns several races that would be good enough to win this and he has the ability to rally from off the pace. Trained by an unknown trainer, Jennifer Young, and ridden by local rider Luca Panici, Ghost Giant will be every bit of his 15/1 morning line. He was claimed from a November race at Aqueduct and was then brought south to Gulfstream where he faced a similar field. Then he tried polytrack which didn’t work out. Not only does Ghost Giant own the top speed figure for this group at today’s distance (they technically lump 1 mile races into these stats as well) but he also owns four wins at the 7 1/2 furlong to 1 mile distance. Nobody else in the field owns more than one win. Ghost Giant to upset Race 8.
Race 9: Scarmouche - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)
So you want a race with some early pace? Throw in Super Ocho, who single-handedly dueled sprint champion Jackie’s Warrior into defeat in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Then add in Uncle Ernie, the Pennsylvania-bred speedball who has been first at the first point of call in 8 of 11 career starts and Lightning Larry, the Florida-bred speed who only knows one way to go, and you’ve got yourself what looks to be a wickedly fast early pace. Candy Man Rocket will probably be the favorite here but his return effort wasn’t visually impressive to me. He looked a little rusty and seems to do his best running with Lasix which he won’t have today. I prefer Scarmouche from off the pace here. Scarmouche is the only Grade 2 sprint winner on dirt in the field and even so we’ll still probably get 5/1 on him. He’s been working well and should be able to gun down the leaders from just off the pace.
Race 10: Chili Flag - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)
Allowance/Optional claiming level fillies and mares race 7 1/2 furlongs here. Super turf trainer Chad Brown starts two imports here off layoffs and his barn is overdue to heat up. Ownership group Madaket Stables and Michael Dubb are a pretty shrewd bunch and they ship Chili Flag over from France where she bumped around in allowance and ungraded stakes type races. Her Timeform speed figures of 92 fit nicely with this group and she’s been working well since early January. Top rider Jose Ortiz takes the reins for a barn he’s won with 29% of the time. A bit of a wild card faces an unaccomplished group but with this powerhouse barn behind her I give her a big chance.
Race 11: Principe d’Oro - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)
Allowance/optional claiming runners race a mile on the main track. This is another group with no superstars so I’m going with the unproven talent Principe d’Oro, who returns from an April 2022 layoff. This $650k purchase is Juddmonte’s only runner trained by Todd Pletcher in the last five years. Maybe ever. After breaking his maiden in his second career start last year, Principe d’Oro was sent to the sidelines and didn’t work again til Christmas Eve. Since then, the Pletcher barn has put 9 works into him including several at the five furlong distance. I love the fact that he’s been working at Palm Beach Downs with Pletcher’s “A-string”. Based on workout times his works have been faster than stakes winners: Emmanuel, Dr. Post, Charge It and Pioneer of Medina. But the simple fact that he’s been working on the same worktab as these and others like Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup winning Forte and recent Sam F. Davis winner Litigate is a very good sign.
Race 12: Carl Spackler - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 6/5)
Maidens race a mile on turf here and I’m having a tough time finding anyone who can come close to Carl Spackler. So if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Top trainer, top rider, top horse ran a SUPER race first time out and damn near won after getting bumped. Three works since his last start have him ready to go. Some may say 6/5 doesn’t offer much value but if our international members can lock in those odds with their bookmakers, I encourage you to do so. This runner looks like he’ll be 2/5 or less here in the U.S.
Saturday at Oaklawn Park:
Race 11: Gun Pilot - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)
The Grade 2 Rebel at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track is our next stop on the road to the Kentucky Derby and this one drew a nearly full field of eleven runners. Brad Cox has a few runners and Steve Asmussen has a few runners. I’m not convinced either of Cox’s horses is meant to run a true route of ground. There is an abundance of speed signed on for this so I’m looking for one to close from off the pace. Red Route One played that role in the Southwest Stakes last time out but Ricardo Santana seemingly had his choice between that runner and Gun Pilot and he elected to stick with Gun Pilot. Two races back Gun Pilot was taken to task by today’s morning line favorite, Verifying, right here at Oaklawn but Gun Pilot had to use his speed to press Verifying early. That was Gun Pilot’s second career start and Verifying had already run in two Grade 1 races by then. Next time out Gun Pilot sat off the speed and when it was time to go, Santana pushed the button and he drew away for an impressive win. With so much early speed signed on I like Gun Pilot’s chances to sit right off the early pace and make his move turning for home once again.
Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s races from around the U.S.