God's Tipster's Saturday Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn Picks: 9 races with the Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby
Friday’s race recap from Aqueduct:
(All odds US)
Replays of Friday’s races from Aqueduct can be found here:
Race 1: 1st@ 1.55/1 - BEST BET🔥🔥
Race 2: 4th@ 5.00/1
Race 7: 3rd@ 20.00/1
A nice to return to Aqueduct! With a winning start as our BEST BET. Randomized went to the lead and never looked back at an overlaid 3/2. In Race 2, My Inner Voice never got on track and finished fourth and in Race 7, Mighty Atlas who broke slowly was well behind the early pace - a slowish pace set by a loose-leader. Mighty Atlas came with a flying finish and was moving best of all late at 20/1 and just missed second by a fast-diminishing head.
We made it! It’s April! It’s Saturday! It’s Grade 1 Florida Derby Day! It’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby Day! We’ve got fast and firm conditions expected at Gulfstream with Thursday and Friday rain that might affect the Oaklawn Park surface on Saturday. I sifted through the 27 races at both tracks including 8 graded stakes and found the 9 very best opportunities to make money this weekend. Let’s get to the ACTIONNNNNN!!!!!!!
Race 3: Drinking Problem - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)
I freakin love this horse! The name.. The Breeding… The running style.. The fact that he’s already connected for our members at 24/1 and 8/1 in consecutive races. Dare we go for a three-peat? Let’s take a step back and introduce the race - this is The Cutler Bay at 7 1/2 furlongs for three-year-olds on the turf. Drinking Problem is a favorite for the reasons above but he’s also just a horse that likes to go to the lead and dare anyone to catch him. Ever since he’s got the turf nobody has and I go back to Jan. 6 when we tabbed him - his grand dam - Words of War was a true war horse - a winner of 7 of 30 on turf including several stakes who hit the board in 21 of 30 turf starts while running on the engine early just as Drinking Problem does. Once again there’s not a ton of speed signed on. Once again he won’t get respect at the windows because he’s got low profile connections. Once again let’s CASH on Drinking Problem in the Cutler Bay! Bottom’s Up!
Race 8: Amazing Grace - 2 pts win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)
The Grade 3 Orchid at a mile and a half on turf for fillies and mares kicks off our graded stakes action at Gulfstream. The U.S. contingent is lacking star power so I’m siding with one of two Christophe Clement runners, Amazing Grace, who’s 5/2 on the morning line but I can see going off at closer to even money here in the U.S. This German-bred daughter of Protectionist out of a Danehill Dancer mare has won 4 of 15 lifetime while competing against Graded stakes company in Germany. She’s one of only two in this field with a win at today’s mile and a half distance and she enters off a strong third place finish behind last year’s Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Turf winner Rebel’s Romance. The Timeform U.S. speed figures she’s been putting up in Germany are head and shoulders better than these and she’s been working consistently for a white-hot Clement barn that’s winning at 28%. Two point win bet if you can lock in those 5/2 morning line odds.
Race 14: Forte - 2 pts win (US Morning Line Odds: 4/5)
The Grade 1 Florida Derby is supposed to be a stepping stone for Forte on his way toward being sent off as the Kentucky Derby favorite. He drew post 11 but I don’t think that will matter much. Based on his last few he’s much better than the field he’s facing today. I think this field might be even weaker than the Fountain of Youth runners he faced last time out despite today’s Grade 1 race status. Not much else to say. Enjoy the show and await his date on Derby day! No chance you’ll get the 4/5 morning line here. In the U.S. he’ll be closer to 2/5 and might even go as low as 1/5.
Race 5: Smile Happy - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 9/5)
The Grade 3 Oaklawn Mile is for four-year-olds and up. Last year’s Grade 1 BlueGrass runner-up and Grade 1 Kentucky Derby entrant Smile Happy is the 9/5 second choice in this field behind Bob Baffert’s Hopper. I prefer Smile Happy in this spot. Hopper should get some pace pressure from Caddo River and Smile Happy’s likely to get the right pace setup here for a trainer and jockey that are winning at a 21% clip at this meet. He’s already proven over the surface and has shown an even more explosive turn of foot in his shorter races thus far than his longer ones. Smile Happy in the Oaklawn Mile!
Race 7: Gar Hole - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 3/1)
Allowance/optional claiming runners sprint 6 and I’m looking to the outside for the winner here and that’s with the Arkansas-bred Gar Hole. Gar Hole is the name of a bar in Texas but it’s also the name of an independent record label in Arkansas and since this gelding was bred in Arkansas I’m guessing he’s named after the latter. Either way he’s 6 for 10 lifetime with all six wins coming right here at Oaklawn at today’s six furlong distance. He enters today with a bullet work and owns all sorts of early speed but has also won several times from off the pace. Today he’s perfectly positioned on the outside and looks tough to deny.
Race 9: Tahoe Run - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)
Maiden three-year-olds go a mile and a sixteenth here and Tahoe Run is a value play for me. Three starts back he put up this field’s second fastest speed figure. Since then he caught a sloppy track and broke slowly in his most recent start but didn’t run poorly in either effort. If he can get back to that Feb. 4 start he’ll be a handful. He owns the field’s top Tomlinson for the distance and races for underrated connections so the price should be square. The winner of his most recent start returned to win his next and improve his speed figure by 9 points. This guy comes in today off a fast work and offers good value at 12/1 odds or better.
Race 10: Take Charge Briana - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)
The Grade 3 Fantasy at a mile and a sixteenth for three-year-old fillies drew an evenly matched field of ten runners. Wet Paint is our morning line favorite and looks formidable but I’m going to try to beat her considering her two most recent wins happened over wet tracks and by the time this race is run I’m guessing the track will be closer to fast. While there is still expected to be a fair amount of pace on I’m going to give Take Charge Briana another try. She’s one of two D. Wayne Lukas runners I’m going with today to shake things up - the other being Bourbon Bash in the Arkansas Derby. Take Charge Briana first caught my eye when she broke her maiden at Saratoga as she closed with a rush to defeat the favorite back on Sept. 4. From there she was thrown to the wolves and didn’t fare well amidst Graded stakes company. She showed improvement in her races this year but caught wet tracks in those same races Wet Paint has been winning. Last time out she actually caught a fast track here at Oaklawn and just missed the win. She adds blinkers today and between that last tightener, the fast track and the change in rider to Reylu Gutierrez I think Take Charge Briana is going to be a major contender for an upset of the Fantasy.
Race 11: Go West - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 3/1)
Allowance runners sprint 6 furlongs here. My selection is Go West, who’s a winner of 3 of 12 starts including one at today’s distance and surface. He’s a length and a half from winning three in a row but got beat by Skelly last time out. Skelly is 3 for 7 lifetime with 3 second place finishes and would be 1/1 against this field. Skelly exited that race with a win and I’m looking for the same for Go West. He looks like he’s in a class above these right now.
Race 12: Bourbon Bash - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1)
The Grade 1 Arkansas Derby brings together the best from the Arkansas region to take their shot at making the Kentucky Derby in a little over a month. This race drew a MUCH more competitive field than the Grade 1 Florida Derby did at Gulfstream. Longshot Bourbon Bash is where I landed. A blowout winner at Saratoga in his second career start, Bourbon Bash has since failed to find the winner’s circle. But he’s also mostly been entered in sprint races and has put up his two best speed figures in his two most recent starts - both at a route of ground. So maybe he’s been a distance horse this whole time and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was trying to hone his speed. Last time out in the Grade 2 Rebel over a sloppy track here at Oaklawn he was bothered on the first turn and taken very wide. He then made an early move in between horses and waited behind horses at the far turn. A hole opened at the top of the stretch and he continued on and after all the theatrics early in the race he bumped with Reincarnate in the stretch and finished sixth. Today he gets a rider upgrade to Reylu Gutierrez and enters with a bullet workout in his holster. Lukas does his best work these days at Oaklawn and this runner has a look of one I want to give another shot at long odds. I think he’ll show more speed today from his rail post and I look for him to lead them on a merry chase.
Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s races from around the U.S.!