Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, December 17, 2016
The third Saturday of the 2016-17 Gulfstream Park season has dawned upon us, and it’s an excellent card, with five stakes races.
We’ve got Brian Arrigoni (@MrB_CBYanalyst) providing free picks & analysis of all the great racing today. Brian served as the paddock analyst at Canterbury Park this summer, and we’re happy to have him as the newest member of the Danonymous Racing team. You can find Brian’s write-ups of Gulfstream Park every Saturday here on the site.
Take it away, Brian!!
After the Claiming Crown and 6 stakes races last week, it seems fitting to keep the championship momentum rolling this week. This Saturday at Gulfstream Park brings 3 Grade 3s and two $100,000 stakes races. Unlike last week, the weather is supposed to be exceptional, while many of us across the country deal with arctic air, and enough snow to make multiple snowmen. This week brings a good mix of both dirt and turf races. When handicapping for this week’s column, it would appear there are going to be some stand-out favorites. These are the key races to everything when putting together your tickets. Find the favorites that you agree with, and key them on your multi-race wagers, and on the races you think the favorite is more vulnerable, opt to spread and try and catch a price to key a big payoff race. Often, races I like to spread are low-level claimers, maiden races, or turf sprints where anything can happen. Financially you should wager within your means, which could be a variety of things. I frequently find myself playing two tickets whether this is a pick 5 or a pick 4. The key is to identify which races are wide open and spread using the same horses on both tickets. Then on one ticket, I will typically single a race and on the other ticket I may use 5-6 horses to try and catch a long shot. Then on the other ticket, I will do the same but with a different single in a different race. If the sequence ends up chalky you can get paid twice. If I can beat a 2-5 favorite with a 10-1 and my other single wins, it can very quickly result in a huge payoff.
Last week was a humbling experience, but also one that keeps us interested in this game. Horse racing is like golf, in that you can never be perfect. Perfect is hard to do on a normal day of handicapping. However, when you add 2-year old’s racing in the slop many for the first time it becomes very difficult to foresee what is going to happen in any given race. I have left myself with some room to improve, and hope the tides will turn starting today. The bright spot continues to be finding the winners in the “contenders” section and top 3 selections which has kept most multi race tickets alive and cashable throughout.
Today we bounce back with multiple “Hammer Tymes”
Top Pick: 3-22 14%
Top Pick ROI: $.59
Top 3: 11-22 50%
Contenders: 19-22 87%
Hammer Tymes: 1-2 50%
Race 1: A difficult race to start the early pick 5. Take Time to Pray (1) has had no trouble finding the front, the trouble has been finding the wire in front as the strides have shortened as the chalk at this level twice before. Post draw should help save ground in a contentious race, the one to catch. Shere Khan (4) another disappointing favorite last time out who took plenty of betting money and could only rally for a well beaten 3rd. Love a trainer willing to throw down and make a claim for themselves, and this is no different. Trainer Angel Quiroz hit 17% first off the claim, and will show more speed today. Neuk (3) Should enjoy the plethora of speed entered here. Loves to rally from the back of the back, should be a price as well. If the speed fades, Neuk will be eating up ground late.
Race 2: Intriguing maiden race going 1 mile on the sod. This race features some well-meant first time starters and some horses looking to improve off their first races. Okinawa (5) Goes out for Chad Brown and Javier Castellano who team up at a ridiculous 37% together. Should improve 2nd off a layoff and show more kick in the lane today. Jaunt (6) Not only beat our top selection last time out, but did so impressively by 4 lengths at 13-1. Unlikely to get anywhere near that price today, the sod surgeon Jose Lezcano, will look to avoid a DQ and finish 1st again today. Kausastorm (8) also beat our top selection and did so at 94-1 with a late rally after breaking from the 8th post. All the eggs are in one basket, hoping this last race was live. Plenty of well-bred firsters that will take some beating however debuting over a mile is always tough at first asking, you add in breaking from the 10th and 11th post, and you must be awfully special!
Race 3: Look no further for our first of many Hammer Tymes today! I have no idea how to pronounce Flibbertigibbet (2) but I do know Pete Aiello will likely be calling this one first home today. Trainer Ralph Nicks excels with these type, and the sire Midshipman was awfully quick. I expect to see more speed today on the class drop and love the workouts since last race. Long Gone! Boston Mine (1) Firster has been working out consistently including an impressive 1.01 5F Dec 3. Trainer Larry Pilotti gets 17% with firsters and Paco Lopez is always a threat, the one to watch. Doritza (6) $100,000 purchase going to sale for $25,000 at first asking. Not usually a great sign there, but I have a hunch the workouts are a bit misleading and this one can surprise for sneaky connections.
Hammer Tyme Selections: 2/1/6
Race 4: Back to back Hammer Tymes don’t come around often, but the big grey Stonetastic (5) is too hard not to like in this spot. Workouts jump off the page, and would appear may be able to get an early breather on the front end. If the big grey can clear away early, won’t look back. Sugar Swirl all the way to the window with a gate to wire win with Stonetastic. Dearest (1) lightly raced 3-year-old takes on older today. Loves this surface winning 3 of 4 will need to fire on all cylinders off the brief freshening today. Should sit just behind the 3 and 5. Sky Gold (3) appears to be the one who will challenge for the lead. Has set some awfully quick fractions in claiming races at Monmouth, but has backed up in recent stakes races. Will need to step up today, but always respect a J/T combo at 45%.
Hammer Tyme Selections: 5/1/3
Race 5: The Grade 3 Rampart appears to be short on numbers and long on talent. Curlin’s Approval (3) is another 3-year-old taking on older. Age shouldn’t be an issue this late in the year. Connections have been pointing to this spot off the layoff. Workouts jump off the page and expect Curlin’s little girl to be ready to roll. Genre (6) has done nothing wrong hitting the board in 10 of 12 starts including a good 3rd in the Grade 1 Spinster last time out. Distance specialist is 3 for 6 at this distance and has had no problem beating stable mate Eskenformoney in the past. Inside Out (5) tons of question marks, but the numbers fit, will be rolling late if at all.
Race 6: Some very impressive breeding to start the pick 6. High Above (7) breeding stands high above the rest on paper. Was a $500,000 purchase in here, and I would expect to be visually impressive in the paddock. Half Brother Moreno Mojo (10) drew the outside, and nowhere near the appeal at the sale. Pletcher could be ready to go at first asking. Faja (8) if Faja is anything like his Faja could have speed to the lead, and be gone. Sire Bodemeister is one of my all-time favorites, should show speed early on. Unbridled Holiday (1) turf to dirt in play here after trying steaks company last time out on the sod. If the first time starts go a bit too quick on the front end, this one should be mowing them down late.
Race 7: Pick 5 looks to have a formful start in the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday. If your book or track allows you to make a prop bet that Pletcher wins this race, it is time to ship it all in. Stanford (1) looks to have the controlling speed here, and should be able to set the early fractions however fast JR Velasquez wants. Workouts have been building fitness and you get top call jockey who lands here. The one to catch. Madefromlucky (2) have to wonder why JR Velasquez hops off and Saez gets aboard who has never ridden this Colt ready to go over 1 million in earnings. Should sit just off it, and make a move on the turn. Keen Ice (6) could be overlooked in this spot by many. I expect Castellano will have this one sitting closer than many expect, and assume Pletcher has tried to put more speed into this closer. Not often do you see a horse 2 for 18 with over 2.3 Million in the bank. Must respect!
Race 8: At the tricky 7.5F distance, I love horses with speed. Songsational (3) has just that, and doesn’t necessarily need the lead as first glance may appear. Went off as the favorite last time and lost all chance at the start. A performance off the layoff like the record setting one July 9, at Belmont gets us to the winner circle. Heart to Heart (1) gets a cozy post draw and has speed. Last two efforts have been impressive but were on a soft ground. Will need to show he can run on a fast surface to become 3-3 at Gulfstream Park today. Vision Perfect (8) and Tyler Gafflione look to live up to the name, with a perfect trip from the outside. Has been a tricky start to the year for this talented young jock, but could bounce back in a big way with a win here in the El Prado Stakes.
Race 9: Plenty in here were entered Stakes races last Saturday, however scratched when off the turf. Lemonist (9) was scratched for this spot. Made quick work of the field last time out on the turf ironically crushing the 2nd place finisher Tipsy Kitten by 9 lengths. Could be a freak! Norco (3) Laurel shippers have done well so far and especially on the turf. Circled the field last time out like a seasoned pro. Will need to continue to improve today, but one to watch rolling late. Holiday Stone (1) This colt has speed today and is bred to get the distance. Stretches out for the first time today, and could get awfully brave on the front end. Follow the tote board in this one.
Race 10: The $100,000 South Beach provides the toughest race of the day, and a perfect race to spread. Midnight Miley (4) loves to finish 1st, winning 6 times from 17 starts. The issue is only one of those wins came on the turf. Look for Jose Lezcano to try to put them to sleep on the front end at big odds. Neck of the Moon (6) the New York Bred takes on open company here for Chad Brown. Has some numbers that fit, and this looks to set up well for this mare who looks to sit a great trip for Paco Lopez. Tuttipaesi (7) is the class of the field and stands out in here on class alone. Has been a road warrior in doing so as this will be the 7th new track in the last 7 starts. The one to hold off late!
Race 11: It’s not often we use 3 Hammer Tymes in one card, but today is the day. Delphinia (1) is royally bred and exits an impressive first out race finishing 2nd behind Phone Chick who has turned out to be a nice one as well. Broke from the 9th post last time and tired late after dueling all the way around. Cuts back today and gets on what could be her preferred surface. If this one makes the break, is long gone! Love and Lemons (10) comes in off an impressive 2nd at glitzy Saratoga in August. Gets an outside attack post and the experience can only help. A pair of first time starters for Todd Pletcher could upset the apple cart and are worth watching tote action for. Mary Sue We Loveyou(2) and Saintfully (8) are bred to love the turf, but will hopefully need a race at this tricky 5F distance with no room for error.
Hammer Tyme Selection: 1/10/2/8
Early Pick 5 ($72):
Early Pick 4 ($72):
Late Pick 5 ($270):
Late pick 4 ($90):
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