Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, December 2, 2017
It’s the unofficial start of the winter racing season: opening day of Gulfstream Park’s 2017-18 championship meet! They kick off their meet with the 2016 renewal of the Claiming Crown, featuring tons of big fields and great betting opportunities.
We’re happy to have Shane Claypool (@SaratogaShaneR) making his Danonymous Racing debut here, providing free picks & analysis of all 11 races! Based at Canterbury Park, Shane is a very sharp handicapper, and we’ll be featuring his picks & analysis of Gulfstream Saturdays throughout the championship meet! Be sure to give him a follow on twitter when you can.
Good luck to everyone playing along out there!
The Championship meet has arrived at Gulfstream Park. The meet which runs from December 2 to April 1st of 2018 is known for having some of the top races of the industry has to offer highlighted by the richest race in the world in the 2nd annual $16 million Pegasus World Cup on January 27th. In addition to the Pegasus World Cup the path to the run for the roses has gone through Hallandale, FL with 3 of the last 5 Florida Derby winners moving on to victories in the Kentucky Derby.
Throughout Saturdays of the Championship Meet I will be providing my insight as a player and a fan of the sport of kings on Danonymous Racing. My primary focus has been on the multi-race vertical wagers (pick 4’s and pick 5’s) so feel free to follow along on this adventure they call the Championship Meet. You can also find me on twitter @SaratogaShaneR, where I promise to try and be more active with my thoughts regarding the sport of kings. My goal is to hopefully provide something of use to readers and as we all do try and find some winners along the way.
Opening day is Claiming Crown day at Gulfstream Park with 9 of the 11 races being stakes races specifically for horses that at one time started in a claiming race. The claiming crown started in 1999 at Canterbury Park; for the past 6 years has been held at Gulfstream Park, and is a day to recognize the heart of this game and that is the claiming ranks. Expect the day to be filled with great stories of connections finding diamonds in the rough. A day all fans of the game can appreciate.
The Card begins with the 2-year-old ladies running 7.5 furlongs on the turf. My top selection or as I call it shot of the day comes in this race with Really Proud (5). This filly ran a respectable 3rd last out in a one turn mile at Belmont where the winner of this race is a horse I’ve followed since the Saratoga meet in Chad Brown’s Data Dependent. Data Dependent went on to run 2nd in the grade 2 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar while the 2nd place finisher has yet to run. I think coming from this race where she beat the 4th place finisher by open lengths along with a cutback in distance puts this filly out of Kitten’s Joy in a great position to break her maiden in start number 3. Miraculously (6) comes off a close 2nd place finish in her maiden voyage at Indiana on the turf. You can never underestimate the improvement of a horse from race one to race two and the addition of Julien Leparoux in the irons are some of the reasons to consider this one. The 12 Nile Rising (12) is a firster out of the sire Pioneer of the Nile and has been training with David Fawkes who has good statistics with 1st time starters and 1st time on the turf winning at 27% and 15% respectively.
The first of the 9 stakes on the card the $110,000 Glass Slipper stakes is a 1 mile race on the main track where I landed with Mended (6), since being claimed in her 1st start of the 2017 campaign for $12,500 this 4 year old filly has done nothing but win coming into this race on a 9 race winning streak as she has dominated on all surfaces at tracks throughout the state of California including a 3 ¼ length victory in an OC 62K race at Del Mar. Look for this one to get out front and try and take this field gate to wire. Ventina (5) may be making her first start on the main track at Gulfstream but she is no stranger to Hallandale Beach, FL as this 3 year old has run on the Gulfstream turf the majority of her career. A change to trying dirt 2 back has proved to be fruitful with open length wins at claiming 12.5 and then an allowance 12.5 both at Gulfstream Park West and perhaps the surface change will catapult this horse into as stakes winner on Saturday. Delusional K K (7) comes from connections that know how to win with Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker. Maker has a 18% win percentage first off the claim so it is not unreasonable to think he’ll have this horse improving off of a claiming 25k win at Churchill Down on November 10th.
The other Maiden Special Weight of the card is a 7.5 furlong turf spring for two year olds. I landed on Animal Kingston (9) for my top selection. This colt out of Animal Kingdom has finished 2nd both times out and with Pletcher adds blinkers while well known Florida jockey Tyler Gaffalione keeps his mount. Look for the 3rd time to be the charm after being green first out and improving in his second start. I went with the other Todd Pletcher runner in first time starter Hyndford (3). This colt was a $200,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale and comes from a stud turf sire in Street Cry. Todd is always known for being a good trainer first out as he is 22% and 27% with 2 year old’s. Although I prefer horses that have race experience I value it higher in main track races compared to that of the turf so this Pletcher horse is definitely one to look out for. Window Table (5) is a horse that could see improvement from race one to race 2 starting slow in his first start and not being able to play much of a factor. John Servis is 17% with maiden 2nd starters and the pedigree suggests this horse can run on turf so expect an improvement from this colts maiden voyage.
The Express Stakes features a field of 14 with 2 also eligible looking to travel 6 furlongs on the main track. Bling Express (2) is 5 of 7 in 2017 and is 7 of 22 lifetime at Gulfstream Park and is looking for win 3 in a row and an improvement from a 5th place finish in this race last year. This 8 year old gelding has been a new horse since a jockey change to Emisael Jaramillo and will try to find the lead in and fend off all comers. Electrifying (7) is another horse that makes their first start in the Maker barn in a claiming crown stakes race. This horse has recently been running dirt and prior to that was running on turf and synthetic at Arlington. This horse then got a win at Keeneland before putting up a 5th place finish at Churchill. Expect this horse to come off the lead and hope for a hot pace up front and an opportunity to pick up the pieces. Harryhee (1) is another horse that maintains a well known jockey in the Florida circuit in Luca Panici and is one that would automatically get an upgrade should their be an wet track on Saturday.
The Distaff Dash will feature 13 fillies and mares going 5 furlongs on the turf. I found myself landing on Kasuga (7) as my top choice. This 5 year old mare is coming off a 4th place finish in a grade 3 turf spring at Keeneland and prior to this a turf win at Kentucky Downs. Another horse that likes the front retains the services of Leparoux and has a bullet workout on the tab going 4 furlongs in 48.4 on November 23rd. My Sweet Dave (2) is a horse familiar to fans of the Florida circuit who has pulled off victories at this track in the past. Looking at the form you have to be encouraged by the fact that this horse has not lost at this distance with firm ground in 2017 and at a 9/2 could be a value play. Blue Bahia (1) has had a successful 2017 campaign winning 3 of 6 and you can never overlook Jason Service and his 29% win percentage on the year. Jason has had this one traveling all around the country since claiming on April 7th and coming off a little bit of a layoff this horse is quite logical as well.
The 1 1/16 mile Iron Horse on the main track will pit 14 horses and 2 also eligible that have started for a claiming price of $8,000 or less in their lifetime. Rich Daddy (8) is a Churchill shipper who last out grinded a victory in an OC 62K beating another horse in this field Lieutenant Seany O by close to 6.5 lengths. The horse carries a 3 for 9 record in 2017 and a 8 of 19 lifetime record and 4 of 15 record at the distance, all signs of strength and Eddie Kenneally keeps Corie Lanerie in the irons for this mount. Fourth of July (13) is a Maker first time starter off of claim with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons. As we’ve discussed Maker is one known for making horses better in their first race under his barn and it’s also encouraging that he is stretching out for this one where he has a 19% success rate. Lieutenant Seany O (1) despite losing last out by open lengths to top choice Rich Daddy he also has a 3 ¼ length victory at Keeneland over Rich Daddy which for me in multi race wagers would be a reason to make sure this one is considered.
The 5 furlong Canterbury Stakes starts the late pick 5 and does so with a short price in my top pick Pay Any Price 5. This 7 year old gelding is a specialist at the 5 furlong distance and at the Gulfstream who has 4 wins in 6 starts during 2017 and has 7 wins in 9 career starts on the Gulfstream turf. Although the horse has been on a layoff since July 1 this horse has proven able to fire off of a layoff and the trainer shows a 26% win percentage with a 61-180 day layoff. Sir Navigator 10 is a first time starter with the new Maker barn and the switch back to turf where the horse won his last turf start at Canterbury Park in August could be a recipe for a stellar performance. Black Tavish 9 is coming from a successful summer at Indiana and could prove to be a threat in this race.
Handicapping this race proved to be the most difficult of the card but I found myself taking a familiar face to Gulfstream Park in Coxswain 12 who has had a solid 2017 campaign finding the winners circle 6 times out of 10 races. This 5 year old gelding out of Awesome Again has shown an ability to run not only with a lead but also an ability to stalk the pace and is always ready to fire. Electrifying 5 comes with top jockey Tyler Gafflione and with the equipment change could be ready to fire a big one. Whyruawesome 3 is in good form coming off of two straight second place finishes and is one at a price that I would consider in the exotics with a morning line of 20-1
The Tiara stakes has a strong favorite in the 4 year old filly Starship Jubilee 9. The Grade 2 winning horse has an 8 for 15 career record on the turf and 6 of 10 at Gulfstream Park. With career winnings of over $284k with $249k in 2017 this horse is in great form and will be a looming threat. Flattermefabulous 10 is a reclaim by Sackatoga Stable and trainer Barclay Tagg who had this horse in winning form when it was claimed for $35,000 at Saratoga on July 18th. Perhaps being back with the winning connections along with the connections decision to run into a stakes race are enough positive signs to consider if you want to play against the favorite. Peru 5 last time out was nudged out at Churchill and with a switch back to a firm turf surface could be ready to fire a big race under the Maker barn.
Black Tide 4 ships in from the east coast where the 5 year old gelding has won 5 of his 9 starts at tracks including Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga and could take well to the Gulfstream track. Jose Lezcano has had the mount the last 4 trips and has found the winners circle 2 out of those 4 trips. Cammack 6 ships in from Arlington Park and you can never underestimate these shippers on the turf and this horse has also been able to find the wire at Gulfstream Park. Eminent Force 11 has been in the money in every race he has ran at Gulfstream Park and is in the money 10 times out of 11 so you know this horse should be coming with his best.
The night cap is a 1 1/8 mile race over the main track route. I found myself landing on a horse that has made over $125k in 2017 in Chunnel 1. Coming off a three win race streak with scores on turf and dirt at multiple tracks at 6-1 morning line this horse is an overlay that has been in good form and shown an ability to ship. Capital Letters 7 is a horse out of the Mike Maker barn that has won his last two at Churchill Downs and maintains the jockey of the last two wins in Corey Lanerie. Gigantic Breeze 6 is an interesting horse that has had success on the 2017 campaign but has yet to try a dirt track in his career. This synthetic specialist is one that needs to be included on any pick 4 or 5 ticket being a graded stakes winner but is one I would shy away from making my single until there is a proven ability to run on the dirt.
Race 1 Pick 5 $60 Race 7 Pick 5 $108
Race 2 pick 4 $30 Race 8 Pick 4 $36
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