Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Today’s a very unique day of racing at Gulfstream Park. It’s Clasico del Caribe day, featuring some of the best horses bred in Latin America. There’s five stakes races restricted to horses bred in a country of the Confederation Hipica del Caribe, drawing horses from exotic locales such as Panama, Mexico, and Ecuador. The featured contest drew a field of 12, and will go as the 11th and final race on the card.
In addition to all the special action, there’s six stakes races for two year olds, which will go as the first six on the day. The first race will be an early one; it’s scheduled for 11:50 AM EST.
We’re happy to have Shane Claypool (@SaratogaShaneR) 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!
Well a week of the Championship is in the books, and there has been no shortage of prices coming in at Gulfstream Park. Last week’s Claiming Crown left me feeling the opposite as a champion as we went 2 for 11 and saw the best bet in the first race lose to a long shot. Luckily, I’ve listened to some Jay-Z’s Black Album, and know that it’s time to get that dirt of my shoulder and start over.
This week does not appear to get any easier for handicappers, as we have an 11 race card of all stakes races. The card starts out with 6 stakes races for two year olds, and the last 5 races will consist of the Clasico Del Caribe, which is the premiere race day for Latin America and the Caribbean. For the first time in the history of the event, it will be run in the United States. What better place to host than Gulfstream Park in the Championship Meet schedule?
|Top Selection||2 for 11 or .182 winning percentage|
|ROI (based on $2 win wager for top selection)||0.33|
|Shot of the Day||0 for 1|
The Saturday card starts with a 1 mile dirt race for the females. Bernadetta (4) may be coming off a long layoff but is coming from a barn that does well at everything including a 19% win percentage at 61-180 days. This Bernardini filly is 1-0 in her career showing good speed in her debut to win at 5 furlongs. In addition to the layover there is the question of stretching out to a mile however with Gulfstream’s main track there is still only 1 turn and with the pedigree and with some bullet workouts sprinkled into the tab expect this horse to be competitive.
Miss Mo Mentum (2) is the most experienced of the bunch making her 7th career start and is the only with two wins to her name including a last out win at a mile on the dirt at Churchill in an Allowance race. Experience in the 2 year old campaign can be crucial so this is a logical morning line favorite.
My Favorite Gift (3) is a Tapit filly who is 1 for 1 after a 18 ½ length romp in the slop at Gulfstream Park West. Jaramillo takes the mount and you have to consider given the pedigree and lure for what a race on a fast main track could look like.
The 2nd race of the day switches over to the turf course with a group of 13 racing for a $75,000 purse in the Wait A While stakes. In this 1 mile turf race we see the first entry of the meet for trainer Chad Brown in Filfila (9). For those that have played the combination of Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz from 2016-17 you’ve been rewarded with a 25% win percentage and ROI of $1.64. Chad Brown may be known as the go to trainer for turf racing and this horse has ran well in two starts. Looking at her 4th place finish at Belmont on September 16th you have to be encouraged by the top two horses winning their next out races as well as in addition to her win on November 12th at 1 1/16 mile at Aqueduct. All signs of encouragement at a decent M/L price of 4-1.
Stainless (6) last raced in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies back on November 4th and was well overmatched on the Delmar main track. This Flatter filly has some turf parody and has one turf start to her name on a soft Keeneland track 2 back. Velazquez is Pletcher’s go-to jockey and shows upside not having a firm turf race to her career.
Subtle Step (10) ran a solid race at 1 1/16 mile at Keeneland on October 19th and has shown a solid workout tab. Another encouraging note comes from the debut win from a barn not known for finding the winners circle at first asking so there is no reason to doubt this horse will continue to improve.
The boys take their turn on the main track in the 6 furlong Buffalo Man for $75,000. The morning line even money pick and top choice Mojovation (5) will be the one to beat. This horse won in his career debut back on July 29th and since then has been running in graded stakes taking 3rd in the grade 3 Futurity last out. Another Pletcher and Velazquez entry out of Quality Road has a solid workout tab since his last start and should be primed to run a big one with the lesser competition.
Empire Power (3) is a horse on the Florida circuit who has a 7f win over this main track as well as a respectable 2nd place finish in an OC 75k last time out. Zayas retains the mount for trainer Antonio Sano and will be looking to try and wire the field.
Diamond Oops (4) is a 2 time winner over the Gulfstream main track. Last out was outmatched in the grade 2 Saratoga Special but may enjoy coming back to this track. Victor Espinoza will take the mount for a barn that he is not too familiar with being only the 2nd time they’ve worked together In 2016/17.
We stay on the main track for the 6 furlong House Party for 2 year old fillies. This field of 9 has 2 multiple winners in the Camarero, Puerto Rico shipper Writer’s Almanac (4 for 4 at Camarero) and my top choice Take Charge Paula (9). This filly out of Take Charge Indy is a 3 time winner and 2 time stakes winner and graded stakes placed during her 2 year old campaign. Paco Lopez maintains the mount after wins at Monmouth, Delaware, and Laurel. This horse has already brought in career earnings ($143,600) over the auction price of $50,000 at the OBS sale in March of 2017. I would expect this horse to be in the mix throughout with an ability to win on the lead like in her debut as well as rating from off the pace like last outs Smart Halo win.
Florida Fuego (4) is a layoff candidate that could improve from a maiden score 1st out for the David Fawkes barn. Well known jockey to the Florida circuit Tyler Gaffalione takes the mount. They say the biggest improvement is from race 1 to race 2 and with a good workout November 5th and a barn that has had some success off the layoff this one could fire a big one.
Razorback Lady (1) has two solid efforts over the Gulfstream main track at this distance including a 2nd place in her debut and a 1 ½ victory at 2nd asking The bullet workout on December 5th going 3 furlongs at :35.4 appears primed to use the inside post to get out early and play catch me if you can.
Another mile main track route for 2 year olds in the 10 horse Smooth Air. Coltandmississippi (1) comes out of a big time in a Optional Claimer 75k at Gulfstream Park West winning the 7 furlong contest by 6 lengths over the competition and has been successful at that distance twice. The Monmouth stakes start may have just been a misfire as the Pioneer of the Nile colt got bumped out of the gate and was rank early on. The solid performance after and the fact that this mile is still at one turn over this track makes me believe he can still fire a big one stretching back out to the mile.
Tip Sheet (4) is a horse who has been consistent on the Florida circuit hitting the board in 4 of 6 races. With wins over the main track at Gulfstream and a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park West this versatile colt should be a threat to hit the board for the 5th time in his career.
Stronger (6) has a win at Gulfstream Park at this mile distance breaking his maiden with a 6 ½ length victory in career start number 2. The jump from the maiden score to the grade 1 Champagne proved to be a little much but moving back to Gulfstream and running in this spot may prove to be a recipe for success. The recent workouts also suggest this colt could be primed to fire.
The last of the 2 year old portion of this card is the 1 mile Pulpit Stakes on the turf course. The SHOT OF THE DAY comes in the form of the Blame colt Maraud (7). Pletcher and Velazquez have had two good showings with this Blame colt breaking the maiden at 1st asking at Saratoga followed by a 3rd place showing in the grade 3 Pilgrim coming on strong at the end but being held off by ¾ of a length. I like the cutback to the mile distance is a positive. Look for this horse to be picking off the front runners down the lane.
King Angelus (10) has two wins at the distance at Gulfstream Park West and has been competitive in the 4 races on turf he has started in. Last outs run on the slop showed a respectable 3rd place finish and the move back to turf could provide a boost.
Speed Franco (2) has a win at the track, at the distance and although is facing winners for the first time could put himself into contending position with an improvement over the 1st start that you hope to see from a horse.
The late pick 5 kicks off the Classico Del Caribe with the 1 1/16 mile Lady Caribbean Cup. Esplendorosa (1) is on a 4 race win streak including a win in the grade 1 Classico Constitucion stakes. This horse is 8 for 10 with the other two races being 2nd place finishes. This Camarero shipper has should be competitive in trying to make it consecutive win number 5.
Lady Valery (4) has dominated the Remon stakes calendar winning 4 throughout the 2017 campaign. With wins at 7 furlongs and 3 at 1 1/16 mile this horse has proven the ability to go this distance. Although finishing 3rd last out this was at 1 1/8 mile which is the longest this horse has tried and a move back to the 1 1/16 mile may be just what this filly needs to get the win.
Gladiadora (8) has close to $288,000 in career earnings running in Venezuela and gains the services of Javier Castellano. This horse is taking a step up in class but as the top earner in the field may translate well.
The 1 ¼ mile Confraternity Caribbean Cup kicks off the late pick 4. El Tigre Mono (3) is a multiple graded stakes winner from Panama and comes off a winning effort at the distance back on October 29th beating two other runners in this race. This 4 year old colt is 6 of 8 on the 2017 campaign and is in form for this one.
Gran Will (4) is a multiple graded stakes winner in Venezuela who won by 2 ½ lengths last out on a muddy track in the Cl International Simon Bolivar. This horse has hit found the winners circle 3 times in 6 tries and is the leading earner of the group.
Arquitecto (1) is looking to make it 3 in a row and is a closer that will be looking for a pace meltdown in order to pick up the pieces.
Forze Mau (7) has made easy work of opponents in works leading up to this race breaking his maiden by 4 lengths at 5 ½ furlongs and then taking a step up to 6 furlongs resulted in a 7 furlong win in the allowance class. The workouts over the Gulfstream surface are respectable and should be a threat to continue the progression forward to a stakes winner.
Catador (2) was a 16 ¾ length 3rd place finish last out in a grade 2 at Camarero and although losing by 16 ¾ lengths the winner Justiciero was a next out winner and prior to this race this horse had finished in the top 2 and the 2nd place finishes were by a neck or less so a rebound performance could put this one in contention.
Crotone (9) is another shipper from LaRincnada who has won 2 straight and has a great workout on December 1st at the track.
The 1 ¼ mile Invitational has 10 entrants over the main surface I found myself landing on the Mishegas (5) is a stakes winning horse in Puerto Rico who has had plenty of experience in the states including wins at Oaklawn Park and Belmont in open company. An encouraging last out start at Gulfstream Park West makes this a logical choice to run a big race.
Coltimus Prime (8) is a Panama shipper who has a grade 1 win and some experience at Gulfstream. Maybe this combination can put this horse in position to fire a big one.
You can throw out the last start for Little Paul (4) as he stumbled and unseated the jockey at Gulfstream West. Prior to that he had been firing on all cylinders winning 4 straight.
The finale pits 12 horses racing for a purse of $300,000 in the Caribbean Classic. For my top selection I went with Justiciero (7). This colt has won 7 of 8 on the 2017 campaign and his wins have come in style winning by open lengths of 7 and 9. This horse will not be near the front going into the first turn but has shown a great ability to close and in both fast and sloppy tracks.
La De Horacio (11) is a million-dollar winner who will need to improve off of his last two starts but with solid workouts on the track this horse may be looking to fire a big one.
El Cubita (9) may only have a maiden win to his credit but the move straight to grade 1’s has not been a failure with 3 straight 2nd place finishes. A 1:00 workout on December 2 and none of the winners from those previous races making it into this field maybe a change of scenery is what this colt needs to get back into the winners circle.
|Race 1 Pick 5 ($48)|
|Race 2 Pick 4 ($30)|
|Race 7 Late Pick 5 ($45)|
|Race 8 Late Pick 4 ($30)|
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