Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Gulfstream has a stacked five-stakes program on tap for Saturday! The headliners include the Swale Stakes, featuring promising three-year-olds Tricks to Doo, Diamond King, and Strike Power, the Forward Gal Stakes, including Oaks contenders Take Charge Paula and Miss Momentum, and the Holy Bull Stakes, headlined by Enticed. The first of twelve races goes off at 12:00 PM EST (give or take).
We’re happy to have Shane Claypool (@SaratogaShaneR) providing free picks & analysis of all 12 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!
What a great Saturday last week, as we got a chance to watch a great career come to an end with Gun Runner finishing on top winning the 2nd Pegasus World Cup. Congratulations to all the connections, and a thank you for letting us fans have another opportunity to see him run after a great Breeder’s Cup Classic.
Now that we have completed the Pegasus, we can start to shift our focus to that of the first Saturday in May, as it is now Kentucky Derby prep race season. We have a good one on this 12-race card in the grade 2 Holy Bull. On top of that, we have 4 other graded stakes races, so it will be another great Saturday of racing for the Championship Meet.
Last week was another successful one from the winning perspective going 4 for 12. We found a lot of favorites, so we were unable to put a dent into this deficit as the ROI sits at $0.89. I also noticed that I forgot to designate a SHOT OF THE DAY, however for those of you that follow me on twitter and if you don’t you should consider it (@SaratogaShaneR) I did tweet out that I was shocking everyone and taking Gun Runner so I’m counting it. That will improve me to 50% on the year.
|Top Selection||25 of 91 or 27.5%|
|ROI (based on $2 win wager for top selection)||0.891|
|Shot of the Day||4 for 8 or 50%|
We start our day and the early pick 5 with a $16,000 claimer for horses that have never won two races set for 7 ½ furlongs on the turf. Changing Leads (5) is coming into this race in great form having a 1st and 2nd place finish in his two previous races in this meet so it is possible that another close one could be in order and we’ll hope the bob goes our way. Bracket Creep (8) is a lightly raced City Zip Gelding that is making his 2nd start off of a layoff and is coming from the Chad Brown barn with Tyler Gaffalione. This one has shown plenty of speed in his career so it’s possible a drop-in class and cutback in distance will be what’s needed to get back in the winner’s circle however there are some questions in regard to the post position and if this drop could be considered a red flag that make me shy away from taking him as a top choice. Tracking Stock (1) will be coming in off of a long layoff having last been seen back in September 24th in a off turf race. Since that time the workout tab has been consistent and includes a bullet workout, the last turf race this gelding ran was a 2nd place finish and you also get the services of Irad Ortiz so perhaps this one can work out a trip and fire from the inside post draw for this one.
We move to the dirt for a 1-mile starter optional claiming race for the start of the 1st of 3 pick 4s on the day. I went with a huge upset in this one in taking Sanfilipo (5). This recent gelding will be looking to make it 2 in a row after an impressive 8 ½ length victory last out on a good Gulfstream surface and although this will be a tough test moving up the ladder to optional claimer from a claiming $6,250 if this one can run a race similar to this one he may run far better than his morning line odds. Enders Cat (4) has been in good form in this championship meet after being in over his head in the Claiming Crown Iron Horse he’s gone on to win and run a 2nd at this level last out so this one is a logical to consider in the multi race exotics. Mal Guapo (8) is one that has shown speed in his career and is 8 of 25 lifetime at the mile distance and will be cutting back for this one while keeping the services of Edgar Zayas for this one.
We move back to the turf for a 7 ½ furlong sprint for maidens with a claiming price of $20,000. Howdy Boy (2) is coming off of a race that was taken off the turf but was able to show speed in his 2nd start of the winter meet and has done so previously on turf so I like the angle the connections thought of last out cutting back and with an attempt cutting back on grass perhaps it’ll be the combination needed to get to the winner’s circle. Crest of Eden (1) will be making his 7th attempt to break his maiden after 6 main track races that have seen two 3rd place finishes but not much else. Although the connections are 0 for 9 with 1st turf I do like that the pedigree has shown success on the turf and in a race, that appears to be pretty open is worth a look at a morning line price of 15-1. Cabin John (12) has shown form well enough to win this race and at a morning line of 9-5 will more than likely be the favorite at post time for this one however as I’ve mentioned before an outside post at this 7 ½ furlongs can be a very tough place to have success and perhaps this one can do that but it is something to be wary of.
Our first stakes race of the day comes here in the form of the 7-furlong grade 3 Swale for 3 year olds. My SHOT OF THE DAY will be Strike Power (6) who was a VERY impressive winner in debut at 5 ½ furlongs on December 23rd winning by 8 lengths and after looking at the replay looked like he was just starting to get going as he neared the wire so I would believe a stretch out shouldn’t be much of a concern. The beaten favorite that day did go on to finish 2nd and then won next out so all signs point to this Speightstown colt being a tough one to beat. Tricks to Doo (2) has ran like the heavy favorite he’s been in his last two winning a maiden special weight at Laurel by 5 ¾ lengths followed by a 7 ¼ length victory in a stakes race at Tampa. Jose Ortiz elects to ride this one over others which is always encouraging. Piven (4) last time out was a 4 length victor in the Limehouse stakes on January 6th and will look to keep his winning ways stepping up to graded stakes company.
We move back to the turf for a claiming $16,000 7 ½ furlong sprint. This race finishes the early pick 4’s and 5’s as well as starts the middle pick 4. Little Baltar (6) will look to get into the winners circle for the 2nd time in this championship meet after winning on December 16th and then finished 2nd by ½ a length while being drawn to the 11 post so a move away from the extreme outside will hopefully prove to be the difference. Ousby (5) has also ran well at this claiming level while going longer so perhaps a cut back in distance will prove to be the key to getting back into the winners circle. Megeve (12) was the victor in his last out appearance against Little Baltar and it’s encouraging that Saez maintains the mount but will need to deal with that outside post draw to be victorious.
The 1 mile grade 3 Sweetest Chant is a turf race that Chad Brown has won the last 5 years and although there are plenty of capable horses to try and break this winning streak I’m thinking he’ll be making it a 6th just like the New England Patriots will be doing on Sunday. His winner you ask, well that is Data Dependent (4). This horse has been in the stable mail since his debut this past August at Saratoga where he had to steady and swerved 6 wide and then had a tremendous final kick and that kick has carried over. Last out he ran a close 2nd in the grade 3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar. Expect this 3 year old filly out of More Than Ready to sit off the pace and pick up the pieces for the victory. Salsa Bella (5) is the other Chad Brown filly that is shipping in from France and will be running for the first time with Chad Brown who is 23% in 43 starts with that angle as well as 25% with horses making their debut in North America. Thewayiam (1) was victorious last time out in the Ginger Brew stakes at Gulfstream park and will look to see if she can continue to improve but she may need her best effort yet to compete with the Brown duo having finished 11th in the Jimmy Durante at Del Mar.
The rainbow pick 6 starts here with a 7 ½ furlong turf maiden special weight. Variant Perception (6) is a 3 year old colt out of Curlin who will be making his turf debut for Chad Brown who is 26% with this angle. Castellano remains the mount and this is a typical type of race where the move to turf could lead to a big improvement over the two previous efforts. Cyber War (11) is a War Front colt that will be making his debut for Christophe Clement and has Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. The works on the dirt are consistent and the pedigree promotes the ability to win on the turf and if anyone can maneuver from a bad post position on the turf it is Irad. Love Sick Kitten (2) is another first timer that is coming out of the Michael Maker barn with Jose Ortiz in the irons. With these connections and a colt out of Kitten’s Joy you can always anticipate the ability to deliver at first asking.
The late pick 5 kicks off with a 6 ½ furlong maiden special weight contest and out of the field of 11 entrants only 2 have experience and although I do prefer taking a horse with experience the outside draw for Machismo I found myself going elsewhere in the Todd Pletcher 1st timer Dream Friend (1) who has been training well at Palm Beach Downs and will have top call jockey John Velazquez in the irons and although the inside post for a 1ster can be tough but I’ll lean on the workouts and connections for this one. Wisely (3) will look to repeat the effort of Mark Hennig’s 1st timer from last Saturday in Cache who had a dominate performance. This 3 year old colt out of Candy Ride has a 5 furlong bullet workout at Gulf Stream Park to his tab working 59.4 out of the gate and as I mentioned last week Hennig hasn’t started many at this meet but when he does he’s had them placed well and with this one getting Irad Ortiz in the irons could be another successful first out for this barn. Machismo (10) gets the advantage of experience but didn’t show much last out and with the outside draw the connections will have to hope this colt out of More Than Ready can clear the field with a great early start and get to a spot to save some ground and hold on for victory.
The late pick 4 begins with a 1 mile Allowance Optional claiming race on the turf. Attribute (2) is one of will be making his second attempt at this level on the meet after being run down last time out. Irad Ortiz retains the mount and Danny Gargan has been limited in his starts at this meet but as of the printing of my form on Thursday was 4 of 6 on the meet so look for this one to try and take this race gate to wire. Tipsy Kitten (1) finished just behind Attribute last out and was 2 ¾ lengths clear of the 4th place finisher so with any improvement this one could find himself in the winner’s circle. J.S. Choice (6) will be making his first start since the end of the Saratoga Meet but has been training well for the new barn in Dale Romans and Romans is 17% win rate at the 1st time with trainer angle and is 16% off the layoff so perhaps he can get this 4 year old out of Congrats to fire off the layoff.
The ladies start out the final three graded stakes races of the card with the 38th running of The Forward Gal for 3 year old fillies at 7 furlongs on the main track. Miss Mo Mentum (7) has won two straight including a 8 ¾ length win in the HutHut last out at Gulfstream Park. You have to like the ability for this filly out of Uncle Mo to win on turf and the main track as well as a sloppy track and will retain Gaffalione in the irons while cutting back in distance. Heavenhasmynikki (3) is undefeated in 2 career starts and will be making her debut in graded stakes competition however perhaps this one is getting better with every start and will have the red hot Luis Saez in the irons. Take Charge Paula (4) won on the same day as Miss Mo Mentum on a sloppy Gulfstream main track in the 6 furlong House Party and will be stretching out in distance but out of the three I have listed has the best early speed which at Gulfstream Park with their short stretch run is often crucial to having success.
The final turf race of the day is the 10th running of the grade 3 Dania Beach set for 1 mile. Gidu (7) has a win over the Gulfstream Park turf and could be one that is greatly improved and is out of a young sire that has had shown some success of his foals on the turf in Frankel. Untamed Domain (6) will come into this race the favorite being a graded stakes winner and a runner up in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf which is where this 3 year old Animal Kingdom colt last raced. The Graham Motion barn will look to make the 2018 debut a winning one. Speed Franco (1) is 2 for 3 at Gulfstream Park including a stakes win in the Pulpit but will need to run his best race of his career to pull off the upset.
The nightcap is the 29th running of the Holy Bull and not only will there be a $350,000 on the line but will also be worth 10 Kentucky Derby points to the winner. Free Drop Billy (2) comes into this one with possibly the most question marks as he was unable to get a victory during the Saratoga summer meet finishing a close 2nd as the favorite in both but then came back to win the Grade 1 Breeder’s Futurity at Keeneland but then was unable to do much in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. Romans changes jockeys to Saez and the bullet workout on January 27th will hopefully point to this colt out of Union Rags getting back into the winners circle. Pony Up (8) is a Todd Pletcher trainee who has spent the majority of his career on the turf but must be thought highly enough by the connections to give a try for some Derby points and the one race he did have on the dirt he ran a close 2nd back in his debut. Velazquez gains the mount and perhaps this will be a future Derby contender for the Pletcher barn. Enticed (1) is 2 for 3 in his career and has yet to be off the board and is a graded stakes winner for Kiaran McLaughlin who will send Rosario to wear the Godolphin silks and may be the favorite at post time.
|50¢ Race 1 Pick 5 $45|
|50¢ Race 2 Pick 4 $30|
|50¢ Race 5 Pick 4 $36|
|50¢ Race 8 Late Pick 5 $60|
|50¢ Race 9 Late Pick 4 $30|
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