Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, February 18, 2018
There’s no stakes, but twelve races headlining today’s card at Gulfstream Park, with the first post time at 12:00 PM EST. We’re happy to have Paul Hundley (@vapaul67) providing FREE picks & analysis of the program. Be sure to give Paul a follow on twitter; he’s handicapped Florida and New York racing in the past, and he’ll be handicapping Gulfstream every Sunday of the meet.
Welcome once again to Sunday Fun Under the Sun hosted by Paul Hun(dley), AKA Gulfstream Park Sunday. We have another 12 race card so let’s dig into the action!
RACE 1: 7-1-5
Not getting too crazy here, 7-GLOBAL ENTRY has been 2nd his last two out vs Optional Claimers, last as the 8/5 favorite. Thinking favoritism goes to the Maker dropper on the rail 1-Soglio today. Think this is a race decided by the best closer, GLOBAL ENTRY is arguably that in here, and you could also argue his Jockey Castellano is as well. Also, while Soglio has won 2 straight, both were at 1 mile, not today’s 9 furlong distance. Still must respect immensely. 5-Kulin Rock broke maiden in last race and may find waters deeper today, but has only 3 career races.
RACE 2: 1-7-3
RACE 3: 8-2-5
Every step in life is a choice. Like here, should I go with a FTS or an runner that was competitive at the level? I feel like the Progressive Box, who has to decide between Habanero or Maui Onion (I’ve never had either). I went with the Habanero in this race. Take a 20% trainer with FTS like Victor Barboza, and add it to a Dam that has produced 7 winners from 7 starters and 2 stakes winners, I’m hoping that THAT formula equals a win today for 8-HO VINTO LO(Boy we take a long run getting here, didn’t we?). 2-Frank the Butcher was no match for XY Runner (not XY JET) last out vs today’s level, but showed he could compete. Angel Rodriguez 24% 2nd start with. 5-Into Belief does have sneaky early speed and with the big class drop could win for Jaime Mejia, who deserves better than 0/92 to start the meet, but hard to endorse on top at what will probably be a 5/1 range with a barn struggling that much.
RACE 4: 4-7-1
I’m horrible at figuring out early pace scenarios for turf races with no apparent early speed, and even worse at projecting the impact of it on the race. That being said, I’m going to do just that here! 4-MZIMA SPRINGS looks like to me only one of two in here that may want the lead early, was very close to a fast pace last out at a similar level going 9 furlongs. We’ll see early on if I’m right. 7-Warrior Hall was a million dollar yearling purchase and thus far a huge disappointment. On a personal note, was my pick right here on this site on my Birthday column last year and ran off the board. Takes Blinkers off after 1 very unsuccessful try with them. Very surprised this one isn’t a broodmare yet. 1-Magical Sky may challenge top choice on lead early but I’m thinking that Leparoux will come off the pace.
RACE 5: 6-5-8
I WANTED to too take the Mejia horse in here so bad, and it would not shock me at all if he wins, and I would love to see it. However, I’m hearing a lot of good things about 6-TIMBER GHOST in the morning, so this is where I’m landing. It may be too late in the game for the Kentucky Derby, but if he’s as good as I’m hearing being said, look for him later this year. 5-Belle Tapisserie was beaten 4 lengths last out in 2 nd career start and dirt debut but 7 lengths ahead of the Show horse(which I’m sure Vinny Di Virgilio had as his top pick that day). The Dam has 5 winners from 6 runners; yup, this one the lone blemish so far. 8-Striking Heir has flashed good early speed before wilting in both starts but switches to Irad today. Don’t forget the Pletcher FTS in here as well in 4-Zippy Ch… I mean Zippy Willy.
RACE 6: 5-6-2
Jane Cibelli seems to be the main character in this race. She has 1 entered here, but two other horses are coming in after being claimed from her. That being said, not going with any of the 3 on top, going with the Z Connection of Zayas and Ziadie on 5-DUBAI BOB, who looks, on paper, to be up front early and just won at a similar level last out. Is 5 for 12 at or approximate today’s distance, so really liking my chances here. 6-Frisky Magician can close and does have Jose Ortiz aboard but 5 furlongs may be too short.
RACE 7: 8-4
8-OCTOPYTHIUS, which sounds like the name of a SYFY Network movie about an Octopus/Python hypbrid, makes 2nd career start after running very evenly in debut, still beating home half the field. Eddie Kenneally is 25% in second career races, and switches to Jose Ortiz. 4-Gran Red was well bet in debut, did little, and is 1st off the claim for Charles Dickey, whom I still believe is related to Ryan Dickey despite denials from the latter Dickey. I’m still investigating this issue.
RACE 8: 1-8-6
Went with the numbers here, more specifically the trainers numbers. Learning all the time about these low level claiming races, and one thing that’s consistent is that it’s a trainers race. 1-MARTINI KID is 1st off the claim for Michelle Nevin(21%) and drops from 12.5k, which she’s 42% dropping off a claim. 8-Powerline will be on or tracking the lead early after coming back to a 1 turn mile from last out’s two turn disaster. Won at this level and distance 2 back. Barboza 40% 1st off the claim.
RACE 9: 3-10-4
I’m not sure if Managing Editor of Danonymous Racing, John Piassek thoroughly reads these columns before posting, if he does he probably let out an audible groan and did a slot-machine like rolling of the eyeballs with my top pick 3-BLOCKADE, who had a ton of hype last summer at Saratoga before his debut but has yet to break maiden. Has not ran horribly though, and has been allowed a few months to mature, plus gets lasix for the first time. 10-Unleveraged closed nicely in debut and gets Blinkers on today for Chad Brown(24%). 4-Empirically is 3rd off the layoff for Roy Lerman(26%).
RACE 10: 7-1-8
Let’s go THANKS MOM!
RACE 11: 5-3-7
This should be a very good race. Key questions here surround 3-Deeply Undervalued, who I doubt will be as such today. How will he run after almost a year and a half layoff, and why Geld a Grade 3 winner? 5-NILEATOR just missed last out at this level, though competition may not have been as tough as today. Still, Romans is 25% with beaten favorites and has his main guy Luis Saez on today, plus no way he ends up being the favorite. Last time we saw 3-Deeply Undervalued he was closing hard to win the G3 Commonwealth Derby (formerly Virginia Derby) at Laurel in 2016. Now comes in for Chad Brown as a FT Gelding, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before; a horse wins a Graded Stakes race and is gelded before next start. Obviously today isn’t the goal for this one, but may still be good enough to win off the bench. 7-Funtastic has only ran one bad race on turf.
RACE 12: 5-9-4-11
Not much to say here, except I’d like to see 12-Salute and Serve hit the board, only because I wanna see how his name is abbreviated in the running line next out. Have a great week everyone!
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