National Racing Rundown
Thursday, March 1, 2018
by John Piassek
As the calendar turns from February to March, the usual slate of Thursday tracks will greet us. Notably, Gulfstream Park has two carryovers: the usual big carryover in the rainbow pick 6, but also a carryover in the late pick 5 of more than $116,000.
TRACKS RACING THURSDAY
GULFSTREAM PARK: 11 races, 90 horses, first post time 12:35 PM EST
FAIR GROUNDS: 9 races, 82 horses, first post time 2:00 PM EST
OAKLAWN PARK: 9 races, 93 horses, first post time 2:30 PM EST
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS: 7 races, 45 horses, first post time 3:45 PM EST
SANTA ANITA PARK: 8 races, 63 horses, first post time 4:00 PM EST
PENN NATIONAL: 9 races, 76 horses, first post time 6:00 PM EST
TURFWAY PARK: 8 races, 77 horses, first post time 6:15 PM EST
DELTA DOWNS: 10 races, 110 horses, first post time 6:40 PM EST
CHARLES TOWN: 8 races, 64 horses, first post time 7:00 PM EST
TOTAL: 79 races, 690 horses (8.73 per race), 13 grass races, 8 synthetic races, 58 dirt races
GULFSTREAM PARK (HALLANDALE BEACH, FL): 82*F, Sunny
FAIR GROUNDS (NEW ORLEANS, LA): 82*F, Partly Cloudy
OAKLAWN PARK (HOT SPRINGS, AR): 63*F, Sunny (rain earlier in day)
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS (ALBANY, CA): 53*F, Rainy
SANTA ANITA PARK (ARCADIA, CA): 60*F, Partly Cloudy
PENN NATIONAL (GRANTVILLE, PA): 50*F, Rainy
TURFWAY PARK (FLORENCE, KY): 48*F, Partly Cloudy/Windy
DELTA DOWNS (VINTON, LA): 74*F, Partly Cloudy
CHARLES TOWN (CHARLES TOWN, WV): 49*F, Rainy
CARRYOVERS OF NOTE
GULFSTREAM PARK: $1,868,835 carryover in rainbow pick 6, starts in race 6, post time 3:05 PM EST
GULFSTREAM PARK: $116,250 carryover in late pick 5, starts in race 7, post time 3:35 PM EST
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS: $17,386 carryover in golden pick 6, starts in race 2, post time 4:17 PM EST
FAIR GROUNDS: $7,055 carryover in Black Gold pick 5, starts in race 5, post time 4:05 PM EST
SPOTLIGHT RACES OF THE DAY
GULFSTREAM PARK RACE 10
POST TIME: 5:08 PM EST
The feature race at Gulfstream is a n/w2x allowance for older fillies and mares at one mile on the dirt. It’s not a very interesting betting race, but does have implications for the national racing scene. The 6, Salty, won the Gulfstream Park Oaks last year, and was grade 1-placed three times. She’ll make her first start since finishing seventh in the Cotillion Stakes in September, and is 3/5 on the morning line in the field of eight. No one is going to get rich betting on her. However, some might consider her a “free square” in the lucrative pick 5 and pick 6 sequences, and hopes to use this race as a launching pad for her 2018 campaign.
Should she be beaten, the 7, Tapella, is the most likely one to do it. She was a “late bloomer” of sorts last year, reeling off two wins in a row at the Belmont Park fall meet. After being well-backed in the Comely Stakes over Thanksgiving weekend at Aqueduct, she finished a well-beaten fourth. She’s been rested since then, and will make her four-year-old debut here, as well as her first start over the Gulfstream track.
FAIR GROUNDS RACE 8
POST TIME: 5:35 PM EST
This is a n/w2x allowance race for older males at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Ten horses are entered, plus two main-track-onlys, and three of them figure to get the bulk of the wagering action. The 2, Restless Rambler, is the slight morning line favorite, and is certain to show the most early speed in the field. He had a four-race winning streak snapped last out, when he was run down after opening up a three-length lead in the stretch. He was 2/5 in that race, and indeed, he has been well-backed in all of his recent tries. Facing tougher company than he’s seen in while, he will have to show some toughness to win this one.
The 6, Whiskey Bravo, will likely sit just off the early pace. He stalked the pace wide last out, but flattened out and ended up third. In the past, he has shown an affinity for the Fair Grounds turf, with seven wins from fifteen starts over the surface. He should be heard from late.
The 10, Sonoma Crush, made his turf debut an impressive one last out. He battled on the early pace, never let up, and continued to duel down the stretch to finish second, beaten just a neck, while finishing ahead of Whiskey Bravo. Look for him to press Restless Rambler on the pace early, then try to outrun that rival to victory.
TURFWAY PARK RACE 7
POST TIME: 9:15 PM EST
A n/w2x allowance for older males at one mile highlights the nighttime card in Kentucky, a card featuring an average of more than nine horses per race. The 3/1 morning line favorite is a horse making his second start off a very long layoff: the 3, Calm Pacific. As a seven-year-old last year, he reeled off two straight wins against similar at Turfway before being sidelined. He returned for the first time in eleven months last out, and finished fifth against $15,000 claimers going 6 1/2 furlongs. Stretching back out around two turns here, and with a race under his belt, he should turn in a peak performance here.
The 8, Mount Calvary, kicked off his 2018 with a dominating seven-length win against n/w3L claiming company. Last out, he was third at this level after racing very wide. He’s got a tough job in this race, breaking from the seven post with a short run to the first turn, but if he manages to save ground, he will be one to watch.