Picks for Gulfstream Park – February 6, 2013

Notes:

Gulfstream couldn’t have put together a more challenging card for us dreamers hoping to hit the Rainbow 6 today ($1.4-million carryover). There are some very large and evenly-matched fields. There are a few races on the card loaded with speed, which could potentially burn out some of the chalk and open the door for a bomb. Remember, I’m looking for those long shots and tend to handicap with value in mind. So, if you like a favorite that I haven’t listed, you might want to keep the horse in combinations with my selections.

I’ve highlighted my favorite plays in BOLD.

Race 1:  4-5-2-7-9

Seems like a wide-open race. I can see a scenario where some of the outside speed gets caught wide. There are a few horses sitting right behind the pace who’ve shown the ability to kick late, namely #4 Island Scholar (8-1) and #2 Malibu Wave (12-1). Then again, if #5 Perfect Trippi repeats his last out performance off the layoff, no one is catching him.

Race 2: 1-5-4

A short field with several who like to run on or near the lead. Race sets up for #1 Escrow Kid to set the pace if he breaks cleanly. Several will likely press him from there, including #4 Discreet Dancer dropping out of a respectable G2 performance and cutting back to 6f from 1 mile 1/16. Ultimately, I think Sean Avery sits a clean trip and nips the frontrunners at the wire.

Race 3: 7-3-1-2

Off a monster maiden breaking performance last out, #1 Nevada will take a lot of money. If he posts anything near the 91 Beyer he did last out, he’ll win by double-digit lengths again. But don’t think that’s going to happen facing winners for the first time. I’m going with #7 Defend, who just missed against similar company last out while running 4-wide. I also like #3 Modern Owl (8-1) to find his way onto the board after an impressive maiden debut.

Race 4: 9-3-6-4

My top pick, #5 Beach Master, scratched out of this race, bumping me down to my second choice, #9 Hard Enough (8-1). There’s a chance #3 Smash and Grab could wire this field but I went with #9 thinking that the surface switch and distance drop should play to his advantage. Also, last time he ran on dirt was in a $100k stakes races at Laurel. Think he fares better against these $50k claimers.

Race 5: 1-4-10-8-9-3

Welcome to the Rainbow 6! This race has the potential to kill just about anyone who isn’t hitting the ALL button. I went with a logical choice, #1 Matagot. While the horse’s maiden debut last Summer at the SPA was nothing to write home about, note that he was in tight and steadied. He comes in fresh with solid connections, top jock and trainer who hits 35% with maidens/second start. If you’re playing exotics and looking for a price, #3 Acadian Connection (8-1), #4 Music Critik (10-1) and #9 Make A Decision will each be double-digit odds with a shot.

Race 6: 8-4-3-2

Lower level claiming race could fall apart depending on who shows up to run and how much speed is flashed early on. Looking for a price, I landed on #8 Wildcat Honey (6-1). This filly ran well on the poly at Arlington throughout the Summer and I’m willing to forgive her performance off the layoff while going wide last out. She lands a new jock and I certainly expect her to be charging late. Can’t discount #4 R American Girl off her last either.

Race 7: 11-9-12-2-3

Francisco Maysonnett doesn’t ride often at Gulfstream Park but when he does… he prefers hitting the board. Seriously though, #11 Sweet Bernie does appear to he best combination of speed and staying power in this race. It’ll be interesting to see how #9 Mize The Big Cat breaks and how wide both #9 and #11 are around the first turn. If they both clear, I expect the race to be the two of them all the way with #12 Tritonk (12-1), #2 Jordan’s Image (8-1) and #3 Brave Apache (15-1) hanging around for the minors.

Race 8: 8-4-5-1-3

Watch #8 Money Money‘s last few races. She’s in great form and has been kicking late. She ran much better than her line would indicate last out, finishing 6th at this level. The pace of that race was brutally slow and she wasn’t even asked for run the last 200 yards or so. Another interesting horse is #4 Call the Ten, shipping in from Golden Gate, where she took home the silver in four straight $34k + allowance races. Watch the board. Would definitely include #1 Fives and Nines (8-1) and #5 Dracup (6-1) in exotics and larger late P3 tickets.

Race 9: 1-5-7

Another race where my top pick, #2 Houston Bull, scratched. So again, I dropped down to my second choice, #1 Won Fast Bullet (6-1). The horse has proven durable and is always competitive at this level, 3/4 in the money at GP too. It’s very possible that #5 Spin Zone runs away with this race off his impressive 97 Beyer last out (a figure that’s 14 points higher than his next closest competitor in this race, Won Fast Bullet – 83). But Spin Zone hasn’t run since last May and should get some serious pace pressure from #7 Wharton and possibly a few others.

Race 10: 12-2-4-3-9-1

One first time starter and 10 others who’ve run just a few times with mixed results. The most promising of the bunch seems to be #12 Frosty Royale. The horse stretches out from 5f to a mile and drops down to the $35k maiden claiming ranks off a decent run for $50k  at Calder. If I’m building tickets, I’m boxing this horse with several long shots. A few options are #4 Lucky Empress (8-1) while adding blinkers and trying the turf for the first time and #3 Decision to Run (10-1), who oddly jumps up in class after tiring in several lower level races. Note that the barn does hit 18% the first time trying turf.

Good Luck!

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