Thanks in large part to Falling Sky and Narvaez, today was a very profitable day. Hoping to turn it into an even more profitable weekend, I will reinvest a portion of my winnings in a very interesting late pick 4 tomorrow at Gulfstream Park. Three turf races and then the Grade 1 Donn Handicap ... what more could a handicapper want?
Race 9 – Maiden Special Weight 1 1/8 miles Turf – Pretty wide open heat, with many of the field of 13 in with a chance to win. The one I like best comes from the Roger Attfield barn, Storm Now. Paco Lopez gets a return trip after not seeing much go right in her local debut. Having said that, the daughter of Tiznow still only lost by less than four lengths, and I'm looking for marked improvement in her second start of the year. The horse just to her outside, Overtone, actually defeated my top pick on Polytrack at Woodbine, and has been working well on the lawn in advance of her turf debut for trainer, Mark Casse. Another with a big shot in here is first-timer, Closer to You. Bred to be a good one, the Christophe Clement trained miss comes from the right barn to be ready to win on the turf.
Race 10 – Claiming ($30,000) 1 1/16 miles Turf – The weakest of the four races, I will be eliminating horses I really don't like, rather than trying to say which of these fillies will get the win. After scratching them off, I was left with: Very Playful, Tie Dye, Love That Kelly, Sapphire Blue, Almost an Angel, and Bear's Dixie as the possible winners. Of them, I like Sapphire Blue the best.
Race 11 – Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Grade 1) – This one is a bit of a sticky wicket as far as a Pick 4 play. On the one hand, I believe in Summer Front. He is one of the best middle distance turf runners in the nation; check the 8-of-13 lifetime turf record. While I think that there is a great chance that Jersey Joe Bravo boots him home to yet another win, I also see this nine furlong distance as possibly a scooch farther than his optimal distance. There is also a field full of potential upsetters. Every horse in the eight horse field has a right to win this, including the longest shot on the board, Lochte, who is getting better with each and every start, and absolutely exploded home in his latest.
Race 12 – Donn Handicap (Grade 1) – Listen, I'm a big admirer of Will Take Charge. He's certainly one of the best horses in America, and if he runs his best tomorrow, he should win. But, and this is a big but, from a pure wagering standpoint, he is not a good bet tomorrow. Likely to be odds-on against a solid field, he is making his first start of the year, and at a distance probably a bit shorter than his best. Throw in the fact that there is not a lot of pace in here, and Gulfstream is a track that generally is tough on late-runners, and it all seems a good recipe for an upset. Several could turn the trick, but the two I like best should both have attractive odds. Whether you believe Romansh tipped off his future with a huge Discovery performance, or you believe Lea revealed a real liking for dirt with his easy Hal's Hope score, both are eligible to be this good. They both also should be withing striking distance in the early going, which could well play into a large payoff in the Pick 4.
The Play – I’ll go with a pair of 50-cent Pick 4’s for a total of $73.
4,6,10,13 / 10 / ALL / 2,6,8 = $48
10,13 / 1,3,9,10,11 / 5 / 2,3,5,6,8 = $25