Gulfstream Park Derby Analysis

December 31, 2013 08:14am
Gulfstream Park 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire

As we say our goodbyes to the holiday season and 2013, Gulfstream Park will help us ring in the New Year with the Gulfstream Park Derby for newly turned 3 year olds. A field of nine will celebrate their birthday by going 1 mile on the main track as the Derby Trail officially begins. From a handicapping perspective, this was a tricky nut to crack. Is it as easy as the two morning line favorites? Or can we expect improvement from a few prices? Let’s take a look at the field and try to figure this thing out.


1. Wildcat Red – I am viewing this one as a pace factor only. I have 2 major concerns with this guy. One, I don’t like the fact he has the rail. He may have to be sent early to secure position and I worry that may take its toll in the later stages of the race. And “B”, I’m not sure the extra distance will help. He seemed to get a little leg weary in his last which caused him to drift out and eventually get DQ’d from the win. He may cause trouble up front for the other speed horses, but I can’t see him taking top honors today.


2. Gone as Wind – I was kind of torn on this one. He ran ok in his last while racing in tight quarters where he sat pretty close to a decent pace up front. He goes 2nd off the layoff here and has a right to improve. With that said, I am still a little leery of his chances. I don’t like the fact he wore front bandages for the first time in his last. He still ran ok, but it’s still something that I do not like to see. He also has not posted a work since his last start. Although it’s only been couple of weeks, I would have liked to have seen him on the tab. I give him a small shot on the win end, but I will limit his use to underneath in the exotics personally.


3. Enthrone – I can’t make a case for this guy so I will save my breath. I could see him maybe rounding out the Tri or Super, but I feel like even that is a stretch.


4. Aarons Orient – This Pletcher trainee may hold the key to the race. He is coming in off of a freshening after he had horrendous trouble leaving the gate in his last. He gets the services of Javier Castellano here and has been working well for his return. He should set the pace or be right up on it. You must respect the connections here, he is a must use in multi-race wagers I believe. With that being said, and while I expect him to run well, there is cause for some concern. He may face some pressure up front and he has never been a mile before. We also don’t know how he came out of that bad stumble in his last. So, while I feel he is a must use in the multi-race wagers, he is no lock on the win end. It’s a very tricky call on this guy.


5. East Hall – I will use this one underneath in the exotics. I was tempted to make him a win candidate, but after watching the replays I wasn’t that impressed. I didn’t like the way he did not switch leads in his last start. So, while he does seem to like Gulfstream and he is proven at the trip, I think the best he can do is filling out the Tri and Super.


6. Pablo Del Monte – I am against this speedy Wesley Ward charge. He gets the shades off today while trying dirt for the 1st time and I’m just not sure how he’s going to handle it. When in doubt, you must leave out. I do feel he could reek havoc on the pace picture. If he reverts back to his tactics in his 1st 2 starts, that would hurt the chances of the other frontrunners. He also has the “cool name” factor going for him. Sometimes horses with cool names take more money than they should otherwise. With a name like Pablo Del Monte, you don’t get much cooler than that. I hope I’m right in being against his chances to win, and also that I’m right that he takes more cash at the windows than he deserves.


7. Best Plan Yet – I found this guy to be a pretty logical and deserving morning line favorite. He is coming in off a freshening for trainer Stanley Gold and he retains the services of Jeffrey Sanchez. He is definitely a win candidate and if he has moved forward and matured since October, he will be tough to beat. This race may be as easy as singling him, but my gut tells me he is no lock. Maybe he was just more mature than his foes this summer and fall at Calder. While a must use, he is no cinch.


8. Grand Arrival – Here is my long shot play. This Nick Zito trainee was facing much better in New York while trying his luck in the Champagne and Nashua, respectively. He did flash speed briefly in those 2 races and that may bode well for him today. I like that Jose Lezcano saw fit to get in the irons and I think he has a shot to make some noise at a huge price. He might have been thrust into stakes competition just a touch too soon, but what that says to me is that maybe the connections thought highly of him. While his only win came in the slop, I think we may have a live bomb on our hands here. At 20/1 on the ML, I am going to include him as a win contender.


9. General a Rod – I was baffled by this one, but I kind of like him. He got a perfect set up in his maiden breaking win while closing into a wicked pace at Keeneland. Then, they added blinkers (which I don’t like to see after a win) and he pressed a quick pace at Churchill while being 2nd best that day. Usually, I’d be against a horse with those credentials. But for some reason, I feel like he is going to run a nice one today.  He drew well for this and I like the jockey switch to Joel Rosario. If Joel can get him to relax, sit right off the pace, I think he could be dangerous.


The Play – I found this race to be pretty tough and I have no super confident play here. I am hoping someone stands out in the paddock or post parade so I can feel a little better about my selections. As is though, in multi-race wagers, the only way I would be completely comfortable is if I went 4 deep. I would use Aarons Orient, Best Plan Yet, Grand Arrival, and General a Rod. As for playing it straight, I will play a small exacta keying Grand Arrival and General a Rod on top, with that pair along with Aarons Orient and Best Plan Yet underneath. I may throw a small win wager on Grand Arrival as well if he is anywhere near that 20/1 morning line.


As always, I hope I helped you folks sure up your own opinions or gave you something you may have missed. Happy New Year and best of luck, guys. I wish all of you a winning start to 2014.     



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Older Comments about Gulfstream Park Derby Analysis...

Lisa, I have saw your posts on him and I bet large on Pablo... I hope he does better next time. He looks like he has potential but he is a bit raw. @Floridaf, yes, I was impressed with how both of them finished. I was impressed with General A Rod's race more, though. He broke well. When they broke I thought he had the most natural speed. The jockey decided to take him back to stalk, which I thought was a perfect move. He got moved at the right time, his stride was nice and long, and he fought hard until the wire. I do want to see him perform without a perfect trip, which he got today, but his run against the speed bias was impressive.
Sulivan, he did the same thing with him in his last race on turf. He went to the lead and you can see him getting pulled back. Again, im not givin excuses, he was ridden the same way in his last race on turf. Pablo has speed and stamina comin out his butt and likes the lead.
I didn't think Kent pulled him back, I thought he got squeezed and panicked in between horses.
Im still trying to wrap my head around Desormeux pulling back Pablo off the lead after such a great break , brings him to the back then forces him 5 wide around the pack. I am not one for excuses when a horse loses but that was a horrible trip for Pablo. I still think this guy has something great.
I really liked the way the Wildcat Red and General a Rod finished. Neither gave an inch, and I'm excited about both going forward.
Solid run by the youngster, General A Rod. I like him. He sat content right behind the pacesetters, was moved nicely along the turn, and battled down the stretch with the front runner who had the advantage of the Gulfstream bias. I'm traveling to Florida tomorrow, to see family & friends, but also because I was invited to see Top Billing run by his connections (and hopefully get in the winner's circle like at Laurel). Hopefully I can see him in his stall @ Gulfstream. I'd love to meet this colt. He looks like a stud. @Mallios, really sorry about your father.
Pablo Del Monte was on the same perfect synthetic course performances with Shared Belief until his connections tried turf (and rightfully so) for his third race. Actually very happy to see that he wasnt fond of the surface and has since shown to be quite happy and content in his dirt workouts. If Pablo is 100% walking out onto that field today, his stamina and speed is so dominant here that hopefully all translates onto the dirt surface and he'll be on his way. This colt is seriously good.
Just now saw these. Tom, I am really sorry about your dad. Take care of yourself too.
Pablo worked a bullet on the dirt on 12/24. Less than 3 lengths behind Global View in the Generous. He will wire this race.
Sorry to learn of your loss tmallios...glad your feeling better.
I like Pablo Del Monte in the GP Derby. Like that he's fast. Don't care about the name.
Sure thing tom. Take care.
thanks Jay,got some much needed rest. just my throat is all out of wack. thank you for your kind words,and we will catch up shortly.
tom, I hope you were able to get some good sleep last night, and that you're feeling better this morning.
thank you very much to all for the kind words.
My prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.
Tom. I am so sorry for you with the loss of your father.
Sorry for your loss, tmallios.
Tom, So sorry about the loss of your father.
tom, very sorry to hear about your dad passing. I'm sure you haven't had a second of rest since Sunday. Hope the family is ok. Gotcha in the prayers. Talk to you soon.

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 Meet Michael Barry   


 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 


Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 


Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.


Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 


I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.

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