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Across the Board with Mike B

Gulfstream Park: The Holy Bull Pick 5

Wicked Strong
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

This Saturday at Gulfstream Park the Pick 5 is highlighted by the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes. The 2014 Kentucky Derby Trail will kick off with a bang down in Florida as this year’s edition is absolutely stacked. I am anticipating this should be an awesome rendition of one of my favorite stops on the Derby Trail. The field is loaded with talent and I am almost positive we will see a few of today’s entrants in the starting gate at Churchill Downs come the first Saturday in May. As for the sequence as a whole I thought it was pretty manageable. There are a few tough turf races that I plan on spreading, but other than that I believe I have a few solid opinions. The action kicks off with the Grade 2 Forward Gal for 3 year old filly sprinters going seven panels on the main. Let’s dig into this thing…


Race 7 – The Forward Gal – I think this is a one horse race. I will be singling Todd Pletcher’s filly Onlyforyou. I just feel that she is on the improve and that no one else in here really scares me. She has done everything right in her first two starts and she should get the seven furlongs just fine. I expect her to sit a real nice pressing trip and I predict she will advance her record to three for three. As for the rest of the field, I think they will really have to improve to beat her. I think she is a pretty safe single.


Race 8 – I found this to be a pretty tough race. There are not a lot of trustworthy individuals in here. So, with that said, I ended up going five deep. I will use Apologize, Forget That Gal, Wholelottashakin, Kipling’s Joy, and First Acquital. My top pick in here is Wholelottashakin, but she can’t be trusted. She has burned money lately while settling for minor awards. The reason I like her so much though is because she is getting the shades off for this, and also getting a much better post. She broke from the twelve hole last time, in a field of twelve, going today’s same trip of 7 ½ furlongs. With the short run up to the first turn, that is not the post you would like to have. I also like that Jose Lezcano is staying aboard. I hope the blinkers off angle will wake her up a little and she can finally cross that line first.

As for the others, I used Kipling’s Joy due to the fact she gets a trainer change and the services of Javier Castellano. She is coming in off of a layoff and trainer Martin Wolfson has excellent stats for both new acquisitions, and with horses coming back off of a vacation. I expect she will run well. I am taking a shot with both Apologize and Forget That Gal. The former is trained by Michael Matz, goes second off the layoff after a return sprint on the dirt, and is trying the green again. As for the latter, this four time winner goes out third from the layoff following a pair of sprints. He is coming back off a short rest of six days, a move trainer Tevis McCauley has pulled off well recently. It may be a bit of a reach, but she does own a win at today’s trip and distance. And lastly, First Acquital, she is a nine time winner who is coming in off of a win against 30k claimers. I think she must be left in the discussion. If I had to trim it down, I would use only Wholelottashakin and Kipling’s Joy. Like I said in the beginning though, this is a tricky race. Good luck.

* One I think could hit the board at a huge price is Negrita Tata. She gets a major post position upgrade for this. I know her last was against lesser, that’s why I didn’t include her on the win end, but she may run well enough to fill out a Tri or Super.


Race 9 – I went deep in this maiden turf route. I will use five of them to survive. I couldn’t get a handle on this one at all. I will use Hunting Hill, Archangelus, Calm Water, Guard the Lines, and All Star Kitten. If All Star Kitten had drawn well, and not last of twelve, I might have singled her. But, she didn’t, and that’s why I loaded up this race. As for the other contenders I used, I won’t go into too much detail, but I used angles that have the tendency to produce improvement. Calm Water and Guard the Lines were included because they are getting Lasix for the first time. I went with Hunting Hill with the hope that going long on the turf will wake him up after having a couple of sprints on the poly at Keeneland. And as for Archangelus, you must respect any Graham Motion starter going long on the turf. He is the master at this.


Race 10 – The Holy Bull – What a fantastic way to kick off the Derby Trail down at Gulfstream. This is, at this moment, by far the most talented field we have seen assembled in a prep race to date. This is a very exciting bunch that has a lot of potential. With that said, I am going to single here with Wicked Strong. I have a feeling that he is going to run a very nice race. He is coming into this off of a layoff and I absolutely love his workout pattern. In his last three works, he has a pair of quick five furlong drills and another stamina building drill at a mile. After watching The Remsen, which was a very weirdly run race, I felt he was moving best at the end. He gets the services of Javier Castellano in this spot, and if he is anywhere near that 8/1 morning line, I am going to hammer him at the windows seven ways to Sunday. If I had to add another it would be Cairo Prince, followed by Coup De Grace. I cannot wait to see this race.


Race 11 – In the night cap, a turf route for 16k claimers who have never won two races lifetime, I will single Charade. He is coming in off of a layoff and has proven in the past that he can fire fresh. He has been working fine for his return and I believe Jason Servis should have him ready to roll at first asking. I expect him to either be on the lead, or just off of it, in a race with very little pace. I expect a very nice effort from him today.


The Play – I am going to play a fifty cent Pick 5 for $12.50. I know that is on the cheap side, but the biggest score of my life did come on a $12 Pick 5 at Gulfstream a couple of years back. I will go 3 with 3-6-7-8-9 with 4-5-7-8-12 with 8 with 10.


As always, I hope I gave you some confidence in your own selections, or turned you onto something you may not have thought of. Enjoy The Holy Bull everybody and have a winning day. Good luck!




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Older Comments about Gulfstream Park: The Holy Bull Pick 5...

Matt, you have no idea how happy that makes me. I am so glad I helped you get through that leg, an I am pumped you hit the Pick 5. Nice handicapping, brother!! Especially with the Nihei Forster in the night cap
Last weekend, Michael did exactly what he says, "turned me onto something i may not have thought of." In the Sunshine Millions Pick 5 I used one of Michael's picks in leg 2 and it won at 8-1. Otherwise I wouldn't have used the horse.

 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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