Race of the Week 2017

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Gulfstream Park opens July 1 with a Bang

Gulfstream Park 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Gulfstream Park will be off and running tomorrow. To get the meet started with a bang, Javier Castellano, John Velazquez, Joel Rosario, Edgar Prado and Joe Bravo will be in attendance to ride, meet and greet and sign autographs. Gulfstream is also donating $20,000 to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The jocks will ride in seven of the eight carded races.

Most of the day's racing consists of claiming events, although races five and seven are carded as allowance/optional claiming. The fifth race, a $25K Allowance/Optional Claimer for horses three and up, contains twelve rivals, including two main track only entrants. Some of the colts are former stakes runners or are underachievers from good families.

Chuffed to Bits (5-1) is out of the multiple graded stakes mare Laurafina. He's raced only three times and this is his first time stretching out. He's coming off of a 52 day layoff for a new barn. The drawback? Trainer Collazo is 0-18 with horses making their first start with his barn.

Heiko (5-2) is out of a stakes winning half sister to the sire Cactus Ridge and multiple stakes horse Sebastian County. A $385K Keeneland September yearling, Heiko has spent his career placing in allowance and optional claimers. He's finished in the money in three of his last four starts and just missed by a nose in his last race. Joel Rosario picks up the mount on the free-running colt.

Cozy Kitten (8-1) is the class of the race and is one of five entered for a tag. The five year old gelding placed in the Bourbon Stakes (G-3) at two and was third in the Oak Tree Derby (G-2) as a three year old. He's a full brother to stakes winner Sisterhood and stakes placed Becky's Kitten. Cozy Kitten won his second to last start and stretches out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time since the Oak Tree Derby (G-2). The Alvardo barn wins with 16% with turf runners.

Winner Jak (20-1) is out of a half sister to Stop the Stage, a multiple stakes veteran. He hasn't hit the board since last November, but Winner Jak had a slight excuse in his last start and made up 5 ¾ lengths during the race. He'll be making his second start with the trainer and the Nobles barn is 29% with that angle.

Sky Masterson (20-1) is a ¾ brother to Super Derby (G-2) hero Fantasticat. Their dam Lotta Dancing is a multiple graded stakes veteran of over $300K. The last time Sky Masterson raced at Gulfstream, he was up to win by ½ a length.

My D'Oro (6-1) is a full brother to Cassidy's Pride, winner of the Harmony Lodge Handicap at Gulfstream. Their dam is a multiple graded stakes veteran of over $340K. My D'Oro recently won his maiden in an off the turf Maiden Claimer. John Velazquez takes the ride. Trainer Estivez is seeking his first winner from 20 starters with next out maiden winners.

Forever Conga (3-1) is a half to a Gulfstream Park stakes winner Stay Red. Their dam Stay Forever earned over $900K on the track. She's a G-2 winner and the heroine of the 2003 Sunshine Millions F & M Turf Stakes held at Gulfstream. Edgar Prado piloted Forever Conga to a win at Gulfstream in January.

Main track runner Joshua's Comprise placed in three juvenile stakes races last year at Calder, including the Florida Stallion Series Affirmed Stakes.

The eight year old veteran Unbridled Heat is also entered for the main track. As a youngster he was no stranger to the Florida stakes set, placing in six starts.

Heiko appears to be the lone speed in here. He dueled the entire way in his last start gong 1 1/8 miles over a good course as the favorite. Marty Wolfson wins 33% next time out with beaten favorites and Joel Rosario will slow things as much as possible up front. Sky Masterson appears to be the only horse who can put pressure on Heiko. He could possibly sit in the catbird seat then unleash his run before the rest gear up. He's used this tactic successfully in the past. At 20-1 he's worth an exotic play. Another worth a closer look is Winner Jak. He was gaining at the end of his last race and he's making his second start off of a layoff. The barn is 0-7 in turf races, but could be worth an include in the exotics.


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Great promo getting all those jockeys to come down for Monday racing.

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Meet Laurie Ross


I've been around horses for most of my life, working in racing stables as a hot walker and exercise rider in my teenage years, and later as a volunteer with rescued and retired racehorses. I became interested in pedigree when the sons and daughters of my favorite horses started their racing careers.   


For more than a decade, I've passionately studied pedigree, how it applies to handicapping and breeding theories. In 2010, I joined Horse Racing Nation as their Pedigree Analyst, focusing on juvenile stakes winners, Triple Crown contenders and first crop sires from a handicapping perspective.   


In 2011, I accepted the role of South Florida Coordinator and Advisory Board Member for the national non-profit Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association (ThoroFan). Working closely with Gulfstream Park management and other race fans, we created a ThoroFan Chapter at Gulfstream Race Track. Our main project is assisting Thoroughbred rescue and re-training groups.


I continue to maintain my website Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds and blog of the same name. As a pedigree consultant, I specialize in assisting small to mid-size breeding/training operations with broodmare breeding reports, sales catalog analysis and recommendations on claims and private sales. 10 - 20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue and retraining groups.
I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic please contact me at lross@horseracingnation.com.

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