Pegasus week at Gulfstream gets started Wednesday with an excellent nine-race program. Here are my plays for my five favorite heats on the card.
Best bet: Downton Tabby (race 5)
Best value bet: Wicked Mercury (race 9)
No. 6 Buc N Beauty (3-1, morning-line favorite) showed good speed on debut before flattening in the lane. She scales back a 1/16th, adds Lasix, and drilled a bullet ahead of this one. No. 5 Valia (9-2) sports a solid work tab ahead of her unveiling and lures Jose Ortiz, but Michael Matz (3 percent) has been chilly at the meet. No. 9 Tinkatwo (5-1) goes for a good first-out trainer in Michael Yates (17 percent). The daughter of Cajun Breeze – whose runners can be precocious – flashes decent works and gets Miguel Vasquez (17 percent) aboard.
How I’d bet it (based on a $100 budget): $8 exacta 6/5, 9
No. 6 Live Like Laura (3-1) was caught late in a similar spot when last seen, but speed figures suggest she can atone. Note the addition of Lasix too. No. 8 Avatal Hero (3-1) has endured wide trips against tougher – the post may not help, but the class drop could. No. 4 Pink Party Pants (5-2, morning-line favorite) takes a big drop for potent connections in Danny Gargan (26 percent) and Irad Ortiz Jr. (26 percent) – obvious contender.
How I’d bet it: $2 trifecta box 4/6/8, $4 exacta 6/4, 8
No. 7 Java Buzz (9-5, morning-line favorite) goes first time out for Kelly Breen (27 percent) and switches to Irad Ortiz Jr. The NYRA invader’s return works are sharp ahead of the drop in with state-breds. No. 8 Due Vini (5-1) was a game winner over this course when last seen, consider. No. 4 Uncle Armando (9-2) is 3-for-4 lifetime on the Gulfstream turf course – logical player.
How I’d bet it: $12 exacta 7/8, $8 exacta 7/4
No. 1 Downton Tabby (2-1, morning-line favorite) dominated slightly weaker company when last seen and goes first off the claim by Jose Delgado (28 percent) – will be tough. No. 7 Silky Warrior (8-1) won her most recent start on synthetic, and her last race on turf should be ignored due to a nightmare trip. No. 6 Hot Bode (7-2) has three in-the-money finishes in her last five tries at this level.
How I’d bet it: $24 win 1
No. 1 Wicked Mercury (3-1) should appreciate the 1 1/16-mile trip more than most in this field based on her last two efforts – the pick landing Jose Ortiz in the finale. No. 3 Shes the North (5-2, morning-line favorite) seeks her third straight win, but her 5: 0-1-2 record at this distance is a bit concerning. No. 8 Dontmesswithtess (7-2) was less than a length behind the top choice in her most recent turf try – hard to toss with six in-the-money results in her last seven, including three victories.
How I’d bet it: $10 exacta 1/3, 8
Robert Criscola is a free-lance handicapper based in New York.