Before we get to Sunday’s late Pick-4 at Gulfstream (update – off the turf, which accounted for three of the four legs and cancels the play), which is a nice sequence, Saturday was an exceptional day of racing at Gulfstream with high quality maiden and allowance races, plus some good stakes racing (we’ll look back at some of that racing in a post early in the week), capped, of course, by the brilliant Arrogate crushing the field in the Pegasus World Cup. Unfortunately, California Chrome was not his usually-elite self (it was reported later he had some swelling in his knee but is on track for his trip to Kentucky where he will begin a new career as a stallion).
Arrogate earned a 116 Beyer figure for his performance, a 4 3/4 length win over Shaman Ghost. Neolithic was third and Keen Ice was fourth.
On the morning of August 27th, Arrogate was readying for the Travers, 3-4, obviously talented, but clearly untested. In five months, he’s won three straight Grade-1 races, a 10.5 length drubbing of the Travers field, a 1/2 length win over Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Breeders Cup Classic (when that one had a clear lead down and looked home free at the 1/8th pole), and yesterday’s romp. Arrogate’s rise has been quick, to be sure, but thrilling. I can’t wait to see where he shows up next (though unfortunately it probably won’t be the Stymie – I laughed).
I have thought for awhile now that the best horse I’ve seen (I’m 32) as a fan (not necessarily in person) has been Ghostzapper (being at Belmont for his Vosburgh was amazing and one of the most eye-catching performances I’ve gotten to see in person). I don’t know if that’s true anymore. But either way, that would be some race!
As for our betting, our spot plays were mostly terrible. I thought Rainbow Heir won the turf sprint at first, so that was a tough beat, though Power Alert was the best on the day, up close chasing wide on the very fast pace which fell apart. Our Pick-5 play fell short by the head of Sadler’s Joy in the McKnight. Had he gotten up to beat Taghleeb, we would have had it for 50-cents on a 3A/2B ticket (it paid $342 for 50-cents with 5-1 Taghleeb winning, so maybe it would have been around $450 or so if 8-1 Sadler’s Joy had gotten up). Oh well. In retrospect, we probably should have taken a stand one way or another on Arrogate/California Chrome, which would have let us include some others earlier. But, that’s horse racing. On to the next day!
Sunday, January 29 – Gulfstream Late Pick-4
UPDATE (12:56 pm) — All races are now off the turf. In this sequence, that is races 9-10-11. Hopefully, they re-draw and bring them back next weekend, as they are some pretty interesting races. This play is cancelled.
Race 9 – The sequence begins with a optional claimer for fillies and we like #6 Camaria (6-1) in the first leg. The short comment says “2p w/in range, no kick” but if you watch the replay, she was stopped cold in the lane with no chance as runners swept past her on the outside. That was a much better effort than it looks on paper and we prefer her to the other two horses (#5 Always Thinking, 4-1 today after being 41-1 last time, and #8 Golden Delicious, 8-1 with an outside post after an inside trip last time). We’ll use #4 Moon Over Paris (7-2) as our other “A” with Camaria. She set the pace in the Always Thinking, Camaria race that collapsed and improved last time in what was probably a tougher race. I’m suspect on #2 Sweet Ella (9-5), who beat weaker with a good trip last time, but you have to use her. Our longshot use is #7 Lady Ekati (15-1) who is getting to do what she wants – go long on the turf (her dam is a G2 winner doing that). Her one turf race doesn’t look very good, but she set a fast pace that fell apart in a stakes race in just her third career start. 2-4-6 are “As.” 7 is a “B” and #3 Biamonte (8-1) who has some good races but did no running at all last time, is a “C.”
Race 10 – #10 Ice Cutter (5-2), the morning line favorite, scratched, opening this race up. There is some speed on paper, and we’ll spread. The main uses include #3 Class and Cash (9-2), who drops out of the Claiming Crown Emerald where he set the pace and switches to Javier Castellano. #4 JR’s Holiday (15-1), who adds blinkers and is second off a layoff dropping out of the Tropical Park Derby. He will need a collapse but could get one, and I like the switch to Tyler Gaffalione. #9 Aire Bueno (8-1) also drops out of the Emerald where he was stuck chasing wide from post 13. Likely favorite #6 Tale of Fancy (7-2) is a tricky read as he is dropping out of longer races and I wonder if the sharper pace will hurt him. He’s won at the distance, but it’s also reasonable to wonder if he, like #5 Heyaarat (15-1) is prepping for something longer. We’ll also use #1 Blackout (10-1) who draws inside after pressing the solid pace set by the impressive Conquest Enforcer in the Grade-2 Mathis Brothers Mile at Santa Anita. 3-4-9 are “As” and 1-6 are “Bs.”
Race 11 – This is where we are going to take a stand. #2 Clyde’s Image (9-2). He drops out of the Grade-3 Dania Beach for trainer Tom Bush and ran very well in that race. Drawn on the outside in the field of eight, he was 4-wide into the first turn and wide into the far turn, making the first move after the pace-setter. He held well, finishing second to graded stakes winner Made You Look. Clyde’s Image ran 26 feet farther than the winner, 52 feet farther than the third place finisher and 58 feet farther than the fourth place finisher (per Trakus). Today, he draws inside and should get a nice ground-saving trip in this weaker field. Clyde’s Image is our lone “A.” We’ll use #5 Pagliacci (7-2) as a “C.” While he didn’t beat the best field in his debut, he did so as a Bill Mott first-time starter, so he has a license to improve. However, this entire pick-4 revolves around Clyde’s Image.
Race 12 – The card and this sequence closes with a one-mile maiden claimer ($12,500). #4 I’m Thirsty (7-2) switches to Jorge Navarro and drops from maiden-35. #7 Spring for More (4-1) found 8.5 furlongs too long and 6 furlongs too short – maybe this one-turn mile will suit. #9 Dressed in Heels (8-1) is first off the claim by savvy connections (Midwest / de la Cerda). Finally, #6 Faena (20-1) is a second time starter that blew the break in his debut against a tougher field than this one. Trainer Antonio Sano is 15-72, $2.84 ROI going sprint -to-route on dirt with maidens (DRF Formulator). 4-7 are “As” and 6-9 are “Bs.”
Here is the play (DRF TicketMaker):