Gulfstream Park has a $97,000 carryover in their 15% takeout late pick-5 on Saturday. Let’s take a shot.
Race 8 – Maiden Special Weight – 3 yo, 7.5 furlongs, turf
12 horses and six first time starters to open the sequence. Of the horses that have run, the two best seem to be #7 Disruptor (12-1) and #9 Donwell (5-1). We’d prefer Disruptor of the two. He ran here on New Year’s Eve and was having a very good trip until he got blind-switched at the top of the lane as the eventual winner swept past and drifted in. Paco Lopez steadied, looked around a bit to make sure nobody else was coming in behind, and by then it was too late. Lopez didn’t persevere once his chance to hit the board and momentum were gone and he could have been a lot closer. Donwell put in a big run in his debut at Belmont and was definitely green, but that was a yielding turf and it seemed like a collapsing pace. Plus going 7 1/2 furlongs with no speed is probably not ideal. Of the first time starters, #3 Escape Velocity (4-1) is probably the top one. By Lemon Drop Kid, he sold for $125,000 as a weanling. The dam won twice on turf. Most importantly, it’s Chad Brown and Javier Castellano for Klarvich Stables. #5 Dr. Corday (6-1) debuts for Kiaran McLaughlin. He is a half-brother to the outstanding turf sprinter Lady Shipman. Still, the dam was a sprinter and the best sibling is a sprinter. #10 Wannabeaplayer (9-2) has the best turf figure of those with a start, but he was aided by a slow pace in his debut and is drawn outside. #6 Hieroglyphics (6-1) is trained by Todd Pletcher and has one disastrous dirt sprint (on August 6th) to his name. He removes blinkers, switches to turf, and stretches out for his second start. I think you just hit the reset button with him here, and being by Pioneer of the Nile he should be able to handle the turf. #1 Rocketry (10-1) is a first time starter for Jimmy Jerkens that likely needs a start, but he cost $450,000 as a yearling and is by Hard Spun out of a turf-winning dam by Smart Strike.
3 and 7 are As. 9 is a B. 1, 5, and 6 are Cs.
Race 9 – Suwanee River Stakes (G3) – 4/up F&M, 9 furlongs, turf.
The favorite is #6 Sandiva (5-2) in possibly the final start of her career. We’ve always been skeptical of her as she has been aided by a lot of very good trips. Still, she always runs well here (4-7 with two seconds and a third) and ran well again last time to win the Marshua’s River, albeit with another perfect trip. We’re still a little suspicious but obviously she has to be considered. Still, at another short price, we think there are more interesting ideas. #9 Goldy Espony (3-1) comes in on a 14-month layoff for Chad Brown. She got good in 2015 as a long-distance specialist and is likely prepping for a stretch-out in this race. At a short price, she’ll beat us.
The top pick is #1 Sea Coast (6-1) who got beat by a half-length to Sandiva last time. But in that race, she had to chase strong front-runner Isabella Sings, had to dive inside, and was pretty game while Sandiva had a perfect inside/out trip. We liked Sea Coast last time (she’s had to chase Isabella Sings a few times and last year also didn’t run well either time on rain-softened turf). She draws perfectly today, should get firm turf, and seems ready to break through. We’re also using #5 Elysea’s World (8-1) if she runs here (she is cross-entered at Tampa Bay Downs, where we’d bet her too). She’s a genuine 9-furlong horse that ran well on December 29th to win an allowance in her first start off a three-month layoff). She hinted at some potential last year but was in some tough spots (including being forced out of her usual late-running style to press On Leave through slow fractions in the September 17th Sands Point and stumbling at the start behind Time and Motion and Catch a Glimpse in the Lake Placid). #8 Dickinson (4-1) has run a few decent races since moving to turf, but we thought Sea Coast ran a little better last time out of the same race and she didn’t draw especially well here either.
1 and 5 are As, 6 & 8 are Bs.
Race 10 – Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) – 4/up, 9 furlongs, turf
We’ll narrow it a bit here. #6 Divisidero (2-1) is much the horse to beat. We’ve always been fans and he ran fine last time in the Fort Lauderdale off a six-month layoff, rallying late for third. He should move forward off that race and relish the extra half-furlong to a mile-and-an-eighth. We think he has a chance to be a top US turf horse this year. That said, we also want to use #2 Almanaar (6-1). He was off slowly last time but still put in a big late run to just miss in the Fort Lauderdale. He draws well in the two-post and should be in a good spot behind a likely moderate pace. #3 Lukes Alley (6-1) won this race last year but it was a much easier field (though he had a tough trip in the Fort Lauderdale last time). #4 Beach Patrol (5-2) should be in a good spot pressing (or setting) a moderate pace, but ran in straight three-year old races last year and faces elders for the first time at a short price.
2 and 6 are As. Everyone else knocks us out.
Race 11 – Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) – 4/up, 8 furlongs, dirt
#7 Sharp Azteca (5-2) is likely very loose here and is the top pick to wire the field. His last two races are very good, burying the field in the City of Laurel (at…Laurel) in November on a fast pace and then running big in the Grade 1 Malibu, forging another fast pace, putting away his pace rivals, and succumbing only late to Mind Your Biscuits, the third place finisher in the Breeders Cup Sprint. The only other horse fast enough to go with him early is #8 Awesome Banner (12-1), but they would likely have to be on a hard send to pass Sharp Azteca early and it seems likely they’ll try to ration him a bit on the stretch-out. #1 Tommy Macho (5-2) ran a big 105 Beyer in the Hal’s Hope last time, but was totally all-in on the turn and looked like he was done. His two prior races were not very good, but he’s 2-3 with two big graded stakes one-mile wins at Gulfstream. I’m a little skeptical but I think you have to use him somewhere. Speaking of the Hal’s Hope, we really liked #6 Realm (15-1) in there, and he was sitting a perfect trip before fading, no match for Tommy Macho. On the surface, it was a bad race, but at 15-1, we’ll throw him in. #5 Zulu (3-1) was a hot horse here last year, running second in the Fountain of Youth before bombing in the Blue Grass. He won a restricted stakes on December 18th, but will really have to jump up to win here, especially considering the projected pace scenario.
7 is the lone A. 1 is the B. 6 is the C.
Race 12 – $16,000 Claiming – 4/up, 7.5 furlongs, turf
This is a real skull-buster to finish out the sequence. The top pick is #1 Star Contender (6-1). He had a wide-isa trip last time before getting stuck in a bit tight early in the lane. He’s drawn near the outside the last three times, but draws the rail here and goes first off the claim for Tino Attard with Javier Castellano retaining the mount. #12 Candy at My Place (10-1) is second off the claim for the excellent Mike Maker. He ran third against tougher last time in a starter allowance race, pressing the pace that collapsed in a good performance. He should like the cutback from 8.5 to 7.5 furlongs, but of course we wish he drew better. #2 Hidden Vow (5-1) found that same starter allowance race to be a bit too tough, but his previous races at this level here and at the $25,000 level in New York were good, plus he’s drawn very well. The horse we don’t want is #3 Seuss (9-2). He ran find to win last time (but on good turf, not firm), and that was a race where the second, third, and fourth place finishers were 11-1, 21-1, and 57-1. Plus, he was claimed away from 21% trainer Jane Cibeli to an 0-11 barn and will get bet off the 90 Beyer he ran at the Meadowlands on October 13th, but in that race, he was aided significantly by a strong rail.
We’ll try to get alive to 1-2-12 as our three As.
Here’s the play from DRFTicketMaker. It’s $96. Good luck!