HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream has put together an excellent 14-race card on Saturday that features nine stakes races, and an excellent three-year old Maiden Special Weight.
Race 4 – The Very One (G3) – Fillies & Mares go 9.5 furlongs and #3 Daring Duchess (8-5), who wired a solid field when winning at this distance on December 30th, is the favorite. She’s the lone speed again here, with only #4 Holy Helena (7-2) and #5 Empress of the Nile (12-1) able to keep her honest. We are going to try #2 Westit (9-2), hoping she gets a little pace and an assist from one of Holy Helena or Empress of the Nile, and that the stretch out will help this daughter of Tapit. She seems to be heading in the right direction over her last few starts (she was very wide three-back, buried inside two-back, and last time maybe found the field a little too tough though she just ran ok there).
Race 5 – Sand Springs – #1 Celestine (3-5) is odds-on in her career finale but got beat as the favorite last time and is often overbet. We want to take a small shot with #3 Grizzel (5-1). As a three-year old, she ran a good race in the Belmont Oaks, pressing a fast pace and holding on for fifth. She had traffic in the stretch in the Colleen and then was thrown in against tough older rivals in the Canadian. Something went amiss in the Ontario Derby and she’s fresh for this one, plus she lures Javier Castellano. She might need one off the bench, but she’s the interesting alternative.
Race 6 – Palm Beach (G3) – #1 Speed Franco (3-1) won the Dania Beach last time and his two best races have been on turf with give in the ground, which he will not get today. #6 Therapist (5-2) is way too short a price (though Maraud will likely be the second choice). Therapist won the Awad with the most perfect of trips and might need one off the layoff. We’re not sure how good he is. #7 Hawkish (8-1) was very impressive in debut. The runner-up improved his figure two points in a win. The sixth place finisher improved 10 points in finishing second next out. We still, however, have some doubts about how good the field was that he beat and he could be the wise-guy horse. We’re leaning on #2 Maraud (3-1) in here. We really liked his allowance win on January 13th and while he got dusted by Speed Franco in the Pulpit, Speed Franco loved the soft going that day.
Race 7 – Herecomesthebride (G3) – #3 Thewayiam (2-1) hasn’t run especially fast and has won with two perfect trips in her two starts at this meet. We’re leaning on #4 Brattata (5-2) in multis. She had excuses in several of her starts at two (buried inside on October 7th, slow start, wide run on November 4th, and wide off good rail, wire to wire winner on December 3rd) before coming back to crush a maiden field on February 4th. This race starts the middle pick-4 and we’ll be leaning on Brattata.
Race 8 – Davona Dale (G2) – Shug McGaughey is sitting on 1,999 career wins and will be odds-on to get to #2,000 here with #8 Fly So High (1-1).
She’s been impressive in her two wins, though maybe was asked a touch early in the race here on January 4th. Because the prep for this one-turn mile is the Forward Gal at seven furlongs, they decided to wait for the Davona Dale so she’s in here off a two-month layoff. She’s obviously the one to beat, but we’ll take a small shot with #7 Cache (6-1) for Mark Hennig. Cache was pounded in the betting for her debut on January 27th, the Pegasus undercard, and ran very well. She was bumped at the start, took dirt, easily ranged up to the lead, and a bit green, still winning by 2 3/4 lengths. There are a few speed horses that might not want a mile in here, so we’re using #1 Sultry (8-1) and #2 Sunny Skies (10-1) underneath to spice up trifectas. This is a fun race.
Race 11 – This is an 8.5 furlong maiden race for three year olds and we can’t in good conscience take a short-priced horse from the 11 post going this distance, but we can take a 15-1 shot. #11 Hofburg (15-1) broke slow and was very wide making a big early move going seven and debut Labor Day weekend at Saratoga. Hofburg is half to Emollient, who was better on turf/synth, but it’s notable that Bill Mott gives him another shot here on dirt. #1 Personal Time (9-5) is the favorite, a full to Orb for Shug McGaughey. But like his brother, he’s a deep closer and maybe susceptible to a speed horse that gets the jump on him, like #2 Country Squire (5-1). Country Squire was part of the fast pace that set up He Takes Charge, and if we like that one in the Fountain of Youth (we do), why not Country Squire here? This race starts the late pick-4 and it’s a bit more complicated than just Personal Time at a short price.
Race 12 – Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) – #6 Favorable Outcome (3-1) makes his 2018 debut after a good second behind a moderate pace in the Malibu on December 26th. #9 Mr. Jordan (5-1) is very interesting turning back, which he has wanted to do. And we’ll throw in #7 Noholdingback Bear (10-1). While we’re a little skeptical he can get back to his big races from 2016, they are certainly good enough to win this and he’ll be a good price.
Race 13 – Mac Diarmida (G2) – If #1 Sadler’s Joy (7-2) gets beat in his first start since the Breeders Cup Turf, how can it happen? Perhaps it could be #2 One Go All Go (12-1) wiring the field. He faded a big in previous 12 furlong attempts but he’s a better horse now than he was then.
Race 14 – Fountain of Youth (G2) – Here’s our preview from the previous post.
Bonus – Aqueduct Race 8 – Busher Stakes – This one-turn mile is a local prep for the Gazelle, Aqueduct’s major Kentucky Oaks prep race. Peter Miller sends in #2 Royal Heroine (5-2) from California and she’ll try to stretch her speed to a mile. #3 Midnight Disguise (3-1) won the Busanda going nine furlongs last month. We’re playing, however, #8 My Miss Lilly (7-2), who was an impressive debut winner over this track and then ran pretty well when stalking a moderate pace in the Forward Gal. She stretches out, which will be no problem for this daughter of Tapit, and is drawn perfectly on the outside. We bet her last time in the Forward Gal, but it was only her second career start. That extra seasoning will help her a lot here. You’ll note that we think this could be a big day for trainer Mark Hennig, who has both My Miss Lilly here and Cache in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream among his three year old fillies.