With five graded stakes races scheduled for Saturday, Gulfstream Park is once again the track that serious horseplayers will be targeting this weekend. Saturday’s card gets underway at 12PM ET and you can watch coverage live on XBTV.com beginning at 11:30AM ET.
XBTV gives serious horseplayers an edge when betting the races by providing live, on-site commentary and insights you can’t get anywhere else. Lean on their team of experts, including Richard Migliore, Aaron Vercruysse, Millie Ball, Jeff Siegel, Zoe Cadman and Christina Bossinakis to get the inside scoop on Gulfstream Park.
Here are my ‘key horses’ for Gulfstream’s five stakes races, along with my bets for each race and my recommended Late Pick 4 ticket.
RACE 5 (2:05PM ET) – RAMPART STAKES (GR III) – 1 MILE (DIRT)
- #3 Lewis Bay (Brown/Ortiz Jr.) – 7/2 – 4YO filly has been off 13 months but has run huge in races like the KY Oaks (3rd), Mother Goose (2nd), Gazelle (1st) and Demoiselle (1st). Brown does a superb job with layoff horses and a one-turn mile should suit her perfectly. She’s the play in a relatively shallow pool.
- #7 Gamble’s Ghost (Carroll/Velazquez) – 12/1 – She’s been a force at Woodbine (4-for-4 on their main track this year), but struggled in her only conventional dirt race (4th in an April allowance at Keeneland). That race was off a layoff, so I’m willing to give a pass. I like that Carroll ships her to Florida – that tells me there’s more in the tank and that Keeneland snafu shouldn’t necessarily define her chances on the dirt.
- #1 Curlin’s Approval (Alter/Saez) – 8/5 – On paper, she checks all of the boxes. 7-for-10 at Gulfstream, 2nd in this race last year and has run against top competition for the last year. I’m just extremely leery of her up-and-down career. One day she wins the Princess Rooney by 4 ½-lengths, the next month she’s 6th in the Ballerina. Last out, she was 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She does always bring her A-game at Gulfstream, which keeps her in the equation.
- My Bet: $2 Trifecta – Lewis Bay / Curlin’s Approval, Gamble’s Ghost / Curlin’s Approval, Alpine Sky, Nonna Mela, Gamble’s Ghost ($12)
RACE 7 (3:05PM ET) – SUGAR SWIRL STAKES (GR III) – 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
- #8 Rich Mommy (Barboza/Saez) – 12/1– Love the draw for this former claimer, especially on the heels of three wins in four races. Saez will be able to stalk and pounce from this spot, and she just gives the impression of a filly who is getting very good for an underrated local barn.
- #7 Pretty Perfection (Breen/Juarez) – 9/2 – I’m a big fan of the racehorse this filly has become, transforming herself from a 5-furlong turf sprint specialist to a main track contender. She’s 2-for-2 on the dirt this year against allowance horses, so this will be a nice test.
- #1 Dearest (Zerpa/Zayas) – 6/5 – Rail-drawn speed filly has been off since July and it seems she’ll have to break running to get position. If she clears, she’ll be hard to catch, but True Romance (Paco Lopez) is quick and has an aggressive rider aboard and Girls Know Best rarely fails to make the lead in the first quarter. She’s against it from a flow perspective.
- My Bets: $5 Exacta Key Box Rich Mommy / Dearest, Miss Hollywood, Pretty Perfection, Bodacious Babe ($40)
RACE 8 (3:35PM ET) – MY CHARMER STAKES (GR III) – 1 MILE (TURF)
- #5 On Leave (McGaughey/Ortiz Jr.) – 7/5 – Game filly has won 6-of-13 and finds herself in a field void of much talent. She loves going a mile (3-for-5) and while the connections were undoubtedly aiming higher for her 2017 campaign, she has bankrolled $236K in six starts this year, far more than any of her rivals.
- #8 Gianna’s Dream (Maker/Gaffalione) – 6/1 – She looks like the lone potential upsetter to me. I admire her consistency (9-for-17), but those races came against lesser comeption, although she did run 3rd in both the G3 Violet this year at Monmouth and Aqueduct’s Winter Memories last fall.
- My Bet: $15 Exacta Box – On Leave, Gianna’s Dream ($30)
RACE 9 (4:05PM ET) – HARLAN’S HOLIDAY STAKES (GR III) – 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT)
- #3 Destin (Pletcher/Velazquez) – 5/2 – Pletcher has been virtually unbeatable at Gulfstream an dsends out Destin, who finds a field that he should be able to navigate. He won the G2 Marathon two back and while the water last out in the G1 Clark (he finished 6th) was too deep, this race should suit him perfectly.
- #2 Mr. Jordan (Plesa/Zayas) – 4/1 – Hard to find a reason to bet against him, outside that abysmal 0-for-8 local record. I should note that he has been 2nd three times here, however.
- #8 Flatlined (Dickey/Rosario) – 6/1 – He’s just 1-for-5 on the dirt (no placings to note) and that win came in a 2016 off-the-turf allowance at Ellis. Not exactly a hotbed. He ran against some nice turf horses in 2017 (Suedois, Divisidero, Beach Patrol, Heart to Heart, Wake Forest, All Included) and performed decently. Interesting that the connections try the dirt here instead of his more logical spot (on the grass in the Tropical Turf) and if they’re curious to see what happens, I am too.
- My Bet: $5 Exacta Key Box – Destin / Mr. Jordan, Flatlined ($20)
RACE 10 (4:35PM ET) – TROPICAL TURF STAKES (GR III) – 1 MILE (TURF)
- #7 Blacktype (FR) (Clement/Rosario) – 2/1 – He’s one of the more consistent horses in this game, and while his form has fallen off a tad, he’s still an honest horse with a solid kick. He won the G2 Knickerbocker at Belmont in October and Rosario has guided him to wins in two of his last three starts. This is a deep field, though, so I recommend spreading your ticket here.
- #5 Galton (Maker/Gaffalione) – 10/1 – I’m backing Mike Maker in both turf races, simply because the guy always seems to deliver. This one has finished in the Tri in 11-of-14 starts at this distance and couldn’t have been better in a win at Gulfstream Park West last time out.
- #4 All Included (Pletcher/Castellano) – 7/2 – He’s incredibly logical, but he’s also the type of horses that needs a perfectly-timed ride to get the job done, as evidenced by him being just 1-for-11 since September 2015. He has run well at Gulfstream, but he’s been away since May and should need a start or two. You have to figure the target is the G1 GP Turf Handicap, not this race.
- My Bet: $1 Trifecta Box, Blacktype, Galton, All Included, Shakhimat ($24)
LATE PICK 4 TICKET
Gulfstream’s Wager Menu is bolstered with all of the bells and whistles, including a 50-cent Trifectas, a Late Pick 4 (Races 8 – 11), a 15% Takeout Late Pick 5 (Races 7 – 11) and a 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 6 – 11). In addition, they offer rolling Super Hi-5’s on every race.
Here’s my stab at the Late Pick 4, which includes three graded stakes races.
Race 8: 5, 9
Race 9: 2, 3
Race 10: 4, 5, 7
Race 11: 5, 6, 7, 11
Ticket Cost ($1): $48.00