by Jerry Shottenkirk
December 16, 2017
Talented horses are jumping into the mix more and more as Gulfstream Park’s season is full throttle, and today’s action includes five Grade 3 races that are outstanding in their own right and stepping stones to even better fortunes later in the season.
Three of those Grade 3s are among the featured late Pick 4 here, including the My Charmer (8th), Harlan’s Holiday (9th), and the Tropical Turf (10th), before the card is finished off with a solid straight maiden race.
Prior to this Pick 4, the Grade 3 events are the Rampart (5th) and Sugar Swirl (7th).
Here’s a look at the races in this sequence:
My Charmer S. (8th)
The My Charmer kicks off the sequence with a solid favorite in On League. She’s the 7-to-5 morning line choice off her closing 3rd in the G2 Goldikova on Breeders’ Cup weekend at Del Mar. The Shug McGaughey trainee is 11 of 13 on the board with six wins. Hot-riding Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has won half of his six mounts here, has the luxury of being on a filly that really doesn’t have a preference as far as positioning during a race. She has shown speed but also has been able to come from off the pace.
Two up-and-comers are in off strong performances and will be included on this ticket. Southern Gem won at Woodbine in her last attempt and is willing to take part in the early action here. It’s never a bad thing to pick up Javier Castellano for the journey and this one should be able to take advantage of an inside trip.
Gianna’s Dream has won three of her last four, including her last two at Remington Park and should be able to overcome the outside post and can be in the hunt throughout.
Harlan’s Holiday (9th)
Veteran campaigners meet on the main track for the Harlan’s Holiday and there are plenty to use here. Making the cut on this ticket are Mr. Jordan, Destin, Page McKenney and Flatlined.
Mr. Jordan had what amounted to a glorified workout last time as he creamed a group of Florida-breds in the Million Classics Preview. The company is much tougher this time, but he’s displayed an ability to hold his own vs. open foes.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is hitting at nearly 50 percent during the first couple of weeks of the season and is represented by Destin, who was outrun in the G1 Clark at Churchill but fits very well here. Mid-Atlantic workhorse Page McKenney is always a threat, having won 20 of 52 starts, and Flatlined moves over to the main track and is a legit upset threat.
Tropical Turf (10th)
Tower of Texas is not stranger to mile turf races and has been very competitive in such races. He comes in off a win in Woodbine’s Labeeb and earlier won the G2 Connaught Cup over the same course.
Camelot Kitten is honing in on the $1 million mark in career earnings and a win here will put him over the top. He hasn’t won since Oct. 16 but has had only three starts this year and looks ready to round into form.
Blacktype has been running well and was a sharp winner of the G2 Knickerbocker two races back. He ran out of real estate in the Artie Schiller at Aqueduct but likely will be able to stay closer to the front in this one.
This is a maiden race, but it’s a good one. Forgotten Coast, Boru and Dr. Bombay are on the ticket, and the survivor of his turf route for 2-year-old will have earned it.
Forgotten Coast was 2nd in two races at Churchill Downs and looks more than ready to get to the winner’s circle. But this is not as easy spot as he’ll have to beat the like of Boru, who didn’t fire in his 1st at Belmont but is likely to show great improvement here, and Dr. Bombay, a first-time Street Sense gelding with a string of good works.
Here’s the suggested Pick 4 ticket:
Race 8: #2 Southern Gem, #5 On Leave, #8 Gianna’s Dream.
Race 9: #2 Mr. Jordan, #3 Destin, #5 Page McKenney, #8 Flatlined.
Race 10: #1 Tower of Texas, #2 Camelot Kitten, #7 Blacktype.
Race 11: #2 Forgotten Coast, #5 Boru, #11 Dr. Bombay.
50-cent Pick 5: 2-5-8 with 2-3-5-8 with 1-2-7 with 2-5-11 ($54).