by Brian Nadeau
December 29, 2017
While the Pegasus World Cup is still a month away, and the Triple Crown preps have yet to begin, Gulfstream park rarely disappoints on Saturday, and this week is no different. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the last five races, with an eye towards the Pk5.
R7: The Tropical Park Oaks for 3yo fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf (first division)
You have to think #3 DREAM AWHILE is going to improve in a big way for Chad Brown, as this is her second stateside start off a July layoff and her comeback at Aqueduct last time was a perfect tightener for this. She also gets a big boost because her two main rivals, #9 WESTIT and #11 STORM THE HILL, both drew poorly to the far outside. I respect them both, but Dream Awhile has a ton more upside and looks poised for a breakthrough.
R8: 3up 16k N3L going 1-mile on the turf
Another race where post position is big, as drawing outside at this trip is practically an eliminator, which is why #3 BURNING WILD is a big threat off the Navarro claim, though a horse that is 2-for-72 lifetime needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For whatever reason, #4 DISCO MAN has really turned the corner in his last three starts and any one of those efforts makes him a player here. And if he’s a threat, the #5 PERP has to be too, as he was beaten a neck by Disco Man the last time he ran on turf two-back. Obviously #7 ROCCIA D’ORO is a big player, and he’ll probably go favored with Jose Ortiz riding, but I can guarantee Mike Maker didn’t plan on claiming him for 30k and laying him off for 367 days, so tread very lightly here.
R9: The Tropical Park Oaks for 3yo fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf (second division)
This is far and away the deeper and tougher division of the Oaks, and narrowing the contenders is going to be tough, so you may want to simply draw a line in the sand and go with who you like best, as it’s kind of the ole “Use one or use them all” type of spot. I’m going to use that approach with #7 I’M BETTY G, as she gets some huge class relief after running very well in a trio of graded stakes. Her tactical speed is a big bonus too, over a course that flatters her style. From there, you could use anyone, as #1 Lido broke through with a lifetime best last time and doesn’t meet anyone like Rubilinda here; #2 Taperge has always been classy and beat’ Betty two-back; #3 Ghostly Presence threw down a big number on the turf two-back and Roget Attfield has brought a live group of horses with his from Woodbine and #10 Speighgal may have drawn poorly, but she ran out of her skin last time when winning and has the look of the “now” horse.
R10: The Via Borghese for 3upfm going 1 3/16 miles on the turf
Another toughie, with #9 BEAULY seeming the gal to beat off the close 4th in the GI Flower Bowl when last seen in October, though you could also make the case she needs this and is only prepping, so I wouldn’t want to stand alone with her. I’m going to go with #1 DARING DUCHESS, who may have some hidden form, as you can excuse the 1 ½-mile run last time, when she didn’t make the lead, and the run two-back was over yielding ground. It also looks to me like she’s loose in here, and Jose Ortiz is very adept at taking advantage of those kinds of circumstances. I’d be a little leery of #11 Promotional, as her lack of speed is a worry, and #3 Galileo’s Song is a proven refuser, and you know you’ll get no value with her, so tread lightly. You could do worse than #2 Martini Glass, though demand value, while #4 Texting seems a bit second tier and will likely be an underlay.
R11: The Tropical Park Derby for 3yos going 1 1/16 miles
You have to think this is the spot #3 PROFITEER finally gets a stakes win, as he’s been in good form while facing tougher and now meets a group that he should be able to handle. Drawing inside only adds to his appeal. From there things get a lot murkier, as the other potential favorites are all drawn terribly wide, as #11 Secretary of War, #12 Small Bear and #13 Funtastic all took the worst of it at the draw. All three can win and are big threats, but with Profiteer likely a better horse anyway, and drawn tons better, I’m apt to single him, which will also allow for more coverage early on.