by Brian Nadeau
January 18, 2018
The $16 million Pegasus World Cup may be on the immediate horizon next Saturday at Gulfstream Park, but when the Rainbow 6 is boasting a carryover of well over $2.4 million as I type this Wednesday evening, there’s little doubt what’s front and center on the minds of handicappers. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a challenging sequence Friday afternoon, while also expanding the bankroll a bit more than my typical $40-$100 play.
Race 5: MSW for 3yof going 7 ½ furlongs on the turf
With post position at a premium at this odd (to say the least) distance, it’s best to look inside, especially when it seems that #1 EXPECT AN ENTRY may shake loose on the lead off a trio of sprints, and will appreciate the drop out of open MSWs. The likely main chaser is #3 TROPICALITY, who has been on or just off the pace in her last two, has the benefit of a few two-turn tries and will get first run as well. If it melts down, then #6 SMARTY SMART looks like the best stretch runner, and even though she lost to a few of these last time, she should benefit off what was her local debut. The stalking #5 SOUPER STRIKING beat stablemate ‘Smarty last time and looms in the mix, though the gut says this gal may be better suited to one-turn. If you’re swinging bigger than I am, certainly you can use #2 So Fresh, #7 Bienville Street and #8 Babaknowsevrything, but my budget doesn’t allow it, and they all seem a bit more of a reach than the quartet I’m going with.
Rainbow 6 horses (listed in order of preference: 1-3-6-5
Race 6: 12k/N1X Optional-Claimer for Florida-bred 4upfm going 6 furlongs
Under normal circumstances I’d single #4 R NEXT ROLL, who looks loose on the lead, and move on, but normal this is not, as she not only hasn’t started since breaking her maiden in April, but she only shows one published work and Ziadie has 7-pound apprentice Donis booked, a jock he’s never used before. So, while she’s picked on top, there’s enough warning signs to look elsewhere, which is why I’ll also use #8 STARSHIP REINA, who has tactical speed and figures to get first run should the pick come up wanting off the long break. If I had a deeper budget, I’d add in #5 My Cotton Rose, who has a similar profile to ‘Reina and did just air here against lesser.
Rainbow 6 horses: 4-8
Race 7: 50k MCL for 3yof going 6 furlongs
The first of back-to-back deep spreads, I’m going to use five here, as I have no opinion, trust no one and want to ensure I’m alive. If you looking to narrow, #2 TRICKIZAR is my top pick, only because I think she can get to the front in a race that doesn’t have a ton of true sprint speed. The horse to beat is obviously #8 MISS SOPHIA’S STAR for Pletcher, but she’s burned money in both starts and doesn’t rate much of an edge on paper, and you know she’ll be potentially half the price of this 3-1 ML and a potential single on any budget tickets.
Rainbow 6 horses: 2-8-1-3-5
Race 8: 6.25k Claimer for 4up going 6 furlongs
I’m tabbing another five-pack here, as this race screams chaos and, much like the 7th, I trust no one and have no strong opinion. If nothing else, I’m expecting an honest pace, so my top pair—#8 FUELEDBYDRAMA and #4 SILVER SHALIS—are both proven stalkers who have shown they can run on a bit in the lane. The race profile also fits #6 LEGACY AZTECA, who will like the drop in class too, while #5 JOURNEY’S END, #2 UNLEASH HIM and especially #1 Mo Bourbon all seems like underlays who could get caught up in the pace.
Rainbow 6 horses: 8-4-6-5-2
Race 9: 50k/N2X Optional-Claimer for 4ufm going 6 furlongs
There are a lot of reasons to single #4 SPICE LADY, as she looked sensational winning here off the long layoff for Pletcher, drew perfectly outside her two main pace rivals and could improve off that dynamite return, but there is a ton of speed signed on, and just maybe she gets caught up in it. (As an aside, I’m sure a lot of people will notice that Velazquez “chose” #1 Nonna Bella over Spice Lady, as they are both Pletcher-Repole fillies and he’s ridden them in all seven career starts combined. But I don’t get into jockey’s musical chairs, and it’s quite possible he was riding this filly regardless of who was running, or before he knew Spice Lady was running. With that being said, Nonna Bella takes all the worst of it here and seems like a dicey proposition as the inside speed off a May layoff while facing older for the first time too.) Soooo, back to the task at hand, I’m tossing in #8 STELLA PERFORMANCE at a big number, as she could be the prime beneficiary of an intense speed duel and was hardly disgraced in the GIII Sugar Swirl last time.
Rainbow 6 horses: 4-8
Race 10: 25k Starter-Allowance for 3fs going 1-mile on the turf
The finale isn’t easy, but with some spreads early, I’ll narrow late and use #6 FABRIANA and #9 SPICY NELLY, as they face several recent maiden winners and can settle and punch home in a race loaded with speed. The latter beat the former comfortably last time but drew poorly and may not have the upside of the pick, who was making her turf debut last time, off a four-month layoff as well. Deeper tickets should include #11 Baby Alidett and #10 Venezuelan Forever, but neither got any help by a pair of brutal draws.
Rainbow 6 horses: 6-9
R5: 1, 3, 5, 6
R6: 4, 8
R7: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
R8: 2, 4, 5, 6, 8
R9: 4, 8
R10: 6, 9
Ticket Cost: $160