by Jerry Shottenkirk
January 20, 2018
Just as it was on Dec. 23 – the last appearance of X Y Jet – the late Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park is built around the gray or roan speedster. The Jorge Navarro runner likely will be odds-on in the $100,000 Sunshine Million Sprint, which is the 11th race and the third leg of the late Pick 4.
X Y Jet came off a 13-month layoff and beat open company in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes, going six furlongs in 1:09 2-5. It was his first appearance since a third behind Ivan Fallunovalot in the G3 De Francis Memorial at Laurel.
X Y Jet ran extremely well, despite appearing a big washy. He got worked up a bit as he prepared for the start but once the field was sent on his way, he took up his customary position right out front. Under Esimael Jaramillo, he got a little tired at the end, which can be expected after such a layoff, but was far enough ahead to held on. Also to be expected if a step up forward from that effort, which would make him extremely difficult to catch. He’s won 4 of 10 races and $331,890 and is 7 of 18 and $860,053 overall.
The first two in the sequence appear to be the most difficult. Florida-bred maiden sprinters open it in the 9th and it’s easy to spread in this one. The 10th race, which is the $150,000 Sunshine Million Fillies & Mares Turf Stakes is an outstanding race that could go many different ways, the 12th is a maiden-claiming race to end the day.
The opener could be the good spot for a healthy pay to kick it off. Lennox – a first-timer – is the 7-to-2 morning-line favorite in the 10-horse field, which is a testament to how wide open it is. Lennox is on the Pick 4 card, which also includes Dexter, Moon Pistol, Frankie Apps, C’Era Una Volta and Noble Drama.
Moon Pistol has a shot to do some good at a decent price. He ran dead last in her debut, which was a mile turf race. He had a horrendous trip as he was pinched back at the start and never really had a chance to show what he had. He’s worked well since that start and is the most likely to improve here.
There’s also a decent chance for the 10th to produce a healthy payoff. Starship Jubilee is the 2-to-1 favorite and makes her 1st start of the year after an outstanding 2017 which saw her win 6 of 10 races, including back-to-back Grade 2 wins at Woodbine – the Nassau and Dance Smartly. She didn’t fare as well here in December, as she was 3rd in the Claiming Clown Tiara. She does like this venue, though, as she’s 6 of 11 here.
There are lots of options, including several that have, at one time or another, had some success locally. Bonita, Daddy’s Boo, Eva London and Josdesanimaux all appear to be capable of running into the mix.
X Y Jet, the even-money favorite on the line, has the tools to take this group from gate to finish and is a single on this ticket.
This is a tough way to end it, as maiden-claimers knock heads going 7.5 furlongs on the turf.
New Atlas is the favorite and should be difficult to beat if he runs back to his last one, which came at this price. There are decent options, including Stay On Base and Pirate Beach. Stay On Base takes a slight class drop and has a good opportunity to get to the lead. Pirate Beach gets his first chance to run two turns and comes off a fourth in his latest, which was at five furlongs. He’s likely to improve and is a legit player in this one.
Here’s the suggested Pick 4 ticket:
Race 9: #2 Dexter, #4 Moon Pistol, #5 Frankie Apps, #8 Lennox, #9 C’Era Una Volta, #10 Noble Drama.
Race 10: #2 Bonita, #4 Starship Jubilee, #6 Daddy’s Boo, #9 Eva London, #10 Josdesanimaux.
Race 11: #1 X Y Jet.
Race 12: #2 New Atlas, #9 Stay On Base, #11 Pirate Beach
50-cent Pick 4: 2-4-5-8-9-10 with 2-4-6-9-10 with 1 with 2-9-11. ($45).