by Dustin Fabian
June 28, 2018
We’re in for a massive Saturday of racing, as Gulfstream Park, Woodbine, Belmont, Churchill Downs and more put their best foot forward. Gulfstream’s Summit of Speed card is bolstered by a mandatory payout, while Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby, the Queen’s Plate, is Saturday at Woodbine. Sprinkle in the return of the Kentucky Oaks favorite at Belmont and a pair of juvenile stakes races at Churchill Downs and this is a Saturday you can’t afford to miss.
Here are just some of the highlights:
Gulfstream Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout
It’s that time again – Gulfstream Park Mandatory Payout. And for any horseplayer, that’s music to our ears. The carryover into Thursday’s races is $801,669 and if that continues to grow through Saturday, you’ll see a significant influx of ‘new’ money prior to the sequence starting with Race 9 (3:54PM ET). The sequence includes the Grade 2 Princess Rooney and the Grade 3 Smile Sprint and, in total, features 74 entries, including a handful of also eligibles.
Plus, bet Gulfstream's Saturday card to cash in on our 1 Million Point Split - hit Exactas ($2 base minimum) on four different races to win your share.
X Y Jet Returns in Smile Sprint
A popular single in the Rainbow 6 will be X Y Jet in Race 13, the Grade 3 Smile Sprint (6:02PM ET). I went back and rewatched his phenomenal run in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen and, despite knowing the outcome, there’s still no point of the race that I think Mind Your Biscuits is going to go past him…right up until the point he does. The good news – nobody in this field is nearly as good as Mind Your Biscuits. Classic Rock looks like the only other horse that can win, but if X Y Jet brings his A game (or even his B game), he should be smiling for the camera afterward.
Curlin’s Approval vs My Miss Tapit in Princess Rooney
Something’s gotta give in the Princess Rooney (5:30PM ET). Curlin’s Approval (8-for-14) and My Miss Tapit (3-for-3) both have exceptional local records, with Curlin’s Approval being the expected favorite in here. She won this race last year by more than 4-lengths and got back to her winning ways in an overnight stakes race on June 3. Todd Pletcher’s My Miss Tapit won’t go down without a fight, though. She’s never lost at Gulfstream and was an easy winner of an allowance race on April 14. Pletcher and jockey Tyler Gaffalione have teamed to win with 33% of their Gulfstream starters (107 runners) in 2017/18.
My colleague, Jeremy Plonk, handicapped this race as the Xpressbet Race of the Week. Here’s his analysis and $100 Wagering Strategy.
Who Will Be Crowned in Queen’s Plate?
A massive field of 16 three-year-olds, headlined by Kentucky Oaks runner-up, Wonder Gadot (3/1), Plate Trial winner, Telekinesis (5/2) and Woodbine Oaks winner, Dixie Moon (4/1), lead Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby, the $1,000,000 Queen’s Plate (5:36PM ET). Top US jockeys, including Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, John Velazquez and Joel Rosario are scheduled to ride. Other important stakes races on the card include the Grade 1 Highlander (featuring Long On Value, Belvoir Bay and Holding Gold), Grade 2 Dance Smartly (Dream Dancing, Holy Helena, Inflexibility) and Grade 2 King Edward (Ring Weekend, Tower of Texas, First Premio, Delta Prince).
Woodbine has Big Guaranteed Pools
To celebrate Queen’s Plate Day, the fine folks at Woodbine have attached some significant guaranteed pools to their biggest bets. $300,000 is guaranteed for the Late Pick 4 (Races 10 – 13), $200,000 for the Early Pick 4 (Races 4 – 7) and $100,000 each for the Early (Races 2 – 6) and Late Pick 5 (Races 6 – 10).
Midnight Bisou Resurfaces in Mother Goose
The last time we saw Midnight Bisou, she was the starting favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. A bad post and wide trip crushed her chances that day, but now she’s back and looks like a strong play Belmont’s Grade 2 Mother Goose (5:18PM ET). Despite switching barns from Bill Spawr to Steve Asmussen, her regular jockey, Mike Smith, makes the cross-country trip to ride her. A pair undefeated fillies, Road to Victory (3-for-3) and Mo Smart (2-for-2) figure to make her work for it, while Dale Romans’ Coach Rocks is a Grade 2 winner.
Churchill has Mandatory Payout, Too
Gulfstream is going to get most of the mandatory payout action on Saturday, but don’t ignore the offering at Churchill Downs, either. It’s Closing Day in Louisville and, heading into Thursday’s races, the Pick 6 Jackpot was worth $55,538. Saturday’s sequence includes a trio of stakes races – the Grade 3 Bashford Manor, the Debutante and the Kelly’s Landing. You can jump into the Pick 6, which covers Races 7 – 12, and starts at 3:50PM ET.
Chad Brown leads Assault on Monmouth Turf
Chad Brown is obviously well-regarded for his elite training prowess, but his bread-and-butter still seems to be on the lawn. And that skill will be on display Saturday at Monmouth where he starts as many as six horses in a pair of turf graded stakes. He’s entered four horses in the Grade 1 United Nations (6:01PM ET), including Money Multiplier (J. Bravo), Kurilov (I. Ortiz Jr.), Silverware (R. Maragh) and Funtastic (A. Gallardo). Plus, he has a pair of fillies signed on for the Grade 3 Eatontown (4:55PM ET) – Dream Awhile (I. Ortiz Jr.) and Elysea’s World (J. Castellano). Monmouth’s Saturday card also features the Grade 3 Philip Iselin and the Lady’s Secret Stakes.
That just about covers it. Well, that’s if you don’t include Opening Day at Los Alamitos (TB), a stellar 11-race card at Laurel and a special 8-race card at Tampa Bay Downs.