by Jerry Shottenkirk
December 8, 2018
If you like playing the 2-year-olds, it’s your day at Gulfstream Park.
The first six races on the 11-race card are devoted to 2-year-old stakes runners and the final four are in the Caribbean Cup races, which brings some of the best runners from nations in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Pick 5 players can jump in right off the bat and it promises to be a challenging journey into exotic wagering.
Here’s a look at the Early Pick 5 races:
Race 1 – House Party Stakes
Sprint fillies are in the House Party, and Iva, Horologist and Calinas Song are the plays on the ticket. Iva’s record is unblemished after two, but after wins at Indiana Grand and Belterra, she will has a tough task.. Don’t be surprised if this Scat Daddy filly answers the call.
Horologist (John Mazza) is the 3-1 morning line favorite. She was magnificent in a 20-length maiden score over the Monmouth strip and then lost her next two. Clearly she’s a filly of talent.
Calinas Song won her only start and Luis Saez picks up the mount, which is never a bad thing over this strip as he does extremely well over it.
Race 2 – Hut Hut Stakes
Fillies will go a mile in the Hut Hut, and the trio of Sweet Diane, Bella Ciao and Classic Fit are the hopes on this ticket. Sweet Diane crushed maidens at Penn National by 13 lengths in her last start, which came on Sept. 28. She’s trained at Tampa Bay Downs over the past month and has already won at the distance. It’s likely she can run well against much better than what she’s faced. Here’s her opportunity.
Bella Ciao ran a bang-up 4th in the Spinaway and then was outrun in the Alcibiades – a pair of races that are worlds apart from the $75,000 stakes purse level, such as this. She’ll likely get a close-up trip and can hang in tough going the one-turn trek.
Classic Fit has run well on three different tracks on three different types of surfaces and has gone two turns in all three races. Staying at a mile but turning to the one-turn variety could make her a huge threat.
Race 3 – Buffalo Man Stakes
Jackson has battled in stakes races and has shifted to a come-from-behind style in last two. He’s been in fast events and can also be very close to the lead, if needed. He has the class edge against his lighter-on-experience foes here.
Zenden was impressive in his only start despite having a rough-and-tumble start. He recovers over this strip and finished very well, lending one to believe he has a lot of ability, not just for the win but in the fashion in which he pulled it off.
Race 4 – Smooth Air Stakes
Maddy’s Last Dance looks like a colt that’s been begging for more distance. After battling and weakening late in his debut, he has finished with gusto in three since and won of those. He should enjoy the mile of the Smooth Air.
Union’s Destiny already has improved with distance and adds some more here. He just missed off the pace in his debut and then wore down his front-running rivals and drew off for an easy score. He should be taken very seriously in this spot.
Garter and Tie has stakes experience against restricted company and already has bankrolled nearly a quarter-million. He turns back from a 2nd in the Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes and has a strong player in his last four. No reason to believe he can’t be right there again.
Race 5 – Pulpit Stakes
Henley’s Joy has been a young turf star and looks like a solid player in the Pulpit at a mile on the grass. He tried the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, never really got involved and was not persevered when hopelessly beaten. Until that point, he was two of three, including in a maiden race at Ellis Park and a victory in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile. He closed well and lost by a nose in the Bourbon at Keeneland. He’s kept stout company and mostly has been very good.
Louder Than Bombs bring a lot of local experience into this one. He was unplaced on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill last time but won two of three here. His Churchill attempt was on the main track and his others were on the Gulfstream turf. He broke his maiden and won the Armed Forces Stakes.
Here’s the complete suggested ticket for the Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park:
Race 1) #1 Iva, #4 Horologist, #5 Calinas Song.
Race 2) #3 Sweet Diane, #4 Bella Ciao, #7 Classic Fit.
Race 3) #6 Jackson, #7 Zenden.
Race 4) #2 Maddy’s Last Dance, #3 Union’s Destiny, #5 Garter and Tie.
Race 5) #2 Henley’s Joy, #9 Louder Than Bombs.
50-cent Pick 5: 1-4-5 with 3-4-7 with 6-7 with 2-3-5 with 2-9 ($54).