by Jerry Shottenkirk
January 5, 2019
Gulfstream Park is a place where 3-year-olds begin to separate themselves this time of the year. Some move on to the important preps for the Florida Derby, and ultimately the Kentucky Derby, while some others are right below that level.
Saturday’s feature and 10th on the card is the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at the one-turn mile. There are only six horses in it, and a case can be made for five of them. Code of Honor is the 7-to-5 favorite and makes his 1st of the year after finished 2nd to Complexity in the Champagne Stakes. He broke his maiden at Saratoga in his only other start and trainer Shug McGaughey has worked him once a week over the past month and has seen the Noble Mission colt become sharp and race ready.
Well Defined, trained by Kathleen O’Connell, won the In Reality Stakes vs. Florida-breds and then tried the big guns in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He flashed speed and retreated after a half-mile. He’s back after two months off and warrants attention over this strip.
Garter and Tie is another solid Florida-bred and finished 2nd to Well Defined. He won a pair of stakes races here – including an score in the open Smooth Air Stakes and will be the beneficiary if the front runners go at a breakneck pace. He’s the value play and starts out at 6-1 on the board.
Trophy Chaser is another locally successful runner and got plenty of attention when he broke his maiden by 15. After running 5th in the Champagne, the Juan Avila stable rep was 2nd to Improbable in the Street Sense Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup undercard on the first of the two days at Churchill.
Mihos is the 5th worth a look as he comes in off a maiden score at Aqueduct. In his debut he was 3rd behind Vekoma and Epic Dreamer in a terrific maiden race at Belmont. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount for trainer James Jerkens and will get his share of support.
Race 8) #3 Themanbehindtheman, #4 Gio Dude, #9 Inchesky, #10 Andronikos.
Race 9) #9 Henley’s Joy.
Race 10) #1 Garter and Tie, #2 Well Defined, #3 Trophy Chaser, #4 Code of Honor, #6 Mihos.
Race 11) #3 Skychief, #5 Wild One Forever, #9 Betterment.
Total Ticket Cost) $30 for $0.50