by Jerry Shottenkirk
December 26, 2019
The last two Gulfstream Park races on Saturday have a cumulative distance of 3 3-16 miles on turf, and they make for some interesting turf handicapping, and joined by a pair of wide-open races, make for an interesting and challenging late Pick 4.
The day ends with the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at two miles as the 11th, and just prior to that is the Via Borghese Stakes at 1 3-16th miles. The sequence starts with a mile maiden race in the eighth, and that’s followed by the Tropical Park Derby at 1 1-16th miles on the grass. The first two races are the most challenging and this week’s ticket has a 5x5x2x2 way about it for $50.
Eleven maidens are set for the eighth race, and a 4-1 morning-line favorite is a testament to the evenness of the field. Fight Fight Fight is that tepid choice and that one joins four others on the ticket – Elusive Ruler, Mayberry Deputy, Gimme Some Mo and Gear Jockey. Gimme Some Mo is a promising first-time starter and the others have shown talent in very limited appearances.
And if that one wasn’t challenging enough, the ninth race – Tropical Park Derby – is chock full of horses that are making their last start as sophomores. After this, they move on to more older horses. Some have already done well against the more seasoned runners and they can be expected to continue. Like the eighth race, this one doesn’t have a solid morning-line favorite. A Thread of Blue is the slight choice at 7-2. He’s on the ticket but has to share this slot with four others: Kadar, Faraway Kitten, Temple and Halladay.
Pivotal Connection and War Cabinet are the ticket choices in the Via Borghese for fillies and mares, and American Tattoo and Carom are playable in the finale – the Jerkens. American Tattoo is the 5-to-2 second choice (behind Salute the Colonel), and was 3rd going 1 3-4-miles in the Marathon on Breeders’ Cup Day. The Argentina-bred should have no problem moving his game over to the grass. Carom won his latest over this course and was competitive in New York. He was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Mike Maker and fits well in this spot.
Here’s the suggested late Pick 4 play:
8) #3 Elusive Ruler, #5 Mayberry Deputy, #9 Fight Fight Fight, #10 Gimme Some Mo, #11 Gear Jockey.
9) #2 Kadar, #3 Faraway Kitten, #6 Temple, #13 Halladay, #14 A Thread of Blue.
10) #2 Pivotal Connection, #3 War Cabinet.
11) #3 American Tattoo. #7 Carom.
50-cent Pick 4 ticket: 3-5-9-10-11 with 2-3-6-13-14 with 2-3 with 3-7 ($50).