by Dustin Fabian
January 16, 2020
With the Pegasus World Cup looming next Saturday, January 25, now is the time to start honing in our bankroll building approach for Gulfstream’s richest stakes day. Winnings earned this weekend go a long way to ensuring we can fire with both fists next week without having to blow our budget early in the day.
This Saturday is loaded with great racing as Gulfstream Park has the Sunshine Millions, Santa Anita has its Cal Cup and the New Orleans Road to the Kentucky Derby kicks off at the Fair Grounds with the G3 LeComte Stakes.
I’m not able to go in-depth about all of those races in this blog, but if you’re looking for LeComte picks, my fellow Xpressbet handicapper, Santa Anita’s Jon White, has you covered.
In this space, my focus is on Gulfstream’s Sunshine Millions card and specifically the Late Pick 4.
The Sunshine Million is the richest day of racing for Florida-bred horses, with $600K in purses available across four stakes races. And on these big ‘state-bred’ days, you can trust the competition is going to be solid. This year’s field include venerable veterans like Starship Jubilee, Extravagant Kid, March to the Arch and Jay’s Way.
For those betting Gulfstream this Saturday, I recommend checking out our XB Rewards Promotion. Hit the Late Pick 4 (the same one handicapped below) and you’ll win a Split of 1 Million XB Rewards Points.
Also, please note that Saturday’s races have a special early first post of 11:40AM ET, so don’t be late!
Here’s how I’m betting the Late Pick 4 with a note on the Late Pick 5:
Race 8 (3:03PM ET) – Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf
*Start of the Late Pick 5*
Note that this race, while not involved in the Late Pick 4, kicks off the Late Pick 5. And on paper, this one should be a cinch. #7 STARSHIP JUBILEE (Attard/Castellano) is a millionaire, Grade 1 winner and the defending champion of this race. She towers over these fillies and her presence makes the Late Pick 5 really a Pick 4. One note – if she wins this race the Late Pick 5 payout won’t be much different from the Late Pick 4, so play accordingly.
Race 9 (3:34PM ET) – Sunshine Millions Sprint
*Start of the Late Pick 4*
The opening leg of the Late Pick 4 is the six furlong Sunshine Millions Sprint and I think we can get away with using just two horses here. #1 EXTRAVAGANT KID (Walsh/Gaffalione) is a multi-surface star and he’s either a stakes winner or stakes placed on dirt, turf and synthetic. He won the off-the-turf Janus Stakes at Gulfstream on December 28. #6 LADY’S ISLAND (Baxter/Jaramillo) is a mare facing the boys and she couldn’t be sharper. She has won five starts in a row (and eight of her last nine). Jaramillo will play ‘catch me if you can with her’ and using her and EXTRAVAGANT KID gives you coverage from both the lead and a stalking position. For another opinion on the Sunshine Million Sprint, check out our Race of the Week analysis and betting strategy, prepared by our very own Jeremy Plonk.
Race 10 (4:06PM ET) – Sunshine Millions Turf
This race figures to be a showdown between the incredibly in-form #7 MUGGSAMATIC (Servis/Lopez), the stakes veteran #9 MARCH TO THE ARCH (Casse/Gaffalione) and the latter’s stablemate, #2 CURLIN’S HONOR (Casse/Castellano). MUGGSAMATIC has won three straight and should get first run on the Casse horses, both of whom are deeper closers. MARCH TO THE ARCH has the most class in the field – he’s a G2 winner that faced the likes of Got Stormy, Bricks and Mortar and Diamond Oops in 2019 – while CURLIN’S HONOR unleashed a stunning kick to run down the incredibly sharp Caribou Club on November 9 at Aqueduct. None of those three would be a shock.
Race 11 (4:38PM ET) – Sunshine Millions Classic
We’ve done a good job of keeping the early part of the ticket small, so we can spread out a little here if we need to. #6 RED CRESCENT (Vinson/Ortiz Jr.) is going to go favored and his last three races would win this. He won a pair of races at Gulfstream West and his fourth-place finish in the G3 Harlan’s Holiday against Pegasus hopefuls War Story and Bodexpress may be the most impressive race of them all. #2 TAP THE MOJO (Casse/Saez) ran a visual stunner when he drew off by four to win a state bred allowance on December 29 in his first dirt start. #4 JAY’S WAY (De La Cerda/Lopez) won this race in 2018 at 4/1 odds and was second in 2019 at 7/1 so he’s a tough horse to ignore, even if he’s coming off a layoff and his recent form is not strong.
Race 12 (5:12PM ET) – Claiming
So far my Pick 4 ticket is 2x3x2 which gives me an opportunity to spread out in this puzzling nightcap. Frankly, you could make a good argument to just press the ALL button and go about your business. Instead, I’ll use these horses - #2 UNION RICHES (Dobles/Torres), #3 GOSILENTLY (Falcone/Jaramillo), #6 AMERICAN NINJA (Gallegos/Lopez), #7 BONDURANT (Maker/Gaffalione), #8 POSTINO’S VOW (Navarro/Saez), #9 BOLD DADDY (Servis/Ortiz Jr.) and #10 YEAR OF THE KITTEN (Maker/Ortiz). I won’t have coverage to anyone but I think the winner is in that group (not much of a limb to go out on).
My Pick 4 Ticket
Race 9: #1 Extravagant Kid (2/1), #6 Lady’s Island (3/1)
Race 10: #2 Curlin’s Honor (9/2), #7 Muggasmatic (4/1), #9 March to the Arch (7/2)
Race 11: #2 Tap the Mojo (4/1), #6 Red Crescent (5/2)
Race 12: #2 Union Riches (8/1), #3 Gosilently (9/2), #6 American Ninja (6/1), #7 Bonudrant (7/2), #8 Postino’s Vow (8/1), #9 Bold Daddy (4/1)0, #10 Year of the Kitten (10/1)
Ticket Cost: $42 for 50-cents