by Brian Nadeau
April 23, 2020
With the Stronach 5 on hiatus for the time being, let’s alternate between Gulfstream’s late Pk5 and Pk4 on Friday’s, as even though the Championship Meet has ended, the racing is still flush with top connections and deep fields.
*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. ***
Race 7 (4:15 ET): 3up 12.5k claimer at 6 furlongs
With the last three legs of the sequence looking mighty tough, let’s kick things off with a single, since it looks like #4 COMBINATION (3-1) looks like a potential standout off four straight sharp runs with big figures (for these), and the fact he goes off the claim for Sancal (a 2-for-11 move), lures Saez, and figures to sit the right trip just off the speed. He also looks in the 7-5 range, so by singling we’ll maximize his value, while allowing for more coverage in the three ensuing legs, which are much deeper.
Pk4 A horses: 4 (listed in order of preference)
The drop in class might wake up #6 PHANTOM RO (7-2), as he’s been facing much better, while getting back to what looks like his preferred surface, and over a GP main track he’s 2-for-6 on.
Pk4 B horses: 6
Potential B add ins: #2 Jersey Joe (8-1), #3 French Quarter (4-1), #8 Kyle (6-1), #7 Joe Di Baggio (8-1)
Race 8: 3yof AOC (75k/N1X) at 1 1/8 miles (turf)
The first of a trio of toughies is the definition of a spread, as the favorites all look similar on paper, and the odd strong favorite—#3 EVE OF WAR (9-5)—has never been on turf and comes in off a dud on the main track. I’ll go with the newcomer #1 NOPE (10-1), who had solid GIII European form, has worked forwardly for her US debut, drew best of all, and adds Lasix for a Walsh barn that has had some good success here this year. There’s little doubt #2 SECRET STASH (9-2) has a huge chance off that 3rd in a GIII at Tampa last time, her first start since October, and she’s another who got helped by the draw. Obviously you have to use Eve of War, and maybe she gets loose on the stretchout after a troubled start/trip last time, but it’s odd to see her on the turf off just one bad start and a sparkling debut, and these are not great stats for Pletcher (just 12% first-turf), so tread lightly. Lightly raced runners #7 APOGEE (10-1) and #6 ELLA BRILLA (8-1) need to step up their game, but have plenty of upside off just four total starts for sharp barns, so they are worth inclusion at nice prices.
Pk4 A horses: 3,1,2,6,7
Maybe I’m a little stubborn using #5 SKYE ROW (6-1) on the B line, but she’s facing winners, and the five-pack above look a little better, so let’s keep her underneath, even though her MSW win last time was solid enough. The drop out of several stakes should help #9 SUNSET PROMISE (8-1), and her form fits with these, but this wide draw is doom, an at 1-for-10 there’s no upside here.
Pk4 B horses: 5,9
Potential B add ins: NONE
Race 9: 3upfm AOC (25k/N1X) at 1 1/16 miles
With the locals not all that overwhelming, let’s go with a fresh new face in #1 SLAM DUNK (3-1), who showed a lot of promise as a 2yo, drew well for her two-turn debut (don’t forget they run to the first finish line at this distance), and looks primed to pick up where she left off, which was an MSW romp at CD in November. If there’s a horse bred for the main track it’s #4 WHISPERING BEAUTY (9-2), who has run five times on turf, but she’s by Arch and is out of a Storm Cat mare, so she may be poised for a breakthrough with blinkers-on. The wildcard is #3 GRACEFUL PRINCESS (5-2), who has some mixed 2yo form for Nicks but now starts for Pletcher, who is 22% with newcomers and 29% off 180+ - day layoffs, and note two of her best races were here last year.
Pk4 A horses: 1,4,3
A lack of speed might be the undoing of #5 HUNTNG SEASON (7-2), who will like getting back to the dirt, though she’s very slow on paper and might not like this tricky trip. I have no idea what to make of #7 SHREWDNESS (6-1), who has run eight times on turf/synthetics and isn’t bred for this, but Biancone is 9-for-30 turf-to-dirt, which is good enough for me to include her underneath.
Pk4 B horses: 5,7
Potential B add ins: NONE
Race 10: 3yup 12.5k MCL at 5 furlongs (turf)
I have nothing clever here, so I’ll blanket the race with the five who can win, as there are several who can’t. Top honors go to #5 NOTHIN BUT NET (4-1), who goes off the Orseno claim, has solid turf sprint form, and runs as a first-time gelding with the proper spacing as well. Taking a short price on #11 CANDY COMA (9-5) doesn’t seem prudent, as he could win for 25k at 4-5 on debut and meets a solid crew here, from a wide draw as well. A drop in class, second-time turf, and second-time Joseph may all prove key for #12 ANNUALIZED (6-1), who was a closing 4th last time and will get some pace here. The move to Saez says it’s go-time with #8 FIFTY CENTS (9-2), and getting back to the turf says as much too, so expect him to be a real threat from close range, and he only has 3 1/2 lengths to make up on ‘Coma, after a very troubled trip too. I can’t imagine you’ll get 12-1 on #3 KOBE FIFTY TWO, since Zerpa is 6-for-13 with firsters and 5-for-10 with debut MCL’ers, not to mention 35% in turf sprints and 32% with Jaramillo up, but the price should be fair, and with the top-4 not world beaters, he needs to be used.
Pk4 A horses: 5,11,12,8,3
No one else remotely entices for the win, as they all look far below the top quintet.
Pk4 B horses: NONE
Potential B add ins: #9 Swingin On a Star (12-1)
The suggested tickets:
Main Ticket (play for $1): 4 with 3,1,2,6,7 with 1,4,3 with 5,11,12,8,3 = $75 (for $1)
Race 7 B Backup: 6 with 3,1,2,6,7 with 1,4,3 with 5,11,12,8,3 = $37.50
Race 8 B Backup: 4 with 5,9 with 1,4,3 with 5,11,12,8,3 = $15
Race 9 B Backup: 4 with 3,1,2,6,7 with 5,7 with 5,11,12,8,3 = $25