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Race of the Week: Grade 3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream | Saturday, July 2, 2022

by Jeremy Plonk

June 30, 2022

The Lead:
Gulfstream Park's annual Summit of Speed kicks off Saturday with a pair of graded stakes. The headliner is the Grade 2 $300,000 Princess Rooney for the filly and mare sprinters. Defending champion Ce Ce is back and the Breeders' Cup F&M Sprint heroine from a year ago should stand out. The Grade 3 $100,000 Smile Sprint for the boys, which goes as Race 7, appears to be a much more competitive affair.

Field Depth:
Grade 1 winner DRAIN THE CLOCK has the race's marquee victory and overall resume with the class edge. WILLY BOI is an open-company stakes winner, while GATSBY and PUDDING are restricted stakes winners. The rest are rising in class.

Rail-drawn YES I'M A BEAST has led the first call in 7 straight races. Outside of PUDDING, the others all want to be right up near the pace likely set by YES I'M A BEAST. The field's lone finisher could have some opportunity late.

Our Eyes:
DRAIN THE CLOCK returns from a Dubai trip in March and has run strong races following a layoff in the past. Expect leading local trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. to have him plenty fit for the 6-furlong test. While he hasn't needed the lead to win in the past, he's never closed more than a length or so off it to score. His fast and perfectly spaced workout tab indicate he should come out humming. Whoever breaks in front of him will have worked too hard to do so.

GATSBY finished a half-length behind DRAIN THE CLOCK over this track and distance in December. He parlayed that effort into a victory in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, but regressed badly in February and May starts. GATSBY looks to be in the unenviable 'no lead-no pass' position.

ABSOLUTE GRIT has run 5 increasingly better races since being claimed by move-up barn Rohan Crichton. He and jockey Emisael Jaramillo are winning 36% in tandem and have to be considered. The 5-year-old can stalk a hot pace with more ability than many in here, but certainly is fast enough to contend if the situation arises.

WILLY BOI also comes in off what's likely a career-best effort in winning the May 28 Big Drama over this track at 7 furlongs. He won the Hutcheson last year at 3, but has run next-level since moving to trainer Jorge Delgado 2 starts back. This one looks like he has to break the leaders, however, as a one-way style. The outside post gives him a clear shot at doing so.

PUDDING is the definition of consistency. He's had 14 straight top-4 finishes and missed one since being claimed by Elizabeth Dobles nearly a year ago. With the hot pace expected and this being the race's only finisher, you've got to work him into the play.​

Most Certain Exotics Contender:
PUDDING should rally for a piece.

Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
None projected.

Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$90 exacta DRAIN THE CLOCK over PUDDING. $10 exacta PUDDING over DRAIN THE CLOCK.