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Claiming Crown a big draw for GP Championship Meet opener

by Jerry Shottenkirk

December 1, 2018

Gulfstream Park rolls out its Championship Meet Saturday with its annual Claiming Crown races, and as usual, a wide array of classes and regions are represented. Full fields and large purses make it a quite an event.
The late Pick 4 has the best of the day and caps off with $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes. The Crown races begin with 4th, and the eight stakes events are worth $1 million.

The Pick 4 strategy is fairly simple with a 3 x 4 x 3 x 3 approach. While there will be a few short-priced favorites, it’s worth it to fish around for prices, in addition to those that may have an edge on paper. With horses coming from so many different tracks, there will undoubtedly be some prices.

Starting off the late Pick 4 is the Glass Slipper, which will have a full gate of fillies and mares, and this looks like an evenly matched bunch. Bella Vincenza is the 7-2 morning line favorite among the 14, and she’s on the suggested ticket along with Starship Reina and Viva Forever. Bella Vincenza won the Added Elegance Stakes here in July and most recently was a starter allowance winner at GP West. She drew the No. 14 post.

Dowse’s Beach is the 8-5 favorite in the Canterbury Stakes but he’s not alone when it comes to showing a great deal of ability. He won his last three at Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct, and his connections are hoping he can continue his New York form in Florida. But Bushrod, Manaiacal and Dance Proudly are in good form and a lot of things can happen at this short distance of five furlongs.

The Emerald Stakes is the third leg (10th race) and also has a lukewarm favorite in Aquaphobia (7-2). The New York invader has won three this year and is a must-use on the Pick 4 ticket. Montclair also is on the ticket, as is the 10-year-old Slim Shadey, whose connections claimed him for $62,500 at Belmont in June.

Aztec Sense is the 2-1 choice in the finale and looks to continue his flawless 2018 mark. He’s 7 for 7 on the year and has been a daylight winner in each. Upset possibilities come from Race Me Home and St. Louie Guy, who have shown a lot of ability and are capable of running very well in this spot.

Here’s the complete suggested ticket for the late Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park:
Race 8) #3 Starship Reina, #4 Viva Forever, #14 Bella Vincenza.
Race 9) #1 Bushrod, #2 Manaiacal, #7 Dance Proudly, #9 Dowse’s Beach.
Race 10) #6 Aquaphobia, #8 Montclair, #11 Slim Shadey.
Race 11) #5 Race Me Home, #3 St. Louie Guy, #6 Aztec Sense.
50-cent Pick Four: 3-4-14 with 1-2-7-9 with 6-8-11 with 5-3-6 ($54).