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Thursday, April 16: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

April 16, 2020

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.

Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.
Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.

The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Aerodynamtic; 4-Just Sayin; 5-Strella’s War; 6-She Fled the Scene

Forecast: The Thursday opener is a contentious restricted (nw-2) $20,000 middle distance turf claimer for fillies and mares. We can see any one of four winning it, so we’ll spread in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Just Sayin seems as good as any and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line, so due to price considerations we’ll put her slightly on top. Raised a notch after missing by a head when rallying against the race flow last month (and earning a career top speed figure in doing so), the daughter of Big Drama picks up T. Gaffalione (who apparently jumped off She Fled the Scene to ride her) and should be within striking range throughout with every chance to produce a winning late kick. But here’s the rub: she’s been a beaten favorite in each of her last four starts, although she at least did manage to hit the board in all of those races. Let’s just say she’s overdue. She Fled the Scene always has preferred to run second or third rather than win but she’s a very strong fit based on speed figures and is dropping to her lowest level ever. She’s another that projects to enjoy a good second-flight trip and then have dead aim with it counts. Aerodynamic handled a maiden $16,000 claiming field with authority last month while earning a competitive number and was promptly claimed by A. Sanchez off T. Pletcher. The daughter of Verrazano tackles a tougher crew on the raise but gets the rail and blinkers and should be pressing or stalking the pace throughout. Strella’s War ran well in a similar spot last month when third, beaten a length, and today switches to L. Saez. Her recent numbers are below her best but with her top effort she can be dangerous, so we’ll toss her in.

RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: C
Use: 2-Lime; 8-Quinoa Tifah

Forecast: The first maiden 2-year-old race of the season brings out - predictably enough - a W. Ward-trained fast-working filly. Lime (7/5) has been honed to win right now for a barn that excels in these kinds of races and the daughter of the nondescript Medaglia d’Oro stallion Iqbaal sports a bullet three furlong grass drill in :34.3 that catches the eye on paper but really wasn’t all that great, as she actually was second best of a team. See, here’s the thing: she’s not a top filly by any means, but she certainly won’t have to be one to beat this field. Arindel has two home-bred runners in the field, the better of the two most likely being Quinoa Tifah, who has recorded a series of good times leading up to the race. The daughter of Gemologist probably has some ability and should be more than fit, but the J. Alvarado barn is currently working on a 21-race losing streak (according to the DRF stats) with debut runners. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics in a race that might be best left alone.

RACE 3: Post 2:07 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Weekend Dreamer; 9-Violent Fight

Forecast: We’ll double the third race, a maiden claiming grass sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. Weekend Dreamer improved a ton in his first try on grass (and just his third overall) when leading until the final strides of a similar maiden $25,000 grass dash for 3-year-olds, only to get nailed on the money by a flying deep-closer. The Candy Ride gelding had displayed some zip but no stick in two previous outings on dirt, so it looks like he’s found his niche as a turf sprinter. However – and this why he’s a very cautious top pick - the field finished in a heap in his last race and he did enjoy a pristine front-running trip, so it’s entirely possible that the raw form flatters him somewhat. Also, his low percentage connections don’t inspire confidence. Violent Fight returns in 14 days after being out-footed in a quick race over the course when facing a considerably tougher maiden $50,000 field. We’re going to assume the M. Casse-trained colt will improve considerably with that effort behind him combined with a class drop and the presence of T. Gaffalione, who rides him back for a barn that has solid stats with second-timers. Neither one of these can be backed with confidence, so feel free to spread deeper if your budget allows.

RACE 4: Post 2:39 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Probably Grace; 9-Take Charge Again; 10-Luxe Diamond

Forecast: Luxe Diamond earned a very strong speed figure when blitzing a maiden $12,500 field here last month and today shows up in a restricted (nw-2) $6,250 sprint for fillies and mares, not exactly a sign of confidence from a low percentage outfit currently on a 35-race losings streak dating back to this same filly’s win in early March. She is drawn comfortably and gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy C. A. Torres, so if the daughter of Fort Larned can somehow manage to turn in two alike she can score right back. Probably Grace isn’t particularly fast on numbers but she sure has been popular at the claim box for whatever reason, having been haltered in her last three starts, most recently for $12,500 by L. Rivelli. In her first off the claim for a barn that has superior stats with this angle, she shows up for $6,250 and switches to one of the barn’s go-to riders, V. Lebron, so maybe she can snap back to the form that saw her win her debut by six lengths last November at Hawthorne in what was a fast race for the level (and apparently the reason why she keeps getting claimed). Take Charge Again has been disappointing in her last pair so she’s another dropping to the bottom trying to find her current winning level. The J. Cibelli-trained daughter of Take Charge Indy has a few back speed figures that are better than par for this level and has a prior win over this track and distance so we’ll toss her in as well.

RACE 5: Post 3:11 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Wicked Mercury; 11-Summer in the City

Forecast: Wicked Mercury may be the most reliable in this one mile maiden claiming turf miler after finishing a reasonable third over this course and distance last month and appears to have found her friends today at the $50,000 level. Her numbers are solid for the level, so if nothing else in here improves dramatically the J. Cibelli-trained daughter of Wicked Strong could be set to graduate. Summer in the City wasn’t terrible in her debut sprinting on turf vs. much stronger straight maiden rivals last month and should go much better stretching out and dropping in class today for T. Pletcher (solid numbers with second-timers). She retains L. Saez and projects to be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in a race in which nothing, really, would surprise us.

RACE 6: Post 3:43 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Rhythm With Soul; 6-Lookin At Roses

Forecast: This restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claiming turf miler is absolutely loaded with front-speed types, so the natural inclination is to isolate those that figure to benefit the most from the projected race-shape. Lookin At Roses has the proper deep-closing style that is likely to be promoted, and the improving son of Lookin At Lucky, from a solid outfit with rising speed figures and a two good races over the course, fits the bill. Rhythm With Soul is intriguing as well. Away since finishing unplaced in the Pilgrim S.-G3 at Belmont Park in the fall of his 2-year-old season, the son of Munnings won his debut at Saratoga so we know he can fire fresh and is realistically spotted by a barn that does well with layoff runners. He’s also a first-time gelding and will race with blinkers, so there are a few reason to believe he’s live and well-meant. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 7: Post 4:15 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-January Won; 7-Genghis; 8-Dizzy Sight

Forecast: January Won is one of several big class droppers in this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming one-turn miler in what appears to be a fire sale for once-promising 3-year-olds from major outfits. The son of New Year’s Day was a first-out maiden winner like a nice prospect at Saratoga last summer and then was tried in pair of graded stakes races (he was overmatched and non-competitive in both), including the Breeders’ Futurity-G1 at Keeneland last fall. The K. McPeek-trained colt returns cheap, but shows a series of decent recent workouts, most of which occurred at the stable’s off-site training center (Summerfield, in Ocala). His win in his racing debut tells us he’s capable of firing fresh. Genghis is another surfacing in a seller for the first time and has a prior win over this track, so we’re expecting the Florida-bred colt to display improvement after exhibiting enough ability to be stakes-placed in listed company last November. The son of Brethren switches to E. Zayas and should make his presence felt from off the pace. Dizzy Sight, freshened since early January and switching to a low profile outfit, shows a healthy recent work tab at Palm Beach Downs and is another dropping in for a tag for the first time. He’s got the kind of early speed to make him a strong early factor at the very least and he could stick around for a while if the early fractions are moderate, as is projected.

RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Hero Up; 8-Drama Dixie

Forecast: This is a fairly yucky $12,500 claiming miler restricted to 3-year-olds. We’ll use two in a race that probably is best ignored. Drama in Dixie plummets in class for owner/trainer D. Fawkes and should improve as a first-time gelding against this soft bunch. Away for six weeks but with a healthy recent work pattern, the son of Big Drama ran well for T. Gaffalione two races back when second in a $30,000 seller, and a repeat of that performance today should be good enough. That said, he’s eight of eight on the draw (not ideal) and his sole victory came via disqualification, so at 5/2 on the morning line there’s not too much value to be found. Hero Up just graduated from a weak group over this course and distance with a career-top speed figure and is realistically spotted right back with bug Boy A. Burgos staying aboard. He’s clearly a need-the-lead type and from his low draw seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics again. These are the two we’ll be including in rolling exotic play but not with any great deal of enthusiasm.

RACE 9: Post 4:23 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Cajun Brother; 6-R Mercedes Boy; 9-Just Kidding

Forecast: Just Kidding, a solid runner-up at this level in his last two outings, should fire a similar shot today and always must be respected because of his ability to win on the lead or from a stalking/pressing position. The veteran gelding is reunited with L. Saez and his affection for the Gulfstream Park main track (first or second in seven of 12 starts) makes him the slight pick on top in a competitive affair with a several possibilities. R Mercedes Boy, freshened since December, shows a strong series of drills for G. Baxter (superior stats with layoff runners) and on numbers fits very well with this group, assuming he returns as well as he left. A three-time winner from just eight career starts, the son of Overdriven remains eligible for this first-level allowance Florida-bred sprint because all three of his victories were earned when facing claiming company. Cajun Brother outran his moderate workouts when winning his debut in open company at a huge price last month and today tackles state-bred foes while moving into the first condition. From the rail he has only one way to go – on the lead, gate to wire – and with a recent bullet three-furlong breeze (:35 1/5, fastest of eight) the M. Yates-trained gelding could bet set for a forward move. He won’t be 36-1 today. We’ll prefer Just Kidding on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.

RACE 10: Post 5:38 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Quarky; 8-Celebration; 9-Captain Ron; 10-Long Blade

Forecast: This is a deep, difficult turf sprint for entry-level allowance older runners that likely will produce intense early speed and a race flow that might favor the stalkers or the deep closers. Spread as deeply as you can. Captain Ron is quick enough to be on the lead but proved two runs back that he can stalk and pounce if the situation dictates. A three-time winner over the local lawn and a former $10,000 claimer, the veteran son of Speightstown exits a tougher grass dash last month and should appreciate this one-level class drop. He’s one of several that are capable of winning. Quarky was fairly fast on speed figures as a 3-year-old and returns in a logical spot for a low profile but competent outfit while being reunited with regular pilot L. Saez. His work tab at Tampa Bay Downs is short and sweet and other than his debut (he finished a distant second in maiden $25,000 sprint on dirt) he’s never raced off a layoff, so we’re not quite sure what we’re going to get. But we have to use him. Celebration has several speed figures in his chart that are better than par for this level but he’s another that has never really run well unless he’s on the front end. It’s difficult to envision the veteran English-bred gelding getting his kind of trip but if he does the English-bred gelding certainly will be capable of outrunning his morning line of 8-1, so at that price he’s worth including. Long Blade, cheaper on paper than most of these but much improved of late, has won his last four but against claiming and starter’s allowance company. He can stalk and win and his numbers are rising, so at 10-1 on the morning line he’s another price chance that you probably should consider.

RACE 11: Post 5:24 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 6-Very Amusing; 7-French Quarter

Forecast: Bottom-rung ($6,250) older horses sprint five and one-half furlongs in the Thursday nightcap. French Quarter is a thoroughly genuine and consistent nine-year-old gelding and seems likely to fire another big shot after just winning an $8,000 seller over this track last month. Victorious 13 times during his long career, seven of which have been accomplished over the Gulfstream Park main track, the son of Speightstown does his best work as a stalker/pouncer, though he’s probably a bit more comfortable at trips farther than five and one-half furlongs. Very Amusing crushed a restricted (nw-3) $8,000 field three weeks ago with a career top speed figure and will be tough if he can do the same against this cheaper but considerably tougher open field. He’s another that does his best rallying from the second flight and picks up E. Zayas, who replaces P. Lopez who opted for French Quarter at entry time but will not ride for a few weeks due to an injury.