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Saturday, April 18: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

April 18, 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 12:45 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Truly; 11-Matcha

Forecast: Seven-race maiden Truly finds her best chance yet to earn her diploma in the Saturday opener, a maiden $20,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. A repeat of her runner-up effort two runs back (behind next-out winner Kittenbythesea while almost five lengths clear of the rest) should be more than good enough, and from the favorable rail the daughter of Will Take Charge is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, second flight trip. With the switch to E. Zayas, the M. Lerman-trained four-year-old will offer value at or near her morning line of 4-1. Rolling exotic players should also consider Matcha, competitive on speed figures, adding blinkers, and switching to T. Gaffalione. She has a healthy pattern and could be a threat if she can secure a bit of cover from her outside draw.

RACE 2: Post 1:15 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Mystic Comin Home; 10-Markistan

Forecast: This bottom-rung $12,500 maiden claiming abbreviated sprint for fillies and mares appears to have two main players, and both should be used in rolling exotic play. Mystic Comin Home is a seven-race maiden but actually crossed the wire first three runs back, only to be disqualified for causing early interference. She then hit the board in her next two starts when facing tougher opposition, in each case earning speed figures that are better than par for today’s event. The daughter of First Samurai makes a pivotal jockey switch to L. Saez and clearly looks the best of the pace types. Markistan, in the frame in her last four starts, most recently picked up the pieces to be second in the same race Mystic Comin Home exits. The J. Delgado-trained filly projects to fold into a good stalking position and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home.

RACE 3: Post 1:45 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Cat’s Astray; 6-Palace Two Step

Forecast: Cat’s Astray has been stuck on seconds lately but her speed figures continue to rise, so with her best effort today the veteran mare should be capable of stalking and then pouncing when the pressure is turned on. However, at 9/5 on the morning line, she won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value. Palace Two Step, freshened since early February, missed by a neck as the favorite when facing $30,000 foes in her last start and today shows up for $16,000 for an ice-cold barn, not exactly a healthy pattern. She’s quicker than ‘Astray but not as fast on pure numbers. You may want to save with her on a ticket or two.

RACE 4: Post 2:15 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Chase Runner; 2-Krachenwagen

Forecast: The fourth race, a main track miler for $12,500 sellers, drew a small field of six, with the main contention drawn inside. Chase Runner was second to Krachenwagen when they met over this track and distance at this level last month but may be able to turn the tables due to a projected pace scenario that should give him every chance to control the race on the front end from the rail. There’s also a three-pound weight shift in his favor, so we’ll give the son of Big Brown the edge on top. Krachenwagen just won under this 10-pound bug rider when rallying from off the pace but got more help up front than he can expect to receive today. Still, he’s won his last pair with strong speed figures and is likely to fire another good shot. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Chase Runner on top.

RACE 5: Post 2:46 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 5-Gray’s Fable; 10-Palace Kitten; 12-Coastal Defense

Forecast: Palace Kitten has improving numbers and makes his first start after being haltered for $32,000 when second over this course and distance almost two months ago. It’s encouraging that his new connections bring him back protected in straight maiden company, and a recent main track bullet workout (5f, 1:00b, fastest of four) gives every indication that the 3-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy is doing well and should continue to move forward. He also has the kind of tactical speed that should land him in an ideal stalking position, so we’ll put the W. Downing-trained colt on top and hope to get close to his generous morning line of 12-1. Gary’s Fable cut out very quick fractions in a strong one-turn main track miler last month before weakening late to finish third, and similar front-running tactics might be employed today in a race that doesn’t project to have much pace in it. In a below par field for the level, you have to use him. Coastal Defense, exiting the same race as Gray’s Fable, stretches out after two main track one-turn efforts on the dirt. With Giant’s Causeway on the bottom side of his pedigree, the son of Curlin should have no issue with the switch to grass, and if can save some ground from his extreme outside post the D. Romans-trained colt may make some noise from off the pace in the final furlong.

RACE 6: Post 3:17 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Poppy’s Destiny; 5-Flawless Moon; 7-Big Spender

Forecast: Big Spender, a distant second in a restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claimer last month, shows up for $16,000 today, a logical class drop for a gelding still trying to find his proper level after a maiden claiming win over this track and distance almost a year ago. The D. Fawkes-trained gelding looks on paper to be the controlling speed, so if he can shake loose early he should be tough to run down. Flawless Moon, freshened since January, has a sketchy work pattern since raced so his condition is a question. On the positive side, he remains above his claim level after finishing a good second in a slightly softer conditioned claimer that produced a career-top speed figure, one that is par for this level. The Malibu Moon gelding should settle into a stalking position and then have his chance when it matters. Poppy’s Destiny, away since October of 2018, was stakes-placed in New York-bred company as a two-year-old but returns for a modest tag, not exactly a sign of confidence from low-profile connections. The work tab seems okay and he gets a break in the weights with bug boy C.A. Torres in the saddle, but at best he may be worth using as a saver.

RACE 7: Post 3:48 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Freedom’s Flight; 6-Turn of Events; 7-Seize the Hay

Forecast: Seize the Hay was a tad green early, settled off creepy-crawler fractions, and then responded wide when asked into the lane to finish with interest in a promising runner-up performance over this course last month. The barn is a strong 23% with second-time starters, so this son of Carpe Diem should produce a forward move, especially with the shortening in trip from nine furlongs to a flat mile. The work tab is healthy, and with the switch to L. Saez we’re expecting the T. Pletcher-trained colt to be along in time. Lexatoga displayed some ability last summer when training as a 2-year-old but never made it to the post. The New York-bred colt shows up with a decent series of drills at Payson Park, including a bullet half mile workout on turf last month, so we suspect this son of Honor Code can run some. Shug’s first-timers often perform better than they work, so with E. Zayas aboard we’ll definitely include him in our rolling exotics.

RACE 8: Post 4:21 ET. Grade: B
Use: 2-South Sea; 3-Vincero; 5-Front Loaded

Forecast: Parx invader South Sea looks extremely well-meant in this mid-level claiming sprint for older horses. The son of Malibu Moon knows where the wire is with nine career wins and returns to his claim level in his first local start since joining the D. Fawkes barn. L. Saez should have him on or near the lead throughout, and on pure numbers the veteran gelding is good enough to beat this field. Vincero shortens from a one-turn mile and projects to settle in the second flight after being used up on the front end last time out. First or second in eight of 13 career outings over the local main track, the K. Breen-trained gelding picks up one of this stable’s main guys, D. Davis, and offers a bit of value at 8-1 on the morning line. Front Loaded finished a strong runner-up in a $50,000 seller here last month and today surfaces for $35,000, perhaps a tad suspicious. He’s solid on speed figures and certainly capable of winning so we’ll include him on a ticket or two even though we’re not crazy about the pattern.

RACE 9: Post 4:53 ET. Grade: B
Use: 4-Dark Artist; 5-Always Shopping, 7-Mintd

Forecast: This second-level allowance turf miler for fillies and mares has several possibilities in what is a stronger than par race for the level. Mintd, stakes-placed in Ireland as a juvenile, missed her entire 3-year old season but was a pleasing winner of her U. S, debut at Tampa Bay Downs last month, overcoming a slow start and a very wide trip without cover to be along in time while earning a representative speed figure. She’s done some excellent work in the morning since that race for B. Walsh and seems likely to produce a forward move. Lightly-raced and with some upside, the daughter of Olympic Glory is simply too big of a number at 10-1 on the morning line. Always Shopping, away since finishing sixth in the Black Eyed Susan S.-G2 almost a year ago, has looked sharp and eager in workouts at Palm Beach Downs for T. Pletcher, including a five furlong bullet drill (1:00 4/5, fastest of four) last week. A two-time stakes winner, including the Gazelle S.-G2 at nine furlongs over the Big A dirt track, she makes her first start on grass, a surface she’s certainly bred to handle (her dam, Stopshoppingmaria was a high class filly and a stakes winner on turf). The barn is a massive 30% with layoff runners and this jockey-trainer combo has been on fire of late, so while we think this daughter of Awesome Again might be better suited at a longer trip, her past class may carry her through. Dark Artist is a multiple stakes winning mare making her first start for a tag and her first since last September. Capable of winning on the front end or from the second flight, the daughter of Paynter has a prior score over the Gulfstream Park turf course and a work tab that should have her fit enough. She’s certainly can be competitive with this field off on her best day, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll toss her in somewhere.

RACE 10: Post 5:25 ET. Grade: B
Use: 2-Blood Moon; 7-Causalistic

Forecast: Blood Moon has rising speed figures, a maiden claiming win at this trip two runs back, and a bullet recent workout to indicate he’s is primed and ready for a major effort. From the high-percentage D. Gargan barn, the son of Malibu Moon exits a hot sprint stakes, seems certain to improve at this level, and projects to be forwardly placed and have every chance to fire his best shot. Causalistic is a first-off-the-claim play for M. Maker and is being protected in a sign of confidence in this starter optional claiming one-turn miler. He was beaten a neck when taken for $40,000 over this track and distance last month as the favorite, but with the positive barn switch, a healthy recent series of workouts, a comfortable outside draw, and the switch to T. Gaffalione, the 3-year-old son of Tonalist offers value at 6-1 on the morning line. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with a slight edge on top to Blood Moon.

RACE 11: Post 5:57 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Miss Auramet; 7-Lady Grace

Forecast: Miss Auramet seeks her third straight score and the rapidly improving daughter of Uncaptured seems well-spotted to extend the streak. Both of her wins were accomplished over this course and distance, and though she’s moving up from the first-level allowance ranks to this more contentious two-other-than optional claimer, the E. Plesa, Jr.-trained filly has the numbers to successfully handle the class hike. While she loses regular rider (and currently injured) P. Lopez, she does get a break in the weights with the switch to C.A. Torres, who’ll certainly employ gate-to-wire tactics. Lady Grace will be doing her best work from the second flight, and if Miss Auramet can’t see out the trip she’ll most likely be the one to pick her up. A winner of three of her last four outings, the M. Casse-trained daughter of Kantharos has been freshened since mid-February but has been kept on edge with healthy series of nice drills at a local off-track training center, picks up T. Gaffalione, and with good racing luck will be rolling home in the final furlong. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, so we’ll double the race in rolling exotic play.

RACE 12: Post 6:29 ET. Grade: C
Use: 4-Rye Street; 8-Party Dress; 10-Honest Gal

Forecast: The nightcap is an inscrutable maiden-claiming abbreviated main track sprint for bottom-rung ($12,500) fillies and mares.Honest Gal has races and back speed figures that are good enough to win, and she is dropping to her lowest level ever, so if you’re trying to find a top pick she’s probably as good as any. But the low percentage connections hardly inspire confidence. Rye Street plummets from maiden $75,000 in her second start off a claim by M. Maker and at this level the daughter of Uncle Mo almost has to be competitive by default. She’s back on dirt, shortens up, and switches to L. Saez. Party Dress was claimed for $16,000 out of her second career start last August and was stopped on. Favored in both of starts, presumably because she had shown a little bit of something in the morning, the daughter of Khozan was close up before fading to fourth in that race and then disappeared. She returns for a low profile outfit showing nothing but slow works, but she attracts E. Jaramillo, so maybe she’ll return better than she left.