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Saturday, April 25: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

April 25, 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: C+
Use: 3-R Ninja J K; 5-Imperial Guard; 7-Bychance; 10-Katara Pass

Forecast: The Saturday opener, a difficult bottom-rung maiden $12,500 five furlong sprint for older horses to begin with, is even more treacherous now that it has been taken off the turf due to overnight rains. We’ll use four in our rolling exotics but nothing would surprise us, so spread as deeply as you can afford to. R Ninja J K is a fresh face with credentials to run well in his debut, so we’ll make an educated guess and put him on top, Finally making it to the post at age four, the son of Uncaptured clearly has had problems but surfaces cheap and may have some natural talent that most of the others don’t. The high-percentage G. Baxter barn has excellent stats from a brief sample with first-time starters and employs the stable’s go-to rider E. Jaramillo following a series of “not bad” workouts that should have him plenty fit. If he can run at all, this field should be within his capabilities. Bychance makes a positive trainer change while dropping to his lowest level ever. He’s shown nothing by cheap speed so far, but against this group for new connections the son of Bernardini may have found his friends. Imperial Guard is another class dropper that might snap to life in this league. The lightly-raced son of Point of Entry earned a speed figure last year that would beat this field, and in his second start off a layoff he has a right to produce a forward move. However, this will be his first try on any surface other than grass, so who knows what we’ll get?Katara Prince has a number two races back on grass that puts him in the hunt and also shows the route-to-sprint angle. His one dirt race – his debut – wasn’t terrible and he could be a late threat, so toss him in somewhere.

RACE 2: Post 1:15 ET. Grade: C
Use: 3-Vickythebest; 9-Midnight Gem; 10-Lemon Scat

Forecast: Here’s another messy affair, now a one-turn main track miler for $12,500 claiming 3-year-old fillies that was originally scheduled for turf. Midnight Gem stretches out a couple of furlongs after closing with interest in a recent sprint in which she finished a closing third while finding her best stride too late. This trip would seem ideal for her style. She’s a first-off-the-claim for a barn seeking its first win of the year, but the recent work tab is healthy so we’re expecting a forward move, one that could be good enough to win. Vickythebest sports the blinkers off angle that we like, drops below her claim level, and could find herself as the controlling speed. She’s not particularly fast on speed figures but at least they’re heading in the right direction, and her main track form looks okay in this context. Lemon Scat is another trying one turn and the main track for the first time. She lands the cozy outside draw but has no early speed, so if she’s going to have a say in the matter it’ll likely be from well off the pace.

RACE 3: Post 1:45 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Ominous; 9-Storm the Bridge; 10-Lanse Mitan

Forecast: Storm the Bridge ran well in his debut at this level last month when a solid runner-up but was pitched too high when flashing speed and then fading vs. maiden $20,000 foes on grass 15 days later. Today he returns to the bottom rung ($12,500) while switching back to the main track, and the speed figure he earned two races back under these conditions is better than par for this level. He’s 9/2 on the morning line and is worth a close look at that price if you can get it. The likely choice and one to beat is Lanse Mitan, drawn comfortably outside and certain to inherit and good pace-prompting position. Runner-up in a maiden $25,000 affair at Tampa Bay Downs last month, the son of More Than Ready drops for the money run, switches to L. Saez, and is the morning line choice at 9/5. Ominous finally makes it to the post at age five and clearly has had his issues along the way. The son of Scat Daddy must leave cleanly from the rail, but his work tab isn’t bad, so at 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth tossing in.

RACE 4: Post 2:15 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Mystical Moon; 5-The Mighty Judge; 7-Cause for Pardon; 9-Peacock Kitten

Forecast: Restricted (nw-3) $12,500 older horses meet over a mile on grass and is yet another challenging affair that requires a significant spread in rolling exotic play. The Mighty Judge may be the one to beat with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. A closing fourth over this course and distance last time out, he drops a notch in price, lands a better post, has back speed figures good enough to win a race in this league and owns a prior victory over the course. With good racing luck he might be able to the tag the leaders late. Peacock Kitten was used up on the pace last time out at even money and faded but will perform better today in this easier spot if held up with cover and produced late. Very much a fit based on numbers, the lightly-raced 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy switches to E. Zayas and should get the trip he needs. Mystical Moon is another late runner with a look if things break his way. First or second in his last three outings, the B. Lynch-trained gelding projects to draft into a good second flight early position and be dangerous when asked for his run. Based strictly on numbers he’s a major player. Cause for Pardon is re-equipped with blinkers – his best form always has been when wearing the hood – and this sharp drop in class from $25,000 to $12,500 along with the switch to L. Saez makes him worth using on your ticket. The son of Creative Cause lacks a good turn of foot but if he can find himself fairly close to the early pace and then grind away, he’ll have his best chance.

RACE 5: Post 2:46 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Fugitive; 4-Ashiham

Forecast: Ashiham displayed some real promise in his debut, lacking early speed but then finishing with some purpose to be a closing fourth in a fast, highly-rated six furlong sprint that was simply too short for him. A grandson of the remarkable race mare Azeri, this good-looking chestnut colt has trained very nicely since that race, gets an extra furlong to work with, and seems certain to produce a substantial forward move in his first start since joining the T. Pletcher barn. With the switch to L. Saez, the son of Tapit looks extremely live and well-meant at 9/2 on the morning line. Basquiat, a son of American Pharoah from the C. Brown barn, makes his debut following a string of promising drills over the deep Payson Park track and looks very much like a live item with I. Ortiz, Jr. taking the call. He actually flashed some promise last summer at Saratoga in the a.m. but never made it to the races, but we suspect he’ll be cranked up and ready to roll today. We’ll prefer Ashiham on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 6: Post 3:17 ET. Grade: B
Use: 4-Smack; 11-Awsum Roar

Forecast: Smack was in a perfect position heading for home in her last start – saving ground right behind the leaders, ready to pounce - but when she was asked to produce her run, she was shut off badly trying to rally through a hole that didn’t exist, lost all chance, and wound up fifth. Hopefully, the daughter of Super Saver will have clear sailing today and if she does under new rider E. Jaramillo, the C. Clement-trained filly seems capable of handling this first-level allowance turf sprint field of fillies and mares. Worth using as a saver or a back-up is course specialist Awsum Roar, drawn farther out than we’d prefer but certainly capable of acting at this level with her best effort. A winner of six of 12 starts over the Gulfstream Park turf course, she should fold into a good stalking position and then have every chance to kick it in late. On pure numbers she’s better than her morning line of 8-1.

RACE 7: Post 3:48 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Mystery Bank; 4-Venezuelan Hug; 5-Shamrocket

Forecast: Maiden 3-year-olds get together in a middle distance turf event that has at least three legitimate contenders. Shamrocket probably can’t beat a real good colt but it takes a pretty good one to beat him. A closing third against the grain over this course last time out, the son of Tonalist gets a better draw today and figures to settle somewhere in mid-pack and then have a little less work to do than what was required in his most recent outing. His numbers are steadily rising and with I. Ortiz, Jr. back aboard, the C. Clement-trained colt is a deserving favorite at 9/5 on the morning line. Mystery Bank likely is the controlling speed from his inside draw and given that type of trip he should take this field a long way. Third when facing $50,000 winners last time out while earning a figure that makes him competitive in this spot, the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained colt retains E. Jaramillo and is a dangerous at 4-1 on the morning line. Venezuelan Hug, first off a D. Gargan $40,000 claim and therefore eligible to move up a ton for barn that has a superb record with this angle, picks up L. Saez and will be rolling late. With some help up front, the son of Constitution could make some serious noise in the final furlong.

RACE 8: Post 4:21 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 1-War Giant; 8-Legit

Forecast: Legit was a major prospect two years ago, winning his debut by more than seven lengths over this main track and then demolishing a first-level allowance over a sloppy surface at Pimlico during Preakness week. Off for 22 months, he returned in an extended sprint at Aqueduct last month, and after getting eliminated at the start with a poor break, produced an extended run to finish a strong third before galloping out strongly in a highly-rated race. With that effort behind, the son of Curlin should be ready to stretch out and win for T. Pletcher, and we’re expecting I. Ortiz, Jr. to have him a long in time, though his outside draw and the short stretch run to the finish line at this mile and one-sixteenth trip are problematic. Horse-for-course specialist War Giant has won four of seven over the local main track and seems sure to employ gate-to-wire tactics from his favorable rail draw. A first-time gelding coming off a facile score in a first-level allowance event, the son of Data Link has winning connections and seems a tad better than his morning line of 6-1. We’ll include him on a ticket or two as a saver, but the main push goes to Legit.

RACE 9: Post 4:53 ET. Grade: A-
Single: 3-Dr. Post

Forecast: Dr Post was a highly impressive recent maiden winner in his first start since his debut last summer while earning a monster figure and gives every indication that he’ll get nothing but better with distance and experience. The T. Pletcher-trained son of Quality Road stretches out to a middle distance from a comfortable draw and should have enough early speed to secure a favorable position and then kick home when given his cue. At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go a bit lower, he’s a logical rolling exotic single.

RACE 10: Post 5:25 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 3-New Year; 6-Crypto Gold; 7-Noble Home

Forecast: Crypto Gold was a pleasing winner of a $20,000 nw-2 event over this course and distance 15 days ago and returns on short rest to the $35,000 nw-3 level for a barn that likes to strike when the iron is hot. The son of Medaglia d’Oro took a long time to break his maiden but appears to have figured things out and the speed figure he just earned was a career top, one that makes him the one to beat once again despite the class hike. L. Saez stays aboard and will have this M. Maker-trained gelding doing his best work from the quarter pole home. New Year broke his maiden in his 12th career start, came back and won a $20,000 nw-2, and now moves up in class with his new found confidence. He’s actually a good fit on speed figures so despite low profile connections he’s worth including in rolling exotic play. Noble Hope, a $25,000 M. Pino claim last month, moves up a level today following a clever win and could continue to improve for his new connections. He’s a bit shy in the speed figure department of what will be needed to win this race, but the son of Noble Mission is a progressive sort and may offer a bit of value at 6-1 on the morning line.

RACE 11: Post 5:57 ET. Grade: B
Use: 2-Soldado; 5-Global Campaign; 9-Yorkton

Forecast: This is strong third-level allowance main track extended sprint with a nice mixture of up-and-comers colliding with a few proven stakes winners. Soldado is lightly raced, improving, fast on figures and the likely choice and one to beat. The T. Pletcher-trained son of Verrazano has won three of four lifetime starts over the Gulfstream Park main track including his last two, and he has the perfect stalking style for this seven furlong trip. Based on the projected race flow (slow early), Yorkton has a chance to gain control from his outside draw and never look back. The son of Speightstown, second to the talented Vekoma over this track and distance last time out, moves over to the G. Motion barn, and as a winner of seven career races the veteran gelding knows what to do when conditions are in his favor. Global Campaign launches as comeback and if he returns as well as he left he’ll be very competitive. The winner of the Peter Pan S.-G3 last year before finishing a good third in the Jim Dandy S.-G2, the son of Curlin won his debut over this track and distance so you know he can sprint and fire fresh. However, the work tab is light and the barn may be using this race simply as a launching pad, so we’ll use him only as a back-up while keeping a close eye on his performance for future reference.

RACE 12: Post 6:29 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 7-W W Archie; 9-Annualized

Forecast: The finale is another bottom-rung maiden $12,500 claiming sprint, a split of today’s third race. We’ll use two but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go for it. Annualized was scratched yesterday out of a turf sprint for this main track affair and if he can duplicate his last speed figure on this surface the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained gelding should be able to outrun this group. I. Ortiz, Jr. takes the call and we anticipate that he’ll have this son of Union Rags along in time. W W Archie is quicker than his main rival but a bit suspect under pressure in the final furlong. Third in his last pair but with moderate numbers, he drops to his lowest level and makes major rider switch to L. Saez. This turn back to six furlongs won’t hurt, either.