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Saturday, December 12: Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

December 12, 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.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes. For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.

RACE 1: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: C+
Use: 7-Iconic; 10-January Won; 11-Frank First

Forecast: Iconic returns to his claim level, backs up to a one-turn mile and has recent speed figures vs. tougher foes that are better than par for this class. A three-time winner over the local main track, the veteran son of Paddy O’Prado looks capable of returning to winning form in this bottom-rung $6,250 seller. January Won was victorious in a restricted (nw-3) $12,500 affair two-turning at GPW last month and is realistically spotted at this lower price. The son of New Year’s Day should be running on late. Frank First captured a similar event over seven furlongs at GPW three weeks ago, has enjoyed past success over this main track (three wins) and has a good stalking style that should produce a comfortable trip outside. At 8-1 on the morning line he’s certainly worth including somewhere on your ticket.

RACE 2: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: A-
Single: 2-Semper Fidelis

Forecast: Semper Fidelis was completely eliminated soon after the start when badly impeded from the rail in his debut at GPW last month and then rallied miraculously to be a fast-finishing second in a better-than-par maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-olds. The S. Joseph, Jr. barn has stellar stats with second-time starters (25%) so if this very promising son of Fast Anna enjoys a good start and a clean trip he should be very tough to beat. He’s 2-1 on the morning line and will offer value at anywhere near that price, so let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 3: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 4-Gambling Cat; 8-Con Lima

Forecast: Con Lima and Gambling Cat both exit tougher stakes race and will fit much in this first level allowance turf miler for juvenile fillies. ‘Lima, runner-up in both the P. G. Johnson S. and most recently the-off-turf Our Dear Page S., has been freshened since September and shows recent drills at Palm Beach Downs that should have her fit and ready. Though she has enough early speed to contest the pace, we suspect she’ll be most effective if held up early and allowed to run late. ‘Cat was wide and overmatched in the Jessamine S.-G2 at Keeneland in October but charts well here with a repeat of sharp Belmont Park debut maiden win the previous month. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll press with extra tickets keying Con Lima on top.

RACE 4: Post: 1:35 ET Grade: B+
Single: 5-Letruska

Forecast: Letruska was burned up setting sprinter’s fractions in the nine-furlong Beldame Invitational S.-G2 in early October and understandably caved in, but she’s ideally suited for this one-turn mile against this softer group of fillies and mares and seems likely to return to winning form in this year’s edition of the Rampart S.-G2. A perfect two-for-two over the Gulfstream Park main track, the daughter of Super Saver will race without blinkers for the first time in her career and we suspect the equipment chance will pay immediate dividends. A likely gate-to-wire candidate, she’s listed at 2-1 on the morning line and will offer value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near that price.

RACE 5: Post: 2:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Fierce Scarlett; 9-Napa Rules

Forecast: Fierce Scarlett seems fairly solid in this first-level allowance middle distance turf affair for older fillies and mares. The daughter of Scat Daddy will be making her second start off a layoff after appearing a tad rusty in a similar affair at Aqueduct last month, and with I. Ortiz, Jr. riding her back she should be able to produce a winning late kick. Napa Rules might be worth including as a back-up. She looks pretty cheap on paper but has a prior win over the course and numbers that are fairly competitive. Toss her in somewhere at 10-1 on the morning line.

RACE 6: Post: 2:38 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Lady’s Island; 3-Golden Ami

Forecast: Golden Ami gets tested for class after dismantling her opposition in a pair of easy wins to begin her career. The daughter of Goldencents didn’t make it to the races until the winter of her four year old season – she won a maiden race over the Gulfstream Park main track in March – and then most recently went north to Woodbine to take an allowance over the all-weather surface by more than five lengths, earning a stakes-quality speed figure in the process. Drawn outside the main speed today, the J. Carroll-trained filly probably will be asked to stalk and pounce in a slight change of tactics but she easily could be good enough to do just that. Lady’s Island is a rocket ship from the gate and seems certain to be the controlling inside speed. A seven-time winner (from 11 starts) over the local main track, the veteran mare has been freshened since early October and shows only two easy workouts since, but with a history of firing fresh we’re going to assume she’s ready. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Golden Ami.

RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: B
Single: 1-Midlaner

Forecast: After drawing the rail in his debut sprinting at Churchill Downs last month, Midlaner is stuck on the fence again today in this one-turn mile maiden affair juvenile, but this time he should be seasoned enough to overcome the disadvantageous draw. The son of Flatter flashed excellent speed before weaking late in a hot race in his debut and today projects to be the controlling speed in an affair that doesn’t on paper appear to be all that strong. The E. Kenneally-trained gelding shows a couple of easy breezes at Palm Meadows to tick him over since shipping down, so at 3-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Our Bay B Ruth; 5-Lady Lawyer

Forecast: Our Lady Lawyer is genuine, consistent, versatile and improving, so the daughter of Blame and looks primed to step forward again this year’s renewal of the listed My Charmer S. over a distance of ground on grass for fillies and mares. In a race that on paper lacks pace, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the C. Brown-trained filly make the running, just as she did in a facile allowance victory at Keeneland in her most recent outing in late October. The lightly-raced 4-year-old shows five wins from nine career starts, retains T. Gaffalione, and seems the logical top pick at 2-1 on the morning line. Our Bay B Ruth deserves some consideration, as well. Freshened since September and a winner of her only prior start (last year’s Tropical Park Oaks) over the Gulfstream Park turf course, the daughter of Candy Ride should be prominent throughout and have every chance from the quarter pole home.

RACE 9: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Phat Man; 7-Tatweej

Forecast: The 2020 edition of the Harlan’s Holiday S.-G3 is an intriguing event that features a few old pros and one up-and-coming colt that brought $2.5 million as a yearling. The well-bred Tatweej, a son of Tapit from the high class mare Tiz Miz Sue, was beaten in his debut but has since reeled off three consecutive sharp wins in overnight company and gets tested for class while moving into stakes competition and stretching out to two-turns for the first time. He’ll need improvement in the speed figure department to extend his winning streak to four, but the T. Pletcher-trained colt seems likely to be the controlling speed and given that type of trip may prove hard to catch. On pure form Phat Man is the one to fear most. First of second in 15 of 28 career starts and an excellent runner-up in this race last year, the J. K. Sweezey-trained gelding likes to lag early and blast home, and if our top pick can’t see out the trip he’s the most likely to pick up the pieces.

RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: B-
Use: 8-Spooky Channel; 9-Factor This

Forecast: The 2020 Ft. Lauderdale S.-G2 for older middle distance turf specialists is loaded with front-running types, so the natural inclination is try find the best closer and hope that that he gets fast fractions up front and good racing luck that can produce an upset score. Spooky Channel fits the bill. The veteran son of English Channel, away since July 4 when he finished a close sixth in the Manhattan S.-G1 at Belmont Park while being victimized by the race flow, returns with a steady series of workouts that should have him fit enough, and with clear sailing through the lane might tag the speed at a big price (he’s 12-1 on the morning line). A winner of eight races from 16 starts, the hard-hitting gelding knows where the wire is, retains regular pilot J. Leparoux, and though perhaps best as a marathon type is capable of winning at this nine furlong trip if things go his way. For protection, you may want to consider including Factor This on your ticket. He may be the most reliable of the need-the-lead types and has several triple-digit Beyer speed figures to go back to, so after setting the pace and weakening late in the BC Mile in his last start the B. Cox-trained 5-year-old should greatly appreciate this lesser assignment

Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: C
Use: 1-Lease; 6-Millean; 12-Mira Mission

Forecast: The finale is a wide-open grass grab bag for maiden $50,000 claiming 2-year-olds. Anything goes, so use as many as your budget allows. Millean was a well-beaten sixth in his only prior outing but that came against much tougher straight maidens at Saratoga and the son of Blame certainly should improve in this considerably easier spot for T. Pletcher. His recent series of workouts at Palm Beach Downs indicates he’s plenty fit. Mira Mission, a fair fourth vs. maiden special weight foes in his debut at Belmont Park in October, is another likely to step forward considerably with a race under his belt and the drop to this much easier spot. The extreme outside draw is no bargain but if he can drop over and save some early ground he should be heard from late. Lease is yet another showing the maiden-to-maiden claiming angle, lands the good rail, adds blinkers, and should find himself in a good stalking position while saving ground. We’ll see what he can do with that type of trip.