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Sunday, December 20: Gulfstream Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

December 20, 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: 1-Pugin; 3-Todaystheday; 4-Nitro Time

Forecast: The Sunday opener is a maiden $25,000 five furlong turf sprint for 2-year-olds that requires as much coverage as you can give it. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics and hope that’s enough. Nitro Time ships in from Churchill Downs and makes the all-important drop from maiden to maiden-claiming after displaying good early speed but then fading in an extended dash last month. Against this group we expect he’ll have a strong pace presence from start to finish, Todaystheday, a good runner-up under these conditions 16 days ago, adds blinkers and certainly has a right to continue his improving pattern. Pugin turns back from a miler and will be running on late. Second in his last pair and a fit on speed figures, the Palace Malice gelding will need some luck from the rail but if room develops in the stretch he could tag the speed.

RACE 2: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B-
Use: 5-Midnight Whiskey; 6-Nimble Beast

Forecast: Let’s take a shot with a price play in this restricted (nw-2) $6,250 extended sprint for older horses. Midnight Whiskey shows up cheap in his first start for a tag, adds blinkers, and has back numbers that are good enough to win. His recent form looks bleak but against this group he may regain his confidence, and if he can flash some of his old early speed he should be in the fray throughout. Nimble Beast finally found a soft maiden $10,000 field he could outrun last month and graduated in his 14th career start. The number was better than par for this level, so the K. O’Connell-trained gelding has to be taken seriously right back.

RACE 3: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Rockstar Ro; 4-Lucky Law

Forecast: Rockstar Ro probably can’t beat a real good 2-year-old maiden but if there aren’t any world beaters in this five furlong turf sprint he should be tough to handle. The son of Gemologist has run well on grass in the past and most recently finished fourth in a hot dirt sprint at Churchill Downs after leading the way inside the furlong pole. At this shorter trip, he’ll take some catching. First-timer Lucky Law has six consecutive bullet workouts on his resume to indicate plenty of speed and ability for a barn that is quite capable with debut runners. Certainly bred to win early (No Nay Never), the P. Biancone-trained colt would appear to be the most dangerous of the newcomers and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.

RACE 4: Post: 1:35 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Gilded Lady; 6-Good Shabbos; 8-You’re the Best

Forecast: Good Shabbos drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and against this soft $20,000 field the daughter of Munnings seems properly spotted to earn her diploma. A strong fit on speed figures and in the frame in seven of eight career starts, the K. Breen-trained filly lacks tactical speed but should have every chance to produce the last run. Of some concern, though, is that she was a beaten favorite in her last pair and may not be one to totally trust. Gilded Lady finished first in a similar affair at Monmouth Park in August but was disqualified for drifting out badly and causing interference in the stretch. The number she earned makes her a major player against this group and a healthy recent work tab indicates she is plenty fit. Hopefully, she runs straight today. You’re the Best drops to her lowest level ever, hit the board in her last pair and has numbers that are competitive. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics without any great conviction.

RACE 5: Post: 2:01 ET Grade: B
Use: 3-Centsless Drama; 4-Spin Your Partner

Forecast: Spin Your Partner improved dramatically when beating straight maidens at GPW in October in her first start since joining the J. Cibelli barn and returns today in a starter’s allowance race that she’s eligible for after competing for a modest tag earlier in her career. The daughter of Hard Spun wants to be held up and allowed to run late, so if she employs the proper tactics with the switch to the barn’s “go-to” rider P. Lopez there’s every reason to believe she can win right back at 4-1 on the morning line. Centsless Drama will be the controlling speed as usual, though she’s always suspect under pressure close home. Second in her last four starts after holding the lead inside the furlong pole, the daughter of Big Drama can’t really be trusted but she’s a fit on speed figures so we’ll toss her in on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver.

RACE 6: Post: 2:40 ET Grade: C+
Use: 3-Digital Footprint; 8-Shining Through; 12-Bee Catcher

Forecast: Here’s an “anything” goes turf miler for restricted (nw-2) $20,000 older horses. Bee Catcher is stuck on the far outside and it’s questionable whether he’ll be able to secure the type of trip needed to win but he’s a strong fit while dropping to his lowest level ever and has a prior win over this course and distance. L. Saez will likely drop over, get cover, and then hope to find room to rally from the quarter pole home. Digital Footprint is somewhat intriguing at 6-1 on the morning line in his first start since February and his first for M. Maker. The son of Giant’s Causeway likely will display good early speed from his favorable inside draw, and his recent work tab indicates he should be fit enough for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. Shining Through has one win in 19 starts with nine seconds and thirds, so he’s hardly one to trust, but the Malibu Moon gelding shows a recent runner-up effort over the local lawn and seems likely to clunk up and at least get a minor award. We’ll have him on a ticket or two as a back-up.

RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Tayet; 8-Unbridled d’Oro

Forecast: Tayet is listed at 10-1 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower than that. The daughter of Cairo Prince flashed good early speed from the rail over seven furlongs in her debut at Churchill Downs last month and led the way until mid-stretch before weakening. She figures to stick much better today with that effort behind her and very likely will be the controlling speed from her rail draw. The best of the newcomers we suspect is the T. Pletcher-trained Unbridled d’Oro, a filly by Medaglia d’Oro from Ballerina S.-G1 winner Unbridled Forever. There’s nothing fancy on the work tab at Palm Beach Downs but the barn has strong stats with first-timers and she’s been given a strong foundation of drills to have her fit and ready. From what we’ve seen on tape she’s a good mover with plenty of ability.

RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Stefanie On Fleek; 7-Little Bit Good; 9-Skye Snow

Forecast: Skye Snow won a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 seller with a career top speed figure at Belmont Park in September and was claimed by high percentage trainer B. Cox. Off for nearly three months and returning in this (nw-3) $20,000 affair, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid takes the most unhealthiest of class drops, even for a barn that hits at 26% with the first-off-the-claim angle. Her recent :47 1/5 breeze around dogs on grass (second fastest of 49) provides hope that she has at least one good one left, so with I. Ortiz, Jr. taking the call we’ll put her on top at 5/2 on the morning line but certainly won’t put all of our eggs in her basket. Little Bit Good and Stefanie On Fleek, two-three finishers in a similar affair here earlier this month, are in solid form and should fire their best shots. The former is winless in five starts over the local lawn but was nosed out when earning a career top speed figure and should be heard from late, while the latter is a one-paced grinding type but projects to enjoy a ground-saving, second flight journey and have every chance when the pressure is turned on.

RACE 9: Post: 4:12 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-Green Mansions; 4-Dardanellos; 7-Nacho Papa

Forecast: Trainer J. Delgado has two solid contenders in this state-bred allowance optional claiming sprint, with Green Mansions, a first-off-the-claim play turning back from a sloppy track GPW router to a one-turn mile, looking fairly solid even though he’s just 1-for-16 in his career over the local main track. The Kantharos gelding likes to settle and make one run and under I. Ortiz, Jr., he’ll get the proper ride. Stable mate Nacho Papa is nicely drawn outside and is fresh from earning a career top speed figure when second in a restricted $8,000 router at GPW in mid-November. He’ll be forwardly placed today, perhaps even on the lead, in a race that projects to have an extremely soft early pace. Worth tossing in at 8-1 on the morning line is Dardanellos, a three time winner at Gulfstream Park but with recent form that looks unattractive. He’s got back numbers that are good enough to win and should draft into a cozy stalking journey and have his chance from there.

RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-The Virginian; 6-Ray’swarrior

Forecast: Tough old pro Ray’swarrior clearly deserves the edge on top in this Florida-bred five furlong grass sprint for allowance optional claimers. The K. Breen-trained gelding was unplaced in the Claiming Crown Express but tackles easier today and returns to a course that he’s won on in the past. In an abbreviated dash that surprisingly lacks a lot of speed types, he could find himself on or near the lead throughout, and with 11 wins on his resume the son of Majestic Warrior knows how to capitalize when given that type of trip. The Virginian is lightly-raced with room to improve, having finished a solid runner-up sprinting on turf at GPW last month. He’s a bit light in the speed figure department but at least his numbers are headed in the right direction.

Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: B-
Use: 11-Riggins; 12-Mr. Tip

Forecast: The two main contenders in this mile grass affair for restricted (nw-2) $20,000 claimers must leave from the extreme outside, so this could turn out to be something of a chaotic affair. Riggins returns to grass and drops into a seller, so we suspect the Liam’s Map gelding will be able to repeat the quality of his maiden claiming win over this course and distance last spring, one that earned a speed figure that is par for this level. He’ll likely drop back, try to save some ground, and then kick home when set down. Mr. Tip surfaces for a tag for the first time and should greatly appreciate this softer assignment. He’ll need to overcome the 12-hole and avoid losing too much ground early, but if he can secure a second flight, stalking trip he should have a pretty good look.