by Johnny D
July 2, 2021
Saturday, the Gr. 3, $200k Smile Sprint and Gr. 2 $350k Princess Rooney are ‘Invitational’ meats in a tasty Gulfstream Park Pick 4 sandwich. The former, afternoon’s 10th race at 5:02 pm ET, is a six-furlong sprint with a field of 8 topped by the versatile 6-year-old Gulfstream specialist #6 Diamond Oops. He’s 5-2 on the morning line and closely followed by 3-1 rated #4 Chance It, a win machine at two that won a one-mile stakes race at three and has a three-quarter length defeat in his only start at four.
The Princess Rooney, race 11 at 5:35 pm ET, is a seven-furlong test that matches 5-2 morning-line favorite and recent Belmont Bed O’ Roses winner #1 Estilo Talentoso against California invader #5 Ce Ce and six others. Amazingly, the former has never finished worse than third in 14 career starts, some in Gr. 1 races. Overall, she has just three wins and that reticence to score could open the door for multiple Gr. 1 winner #5 Ce Ce who, it should be noted, has never won a stakes sprint.
Preceding that pair of blockbusters and launching the Late Pick four in race 9 at 4:29 pm ET is a tricky $12,500 Claiming race going seven and one-half furlongs on turf. A full field of 12 is signed on, including one Main Track Only runner. Closing out the sequence is the 12th and final race—a Maiden $16k turf tour over seven and one-half furlongs. That’s attracted a field of 12, plus four Also Eligibles, two of which are entered Main Track Only.
Mother Nature, recently, has not been kind to Gulfstream Park. Wet weather has been the norm. Saturday’s Hallandale Beach forecast calls for a high temperature of 88 degrees with periods of clouds and sunshine and a thunderstorm in parts of the area in the afternoon. In other words, it’s your typical South Florida summer prediction. Selections below are made for a ‘Fast’ track and do not include analysis for scratches or surface changes.
As if you needed an additional reason to play Gulfstream’s Summit of Speed card, please note that account holders and NHC Tour Members can win Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and National Handicapping Championship seats, plus cash prizes in the 1/ST Summit of Speed Challenge with Xpressbet. The contest requires a $1,500 buy in--$500 entry fee and $1k bankroll. Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta & Daily Double wagers only and players must wager on a minimum of 5 contest races at a minimum of $100 on each of those races. Visit the Tournaments section of the Xpressbet web site for complete details.
Also, in play Saturday at Gulfstream is the Summit of Speed Money-Back Special. Receive a refund of losing win bests up to $10 each time the horse you bet to win in select races finishes second or third. Eligible for the promo are: Race 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 11. You first must register for the promotion and additional details are available at Xpressbet.
Below is one man’s opinion on Gulfstream Park’s Saturday Summit of Speed Late Pick 4.
Gulfstream Race 9
Seven and One-Half Furlongs (Turf)
Post Time 4:29 pm ET
#7 Financial System
Claimed for $40k from Chad Brown by Kelly Breen at Saratoga last summer, this 7-year-old was dropped to the $16k level for a win here going five furlongs. He was claimed out of that race by Jorge Delgado and won going one mile last out for $16k. He drops off that wire-to-wire tally over the GP turf where he’s won 3-of-7. While the aggressive placement looks strong, there is other speed in here.
#8 Positive Phil
This guy’s been tough lately at this level, winning two and finishing second twice in his last five starts. He’s just 3-for-21 overall, but he seems to have a new lease on life at age 5 for 17% trainer Juan Avila. Jockey Berrios and Avila combine at 27%.
#11 Harbour Master
This 7-year-old horse just finished second to #8 Positive Phil and certainly fits off earlier races against better. He’s 5-1 on the line and has the services of visiting jock Florent Geroux, one of the nation’s most underrated riders. He and trainer Biancone will collaborate with favorite #6 Diamond Oops in the Gr. 3 Smile Sprint and appear to have designs on visiting the winner’s circle one race earlier. It should be noted that he showed a bit more speed last out and will need to use some early lick to get position in this seven and one-half furlong dash around two turns.
This is a tricky race—seven and one-half furlong turf dashes around two turns for $12,5k claimers usually are--but the trio of runners mentioned above appear to have the best chances of getting home first: #7 Financial System, #8 Positive Guy, #11 Harbour Master. Below we’ve suggested a ticket that uses just about everyone in this race anticipating usual chaos. Adjust wager accordingly to your own opinions and tastes.
Gulfstream Race 10
Smile Sprint Invitational – Grade 3 - $200k
Post Time 5:02 pm ET
#4 Chance It
This 4-year-old colt was sharp at two, dominating Florida-bred stakes at Gulfstream Park. He made just two starts at three and won the Mucho Macho Man at one mile in January of that season. He missed by three-quarters of a length in his return to the races May 23. He has trained very well since for top trainer Saffie Joseph, with a best-of-65 four-furlong :46 and bullet five-furlong 1:00 2/5. He’s never been worse than second over this track.
#5 Double Crown
At three, he tried two Gr. 3 sprints—this race, the Smile Sprint against elders and Pimlico’s 3-year-olds only Chick Lang where he ran into the buzzsaw named Yaupon. In his recent local return to the races he provided snake-bitten trainer Kathy Ritvo with her lone win this season out of 27 starts. He’ll need to do a bit better to win this but he’s 4-for-7 overall and 3-for-5 at Gulfstream. He also has plenty of upside that points toward a big effort Saturday.
#6 Diamond Oops
This versatile gelding is the 5/2 race favorite based on sterling 6-for-10 surface and 4-for-7 distance stats. Overall, he’s won 8 of 20 while facing Gr. 1 foes on dirt and turf. Impressive. Now 6-years-old, he gamely prevailed over #8 Miles Ahead last out in his second 2021 start. We like leaning against 6-year-old runners whenever possible because they often have extensive resumes that attract wagering dollars but may not still have a knockout punch. This guy has been working well on Palm Meadows turf for this.
#8 Miles Ahead
This ‘win type’ (7-for-15 overall and 6-for-13 at GP) just missed to the 5/2 favorite last out in an overnight handicap while getting 5 pounds from #6 Diamond Oops. The spread is just two pounds here. Miles Ahead has nowhere near the resume of #6 Diamond Oops but has run some fast races against lesser. Could this be the 4-year-old’s graded stakes coming out party?
#6 Diamond Oops has the optimal resume and is training well. He’s logical. Those willing to take a bit of swing might give #5 Double Crown a thought. He appears ready to fire a big one. If you’re in a daring mood, toss the chalk, single #5 Double Crown and spread elsewhere. We’ve outlined that kind of ticket below.
Gulfstream Race 11
Princess Rooney Invitational – Grade 2 - $350k
Post Time 5:35 pm ET
#1 Estilo Talentoso
Hats off to this consistent 4-year-old filly who’s been no worse than third in 14 lifetime starts, including 2 Grade 1 seven-furlong sprints at Keeneland and Churchill. She’s earned 5-2 favoritism off that record and her Gr. 3 Bed O’ Roses victory last out at Belmont. That’s she’s only won 3 of 14 and draws the rail in here are not positives at what could be a short-ish price.
This 4-year-old filly is interesting because she’s run fast enough to compete in here but has been gone since January when she battled on the early pace and was passed late by #4 Pacific Gale in the Gr. 2 Inside Information. This filly is a ‘win type,’ with speed and she likes Gulfstream Park. Connections obviously have aimed this Florida-bred toward this race off a six-month layoff. She could be dangerous at 6-1.
#4 Pacific Gale
Rocked the tote when first at 16-1 in the Gr. 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream in January. She hasn’t repeated that effort since, granted, with a few excuses. Still, she a 6-year-old who seems to be tailing off. She got a great setup in her January victory and may not get that same advantage in here.
#5 Ce Ce
She’s second choice at 3-1 and has accomplished a lot in her career, with the best (multiple Grade 1 wins) coming around two turns. She has won sprinting, usually off a layoff in in an allowance race. She bobbled at the start in her last (worst of her career) but figures to be overbet off her two-turn triumphs.
#3 Thissmytime is the most interesting runner in the race. If she’s ready to fire, and connections have had plenty of places to run her before this, she could be tough on the front end in a race that doesn’t appear to have a great deal of speed.
#1 Estilo Talentoso clearly has earned sprinting respect, but she’s a bit camera shy.
#5 Ce Ce certainly can win, but her best work in stakes has come around two turns.
Gulfstream Race 12
Seven and One-Half Furlongs
Post Time 6:08 pm ET
#6 Sette Stelle
This 0-11 maiden fired two decent shots in his last pair, when second, missing by three-quarters and one-half length in each. One of those was at today’s distance, too. Can he muster up a third consecutive top effort? If so, he should be around at the finish, again.
#7 Sweeney’s Cat
This colt has speed and may set or force the pace in here. He’s 0-9, but has four recent in-the-money efforts to his credit. Speed is a handy commodity in these cheap maiden races. He’s 3-1 on the morning line after finishing lapped on #6 Sette Stelle.
He’s interesting because he’s races just four times and may have upside. Jockey switch to 21% winner Edwin Gonzalez is interesting move for low-percentage outfit. This colt was claimed for $25k three back and could find a cut-back in distance suitable.
9- Mulsanne Run
One has to pay attention to a Saffie Joseph-trained second-time starter dropping into a wide-open maiden-claiming event. Trainer is 25% with second time starters and is a crushing 43% with Maiden Special Weight to Maiden Claiming Runners. First-time turf is one of the few areas where the trainer doesn’t excel. He’s just 9% in that category, according to Daily Racing Form stats.
This colt has speed and should be sent from this outside box. He drops in for the lowest claiming price of his career and that should help in a wide-open race. Low-profile connections and the tough post don’t inspire additional confidence, but solid speed figures against better fit.
This race seems taylor-made for a ‘spread.’ Reasons to like several of them and no one to fall in love with.
#9 Mulsanne Run for trainer Saffie Joseph probably must be used.
#8 Jarlian is a forward type that seems to fit at a decent price (10-1 ML).
#6 Sette Stelle is 5/2 ML favorite and no cinch. 0-11 could be tossed by bold players.
#7 Sweeney’s Cat has speed and fits with #6 Sette Stelle.
#10 Campeador drops, has speed and fits at 9-2 ML
GULFSTREAM BETTING STRATEGY
$.50 Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12)
Race 9: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12
Race 10: 5
Race 11: 1, 3
Race 12: 7, 8, 9, 10