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Gulfstream Has Presidents Day Program; Lewis Bay Headlines G3 Royal Delta

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park hosts a special Presidents Day program Monday highlighted by the $200,000 Royal Delta (G2) for fillies and mares going one mile and a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $1,072,444.40. The 12-race program begins at noon with the Royal Delta the 11th race on the card. Lewis Bay, who led gate-to-wire Dec. 16 to win the Rampart (G3) by 1 ¼ lengths over Curlin’s Approval, is the 5-2 morning line favorite while Curlin’s Approval is at 3-1. Verve’s Tale, a graded-stakes winner trained by Barclay Tagg, is 6-1 and will be making her first start since finishing third at Aqueduct Dec. 2 in the Go for Wand (G3). There was no single winner in Sunday’s Rainbow 6. Multiple winning tickets returned $1,445.90. There was $431,318 of fresh money wagered Sunday into the Rainbow 6. Monday’s Rainbow 6 sequence begins with the seventh race, a 1 1/16th mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies. The sequence will also include a maiden special weight event for 3-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs and the Royal Delta. The popular multi-race wager was last hit Jan. 28, when the mandatory payout of a North American record $19.779 million pool produced multiple winning tickets worth $15,566. The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. Irish War Cry, Tommy Macho Nominated for Hal’s Hope (G3) Irish War Cry, winner of last year’s Holy Bull (G2) and second in the Belmont Stakes (G1), is one of 18 nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3). Irish War Cry hasn’t run since finishing eighth in September in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1). Trainer Graham Motion said he is pointing Irish War Cry towards the Hal’s Hope or Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) March 31. Others nominated include Tommy Macho, who won the Hal’s Hope last year and the Fred Hooper (G3) here on Pegasus World Cup Day, Fort Lauderdale (G2) runner-up One Go All Go, and graded-stakes placed Economic Model, Conquest Big E, Mr. Jordan and Richard the Great. The Hal’s Hope will be part of a Saturday program that includes the Texas Glitter and Melody of Colors.

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Gulfstream Guarantees Pools for Saturday's Starter Stakes Day

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s Saturday program, featuring 12 Starter Stakes worth $680,000, will also feature guaranteed pools in the Late Pick 4 and Late Pick 5 and a guaranteed pool in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 of $1.25 million. Post time for Saturday’s first race is noon. The Late Pick 4 will have a guaranteed pool of $300,000 and the Late Pick 5 will have a guaranteed pool of $250,000. The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will be guaranteed at $1.25 million only if no one hits the popular multi-race wager Thursday or Friday. Thursday’s carryover was $688,149. The Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4 will include three turf races. The Rainbow 6 sequence will begin with the seventh race, a $50,000 Starter at 1 1/16 miles on the turf with a dozen 4-year-olds and up.

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February 15: Free Dubai Picks, Including the UAE 2,000 Guineas

Thunder Snow was the star turn at Meydan last week when taking Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge. His performance though, although useful, was far removed from being one that puts him in contention to win a World Cup. His time was just below par for an extended 9f dirt race at Meydan and although he could improve some more I am doubtful that he is a legitimate World Cup candidate. He is essentially a useful turf horse who is effective on dirt. Five weeks of Carnival action have yielded ten winners here on the blog. Hopefully we can maintain the momentum. Week six is not a strong week. Small fields predominate, but we will get a chance to see a proper dirt horse in the shape of Gold Town, who should take the UAE 2000 Guineas in his stride. Race 2 (10:05AM ET) - #2 Golden Wood (FR) (2/1) Christophe Soumillon was at his brilliant best to win on this horse last time out and he is on board again on Thursday. The form of that victory has worked out well as the runner-up, Gold Star, has won since. He has only gone up 3lb in the weights for that success but given that he looked in tremendous form last time and has had a month to recover from his exertions he looks capable of defying the rise. He is usually held up (strong traveller) and could do with some pace to run at, but I will leave the tactics to Soumillon. That is often the best policy. Race 3 (10:40AM ET) - #6 Jupiter Light (GB) (6/1) Jupiter Light is having his second run since being gelded and his first for Salem Bin Ghadayer having been bought out of the John Gosden yard for 220,000 guineas. He is a winner on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton, which gives some hope that he will act well in dirt. He also starts his career in Dubai in a weak race and although Don’t Give up could easily win again he is certainly vulnerable to an improver.  Jupiter Light improved for the gelding operation to win at Nottingham, when awarded the spoils, and there could be more to come provided he takes to the dirt. His keen going nature could well ensure he avoids the kickback and he is worth chancing. Race 5 (11:50AM ET) - #4 Gold Town (GB) (4/5) Gold Town is bred to be a dirt horse and moves like one, with his win in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial being impressive. He seemed to relish racing on this dirt surface and won comfortably despite racing through quick early fractions. Eased down to win by four and a half lengths, he was miles better than his rivals that day and those that take him on again are surely just pitching for minor honours. It will be disappointing if he cannot win this. He merely has to turn up and do what he did last time. Race 7 (1:00PM ET) - #1 Suyoof (AUS) (6/1) I get the distinct impression that this has been the target for this horse for a while and he can give Mike De Kock his second Carnival winner of 2018. Suyoof shaped really well on his first run here this season behind D’Bai. He was given plenty to do but under a quiet ride he caught the eye coming home strongly. At the 2017 Carnival a similar pattern emerged in that he needed his first run and shaped well before striking on his second start. He was a Grade three and useful winner in South Africa so a mark of 108 will be no barrier to success. He looks to be a massive player here.

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2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2 (February 9 - 11, 2018): 1. Audible (Pletcher) - 9/1 ($21.80)2. Avery Island (McLaughlin) - 27/1 ($57.40) 3. Bolt d'Oro (Ruis) - 8/1 ($18.00) 4. Catholic Boy (Thomas) - 16/1 ($35.60) 5. Combatant (Asmussen) - 72/1 ($146.60) 6. Copper Bullet (Asmussen) - 43/1 ($88.20)  7. Enticed (McLaughlin) - 62/1 ($126.60) 8. Firenze Fire (Servis) - 63/1 ($128.80) 9. Free Drop Billy (Romans) - 36/1 ($75.40) 10. Good Magic (Brown) - 8/1 (18.00) 11. Instilled Regard (Hollendorfer) - 18/1 ($38.40) 12. Mask (Brown) - 22/1 ($47.20) 13. McKinzie (Baffert) - 9/1 ($20.60) 14. Mendelssohn (O'Brien) - 44/1 ($90.00) 15. Montauk (Pletcher) - SCRATCHED 16. Mourinho (Baffert) - 31/1 ($64.20) 17. Principe Guilherme (Asmussen) - 30/1 ($62.60) 18. Retirement Fund (Asmussen) - 67/1 ($137.80) 19. Solomini (Baffert) - 19/1 ($40.40) 20. Sporting Chance (Lukas) - 33/1 ($69.80) 21. Strike Power (Hennig) - 40/1 ($83.60) 22. Tiz Mischief (Romans) - 71/1 ($144.80) 23. Untamed Domain (Motion) - 41/1 ($84.40) 24. All Other 3YO's - 5/2 ($7.00)   Printer-Friendly Version, with Exacta Will Pays

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February 8: Free Dubai Picks; Thunder Snow Back at Meydan

Benbatl was the star on show last week at Meydan. In a slowly run race where he had to race most inefficiently (111.23 per cent) he fired off a sensational final 200 metres in 21.79sec. He is, for sure, a Group one horse, now fulfilling all the potential he showed when posting a big time figure when winning the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. The Jebel Hatta and Dubai Turf are on his agenda. He was a winning selection here last week and that makes it eight winners for me since the Dubai World Cup Carnival started. On another stellar card here are four more selections. Race 2 (10:05AM ET) - #4 Montsarrat (15/1) Montsarrat was an impressive wide margin winner here on the dirt two starts ago. He made all and routed his rivals by more than 10 lengths. Next time up he was surprisingly switched to the turf, where he shaped well despite being given a far too aggressive ride by Mickael Barzalona. In effect he rode a dirt race on the turf; kicking clear but paying for his exertions. He is better than the bare result there and now returned to dirt - and able to attack from stall 1 - he can regain the winning thread. Race 4 (11:15AM ET) - #1 Hit the Bid (GB) (2/1) Hit The Bid gave the very fast Ertijaal a fright on the first week of the Carnival. He pressed the winner throughout and only gave way late on. He was in receipt of weight but that was still a big performance and, having been given time to get over that effort, he can win this race with authority. This contest lacks much strength in depth and the speed figures this horse has posted makes him a standout. He should be backed with confidence. Race 5 (11:50AM ET) - #8 Thunder Snow (IRE) (2/1) Thunder Snow won the UAE Derby in 2017 and had a decent campaign in top class company on the turf in Europe over the summer. He is being aimed at the Dubai World Cup and made a respectable start to this year’s UAE campaign when second to Heavy Metal here in round one of the Maktoum Challenge. His jockey, Christophe Soumillon, looked after him that day and he shaped really well. Thunder Snow should relish the step up in distance and he can turn the tables on Heavy Metal, who is a doubtful stayer at this trip. Race 6 (12:25PM ET) - #16 Zaman (6/5) I respect the chance of Tangled here, who switches from dirt to turf, but Zaman is the one for me given his classy European turf form. He was an excellent fourth to Gustav Klimt in the Superlative at Newmarket and chased home an on song Expert Eye at Goodwood. That level of form translates well to this Meydan Classic Trial and he hails from the in-form Charlie Appleby yard. Stall 11 is not at all ideal but this horse has plenty of ability and William Buick may well be able to slot in and get a decent trip in a very winnable race.

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McKinzie Joins Good Magic, Bolt d'Oro Atop KY Derby Futures Pool 2

Fast rising stars McKinzie (#13), Audible (#1) and Mask (#12) join reigning 2-year-old champion Good Magic (#10) and the accomplished Bolt d’Oro (#3) atop the roster of individual betting interests in this week’s second pool of Churchill Downs’ 2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), but the ever-popular Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, remains the likely wagering favorite for the pool that kicks of its three-day run on Friday, Feb. 9. The “All Others” wager has been the favorite in first pool of the New Year since the Kentucky Derby Future Wager was introduced in 1999 and Churchill Downs odds maker Mike Battaglia has installed “All Others” as the 7-2 choice in his morning line for the upcoming pool. Wagering in KDFW Pool 2 will open at noon (all times EST) on Friday. The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables fans to bet on possible contenders for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) at Churchill Downs well in advance of the May 5 running of America’s greatest race. Odds on horses in the four KDFW pools could be more attractive than those available on the day of the race. Each wagering pool features 24 vetting interests that consist of 23 individual horses and the “All Others” interest, which includes all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the pool’s individual horses. The wager is $2 minimum bet and is a win wager only. Pari-mutuel payouts on winning tickets on Kentucky Derby Day will be determined by the final odds in each respective pool. Each pool also includes a minimum $2 exacta wager that requires bettors to correctly choose the top two Derby finishers in the exact order of finish. The exacta is also a $2 minimum bet, with exacta boxes available in $1 increments. The second Kentucky Derby Futures Pool of 2018 is topped by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s unbeaten McKinzie, one of three Pool 2 hopes under the care of Hall of Famer and four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert. The son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense is the 8-1 individual choice after three wins that include a triumph via disqualification in the Los Alamitos Futurity (GI) and Santa Anita’s Sham (GIII). Baffrert also trains Zayat Stables LLC’s Solomini (#19, 20-1), disqualified from first to third in McKinzie’s win at Los Alamitos, and Phoenix Thoroughbreds III’s Mourinho (#16, 12-1), a son of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver who won Oaklawn Park’s Smarty Jones in his only start of 2018. Just behind McKinzie at 10-1 are e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Good Magic, the Eclipse Award champion 2-year-old of 2017 following his victory in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Del Mar for trainer Chad Brown, and Ruis Racing LLC’s Bolt d’Oro, third as the beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup event and a winner of three of four career starts for trainer Mick Ruis. The Juvenile was the only win in three 2017 races for Good Magic, while Bolt d’Oro scored emphatic wins in the Del Mar Futurity (GI) and Santa Anita’s FrontRunner (GI) prior to his loss to Brown’s star. A pair of fast-rising stars is next at 12-1 in WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International Ltd. and SF Racing LLC’s Audible, an impressive 5 ½-length winner of last week’s Holy Bull (GIII) at Gulfstream Park for trainer Todd Pletcher, and the Brown-trained Mask, Lane’s End Racing’s unbeaten winner of Gulfstream’s Mucho Macho Man. Pletcher, who earned his second Kentucky Derby victory last year with Always Dreaming, also trains Robert V. LaPenta, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC et al’s Montauk (#15, 20-1), an 11 ¼-length winner of his lone career start in October at Saratoga. Pool 2 notables with international connections include Withers (GIII) and Nashua (GII) winner Avery Island (#2, 20-1) and Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) winner Enticed (#7, 30-1), both owned by Dubai-based Godolphin and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Mendelssohn (#14, 30-1), winner of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) for Ireland-based training star Aidan O’Brien. Winchell Thoroughbeeds and Willis Horton Racing LLC’s Copper Bullet (#6, 50-1), winner of the Saratoga Special (GII), is the most accomplished member of a group of four KDFW Pool 2 betting interests trained by Steve Asmussen.  The Asmussen foursome also includes Combatant (#5, 50-1), the Winchell and Horton-owned runner-up in the Smarty Jones and Remington Park’s Springboard Mile; Three Chimneys Farm’s Lecomte (GIII) runner-up Principe Guilherme (#17, 30-1); and L and N Racing’s unbeaten Retirement Fund (#18, 30-1). Five trainers in KDFW Pool 2 have multiple horses. In addition to Baffert, Brown, Pletcher and McLaughlin, Churchill Downs-based trainer Dale Romans has Albaugh Family Stables’ Free Drop Billy (#9, 20-1), winner of Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) and runner-up in the Holy Bull, and Frank L. Jones Jr.’s Tiz Mischief (#22, 30-1), runner-up in Kentucky Jockey Club and third in the Holy Bull. Along with Baffert and Pletcher, Kentucky Derby-winning trainers with horses in Pool 2 include Hall of Famer and four-time winner D. Wayne Lukas and Graham Motion. Lukas is represented by Hopeful (GI) winner Sporting Chance (#20, 50-1) and Motion by Untamed Domain (#23, 30-1). The latter is a son of Animal Kingdom, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby for Motion. The roster of wagering interests for Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (with morning line odds): 1. Audible (Pletcher) - 12/12. Avery Island (McLaughlin) - 20/13. Bolt d'Oro (Ruis) - 10/14. Catholic Boy (Thomas) - 20/15. Combatant (Asmussen) - 50/16. Copper Bullet (Asmussen) - 50/17. Enticed (McLaughlin) - 30/18. Firenze Fire (Servis) - 30/19. Free Drop Billy (Romans) - 20/110. Good Magic (Brown) - 10/111. Instilled Regard (Hollendorfer) - 30/112. Mask (Brown) - 12/113. McKinzie (Baffert) - 8/114. Mendelssohn (O'Brien) - 30/115. Montauk (Pletcher) - 20/116. Mourinho (Baffert) - 12/117. Principe Guilherme (Asmussen) - 30/118. Retirement Fund (Asmussen) - 30/119. Solomini (Baffert) - 20/120. Sporting Chance (Lukas) - 50/121. Strike Power (Hennig) - 20/122. Tiz Mischief (Romans) - 30/123. Untamed Domain (Motion) - 30/124. All Other 3YO's - 7/2 There are no scratches or refunds in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the three-day run of Pool 2 that a wagering interest has suffered an injury or other circumstance that would prevent that horse from competing in the Kentucky Derby, wagering on that interest will be immediately suspended.

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Aqueduct, Gulfstream & Santa Anita Offer 'Cross Country' P4 Saturday

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - On Saturday, February 3, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a three-track Cross Country Pick 4 featuring, two races from Gulfstream Park, one race from Santa Anita Park and one race from Aqueduct Racetrack. The Pick 4 sequence will start with Race 9 at Aqueduct, a maiden claiming race with a scheduled post time of 5:05 p.m. EST. It will be followed by the Grade 3 Dania Beach, carded as Race 11 at Gulfstream (5:16 p.m.). The final two legs will be key Triple Crown prep races, starting with the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis as Race 5 at Santa Anita (5:30 p.m.). The Cross Country Pick 4 will be capped off by the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream (5:49 p.m.). The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 4 is also available ontrack, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. 

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Saturday's Dania Beach an Unorthodox Derby Prep for Untamed Domain

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Graham Motion readily admits that he will derive special pride from saddling West Point Thoroughbreds’ Untamed Domain for his 2018 debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Motion takes a lot of pride in saddling all of his horses, but Untamed Domain, being a son of Animal Kingdom, brings back some pretty special memories for the man who saddled his sire for triumphs in the 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) and the 2013 Dubai World Cup (G1). “It would be even more fun it we could get him to the Derby,” said Motion, whose Grade 2 winner and Grade 1-placed colt has been installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 10 entered in the mile turf stakes. “To have one of his best horses, it’s quite gratifying. It’s quite gratifying for it to come full circle like that.” The Dania Beach, one of five graded stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday’s card headlined by the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2), could well lead Untamed Domain onto the Kentucky Derby trail, despite the fact that the one-mile stakes is scheduled to be run on turf. ”We had considering going in the Holy Bull, but when I started to weigh the pros and cons of coming off a layoff and running on the dirt for the first time and the small reward as far as Derby points, we just came to the decision that it would make sense that his next start would one of those (Derby prep) races that would have a little more at stake,” Motion said. “He’d have had a start and there wouldn’t be a question about his fitness.” Untamed Domain distinguished himself as one of the country’s premier 2-year-olds on turf last year, concluding his 2017 campaign with a late-surging second-place finish under Jose Ortiz in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 3. “It was just a tough trip. There were a lot of horses. He’s a horse that comes off the pace and he’s not a very good gate horse. He usually breaks a step slow,” Motion said. “Jose made the decision along the back stretch – there were so many people stopping and starting down on the rail – to take him around. I’m sure it was the right thing to do but it meant he lost a lot of ground and that probably cost him the race. That’s no criticism of Jose.” Prior to his runner-up finish behind Mendelssohn in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Untamed Domain captured the Summer Stakes (G2) at Woodbine after placing behind highly regarded Catholic Boy in the With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga. He broke his maiden at Saratoga July 22 in his second career start. Although Untamed Domain has never raced on dirt, Motion is hopeful that he will eventually prove to be as versatile as Animal Kingdom, who captured the Derby in his dirt debut and was successful on turf, synthetic and dirt during his career. Animal Kingdom’s offspring have shown ability on dirt and turf thus far. “It’s a surprise how well they’ve done as 2-year-olds. Don’t forget Animal Kingdom didn’t break his maiden at Keeneland until late October going a mile and an eighth, so it’s a bit of a surprise how well they’ve done as 2-year-olds,” Motion said. Jose Ortiz maintains the mount aboard Untamed Domain. Zayat Stables’ Gidu, who is rated second in the morning line at 3-1, will concede a big edge in experience to Untamed Domain. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt will start for just the third time Saturday after finishing second in his debut at Saratoga in August and capturing a five-furlong maiden race on turf by 3 ¼ lengths. “He’s a very talented colt, stretching out for the first time,” Pletcher said. “We entered him in an allowance race last week that didn’t fill. He’s trained so well we decided to take a shot.” John Velazquez has the return mount aboard the son of Frankel, who was purchased approximately $450,000 at the 2016 Arqana Deauville August sale. Pletcher is also slated to saddle Calumet Farm’s Channel Cat, who broke his maiden by disqualification at Gulfstream in September and returned off a 3 ½-month layoff to finish third in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Jan. 13. “Channel Cat ran a winning type of race in the allowance race and decided we’d give it a try,” said Pletcher, who named Javier Castellano to ride the Calumet Farm homebred. Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Speed Franco, who defeated Channel Cat only to be disqualified in his Sept. 23 debut before breaking his maiden by six lengths in the Dec. 9 Pulpit Stakes, will seek to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Kitten’s Joy, in which he was beaten by only a length. Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount aboard the Gustavo Delgado-trained son of Declaration of War. Stride Rite Racing Stable’s Renaisance Frolic, who finished a fast-closing third in the Kitten’s Joy; Stonestreet Stables’ and Aquis Farm’s Machtree, who captured an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream last time out; Secure Investments and I C Racings, Cuestion de Tiempo, a two-time winner at Tampa; Kenneth English and Alan Braun’s Wildcat’s Legacy, a stakes winner trying turf for the first time; Magic Stables’ Cometin, an optional allowance winner at Gulfstream last time out; and Olympia Star’s Golden Dragon, who won twice on turf before finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1); round out the field.

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