Gulfstream Park Picks: Coworth Park back on track in Race 7

Another week of the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet begins on Wednesday with a 10-race card
Another week of the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet begins on Wednesday with a 10-race card

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Racing picks back up again at Gulfstream on Wednesday with a 10-race card dominated by events restricted to 3-year-olds. As usual, our in-house handicapper has taken a close look at the Late Pick 4 sequence and made picks for the whole program.

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Wednesday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Race 7

Big Bad Diva (#8) looks rather imposing on paper coming off a five-length maiden win that earned her a field-best Beyer Speed Figure of 80, however I’m not entirely sold on this filly as she gets back to turf. My concern is that her breakthrough win came in an off-the-turf race on the Tampa main track, and it certainly seemed like she relished the switch to dirt. I also have some doubts about the lofty speed figure she was given for that performance, and her prior turf races are pretty ordinary. As the likely favorite, I think the prudent move is to play against her.

I really liked Coworth Park (#4) in her last race, which came at a slightly higher level, but unfortunately it was washed off the turf and she put forth a dismal effort on the main track. Given her obvious distaste for dirt, I’m going to stick with her in this spot as she gets back to her preferred surface, and I like that her connections are protecting her again. I thought her two back maiden win came against a solid group, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her move forward off that race as she now runs with Lasix for the first time on turf.

The other filly I like at a price in this race is Shang’s Sister (#2), who faced males in her last start and acquitted herself nicely under the circumstances. That group was at least comparable to this one, if not a bit better, and Shang’s Sister has room to improve given the strong run her trainer Joe Orseno is on.

Main:  2,4     Backup (priority):  1,8

Order of preference:  4-2-1-8

Race 8

I know Joshy Jak (#2) is going to get bet down off his 5-2 morning-line odds, but I can’t help but get a little excited at the prospect of him being a lukewarm favorite in a race he appears to have over a barrel. Despite a couple others in here having run almost as fast, Joshy Jak is clearly a cut above the rest having just beaten Florida-bred maiden special weights with a 70 Beyer. The second and third-place finishers from that race would both be strong contenders in this spot, and ultimately I just don’t think much of his competition in this spot. The improving Joshy Jak should be able to take full advantage of the fact he debuted for such a cheap tag in this starter allowance race.

I’m not overly keen on anyone else in this race, but my preferred backup option is Hard Game (#5), who has won his last two races at a mile and shouldn’t mind the cutback in distance to six furlongs. He’s now making his third consecutive start in a new barn, though he gets some needed continuity from jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has been aboard him in each of his wins.

Main:  2     Backup (priority):  4,5

Order of preference:  2-5-4-6

Race 9

This doesn’t look like the best allowance race for 3-year-old fillies on turf, but I’m actually pretty excited to see how it unfolds. Alwayz Late (#7) is the filly to beat following a strong maiden win here on February 14. It’s not at all surprising that she improved by so much in her sophomore debut considering the unprecedented success her Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is enjoying at the meet, and I thought she ran really well against a talented bunch. In my opinion, there’s no getting around using her as the favorite in this spot.

She’s yet to run a truly fast race, but Traffic Lane (#1) is another primary contender as she gets back to turf following a pair of main-track stakes tries. After breaking her maiden on turf on November 15 at Aqueduct, her connections apparently wanted to see if they had a Kentucky Oaks filly on their hands over the winter, though the answer was a resounding no. She didn’t run that poorly in either of her last two starts on dirt at the Big A, but she should be set for much better as she ships to South Florida and adds Lasix for trainer Todd Pletcher. 

I respect these two, but I’m going with first-time turfer Lady Traveler (#6) as my top pick. The G3 Forward Gal was not a very good race, but this filly showed some signs of life with a wide, sustained run to get second. That performance was doubly encouraging when you consider that Lady Traveler is bred much more for turf as a half-sister to Heart to Heart, a multi-millionaire on the surface, and by Quality Road, who is a solid turf sire. This filly is also a May foal who is adding Lasix for the first time for trainer Dale Romans, whose barn is really starting to heat up. There’s reason to believe she takes a big step forward in this spot, though it shouldn’t take much improvement for her to surpass the top two.

Main:  1,6,7     Backup:  None

Order of preference:  6-7-1-5

Race 10

The finale is actually a pretty intriguing bottom-level maiden claimer for 3-year-olds on turf. On top, I went with the faster-than-he-looks Higher Law (#1), whose debut effort simply does not do him justice. I’m not saying he ran exceptionally well in that spot, but he was assigned a 36 Beyer that is demonstrably low considering a few have already run back out of that race and improved by 10-20 points. Although he flattened out late, Higher Law did flash some ability in that Florida-bred maiden special weight spot, and he’s getting a huge amount of class relief here. I’d hope for a bit more than his 3-1 morning-line odds, but I believe he’s a strong contender regardless.

The other two I think warrant serious consideration are Coltonstheadmiral (#2) and He Ain’t No Saint (#6), who ran against each other at this level on February 19 and finished third and second, respectively. Both of these horses had significant trouble in that race and appeared to be finishing well and potentially could have won. It remains to be seen how good the winner of that heat is, but chances are he’s considerably better than anyone in this race, so I think these two are going to be major players, even if Higher Law moves forward as expected.

Main:  1,2,6     Backup:  11

Order of preference:  1-2-6-11

Most Likely Winner:  Joshy Jak (Race 8)

Best Value:  Coworth Park (Race 7)


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Horse Racing Results
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