Another week of the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet begins on Wednesday with 10 races to pick from. As usual, our in-house handicapper has provided picks for every race and offered a detailed write-up of the Late Pick 4 sequence.
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.
Second Mate (#8) is obviously the horse to beat as he drops out of the Sunshine Turf, but the abrupt drop in class to a 35k claimer is a bit scary for a horse whose current connections paid 62.5k for him. He hasn’t won in almost two years, so it could be that they’re just getting impatient with him, however based on his last couple races this sum of money is too cheap for him. I think you have to use him given his current form and potent jockey/trainer combo, but don’t be surprised if he regresses here as the favorite.
At a bigger price, I prefer Durocher (#6), who is taking a class drop of his own, albeit a far more reasonable one. This 7-year-old Texas-bred nearly won at the 50k level two back but was bested by a superior stablemate of Second Mate’s, Morocco. Last out he had no chance going a mile and a half when he completely lost his position around the final turn, and he should appreciate cutting back to a middle distance in this spot. If he gets enough pace to run at, which I believe he will, I think he’s a very likely upsetter.
I don’t love the trainer change from the red-hot Bill Mott to the much colder Juan Arias, but it’s worth pointing out that Honey Won’t (#3) ran much better than it looks in his last race when he was completely bottled up in the stretch and never got a chance to run. If Arias is able to keep him going, he could absolutely make an impact on this race as Tyler Gaffalione takes the call.
Main: 6,8 Backup (priority): 2,3
Order of preference: 6-8-3-2
He’s a bit of an all-or-nothing play, but I’m willing to lean on Alejandro’s Team (#1) in this race, especially if he’s going to be anywhere near his 9-2 morning-line odds. As you might expect, this 6.25k N2L claimer does not feature a good field, while Alejandro’s Team has run consistently well on dirt, logging a string of Beyer Speed Figures in the high 70’s last fall that would demolish this group. The obvious concern is that he was dismal in his last race on turf and is dropping sharply in class, but he’s been well-beaten in every single one of his turf outings so I’m not sure how much of a red flag that is. If he shows up with anything approximating his prior dirt races, he’s going to win this race.
One Eyed Jack (#4) is clearly the main opposition to my top pick. He ran a fine race last out on the main track for Todd Pletcher and was claimed out of that spot by the equally adept Saffie Joseph, Jr. The horse that beat One Eyed Jack last time came back to run well in a tougher spot, so there’s a chance his latest effort is even better than it looks, however this horse hasn’t done much to warrant heavy favoritism, which the morning line indicates could be the case.
Main: 1 Backup (priority): 4,7
Order of preference: 1-4-7-6
I usually don’t love to bet turf marathons, but this is such a fun allowance race for fillies and mares. There are many different ways to go in this spot, but the one I landed on is Lido Key (#1) for Mike Maker, who is a master with these types. Even for Maker, this mare hasn’t wowed anyone on the racetrack, though I believe that could change in this race as she stretches all the way out to a mile and a half, which is Maker’s specialty. The effort she’s coming off of is good enough, and if she improves at all, which in my mind is very likely, she can win this race at a square price.
The other filly I think you have to use is Margaret’s Joy (#9), who has run much better than it looks in her last two races and should also appreciate stretching out in distance as a full-sister to Spooky Channel, a graded-stakes winner at this distance. I’m a little concerned that Margaret’s Joy came up wanting in the furthest assignment of her career at Kentucky Downs, however that’s a tricky course to negotiate and perhaps she just didn’t care for it. Ultimately, I think you have to respect the form she’s in and her rather convincing pedigree for this trip.
I also wouldn’t discount longshot Setting the Mood (#4). She ran pretty well in her first start with David Braddy despite some sneaky trouble on February 14, and it’s clear from her races on the NYRA circuit last year that more ground is what she wants.
Main: 1,9 Backup: 2,4,5
Order of preference: 1-9-4-5
There’s a lot of parity in the finale, which is why I wouldn’t be content to settle on a horse like Discretionary Marq (#4), who can win but is going to be too short a price. To a certain extent I also feel the same way about Frenchmen Street (#2), though I believe his upside is higher as he rejoins the barn of Saffie Joseph, Jr., who in a previous stint with this horse had him in terrific form.
Neither of these two is going to offer any value, however, which is why I went in a different direction with my top pick. What’s Inside (#8) ran a few races at this meet last year that would give him a big chance, and don’t be fooled by his comeback effort last out, which was several lengths better than it appears on paper. This guy lost a ton of ground at the start of that race, but he rushed up into contention and continued that run around the turn and through the stretch, coming within a length of victory in the end. With a cleaner break this time around I’m expecting a vastly improved performance, which would make him a major player.
Finally, I’m also going to give another shot to Station Rock (#11), who is coming out of a string of tougher Florida-bred races. I don’t think he ran as poorly as it looks in his last start, and if he were to get back to his prior efforts at the meet he’d be a very logical upsetter in this spot.
Main: 2,8,11 Backup (priority): 4
Order of preference: 8-11-2-4
Most Likely Winner: Alejandro’s Team (Race 8)
Best Value: What’s Inside (Race 10)
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*