Gulfstream Park gets another week of racing underway on Thursday with a solid eight-race program. For the occasion, our in-house handicapper has made picks for every race and has additionally provided analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Thursday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Most Likely Winner: Honey Pants (Race 4) - I suppose it’s a little concerning that trainer Christophe Clement has left this stakes-placed filly behind as his string moves north for the warmer months, however that’s not enough of a reason to assume she’s anything other than a very likely winner of this allowance race. Honey Pants has run well in all four of her turf starts, and proved in two outings during the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet that she can be just as effective going two turns. Her last race, a fifth-place finish in the G3 Sweetest Chant, is probably a bit better than it looks and she now adds Lasix for the first time in her career. All systems appear to be ‘go’ against this weak bunch.
Best Value: Kartano (Race 7) - Kartano could have just as easily been the day’s ‘Most Likely Winner,’ but he ends up here instead due to his alluring morning-line odds of 7-2, which perhaps signals he’s going to be a massive overlay here, even at a relatively short price. I do think he gets bet down off that line, however there’s plenty of wiggle room there for him to end up as a value play considering how likely a winner he is. After taking his debut in a maiden claimer at 11-1, Kartano improved by leaps and bounds in his next start, a much tougher starter allowance race in which he nearly overcame a glacial pace and wide trip to prevail. It may not seem like it, but he’s getting a huge amount of class relief in this spot, and there’s also the possibility he takes another step forward in start No. 3.
Other Races of Interest: Race 1 - If Holy Meister (#1) picks up where he left off in 2020 there’s going to be no beating him, however you have to worry about a horse who’s been off for as long as he has that returns for a claiming price for the first time in his career. I’m expecting regression from him, which should open the door enough for Mauro’s Team (#3) to pull off the mild upset. Mauro’s Team is coming off a pair of 69 Beyer Speed Figures, but I think he’s better than those numbers indicate as he exits a much tougher race in which he had some late trouble. He’s just a very logical horse in this race given the red flags with Holy Meister, and I suspect he’ll be no higher than third choice in the wagering.
Race 5 - Another write-up, another turf race. All four of my strongest opinions on Thursday can be found in grass races, and in this case it’s Viking Plunder (#2). Admittedly, he’s the one I have the least conviction in, however I do think he’s going to end up an overlay based on his recent races. I thought his last-out effort was better than it looks, however, as he rallied well behind a tepid pace after going wide around both turns. I think the stretch out to a mile and an eighth should be to his advantage, and I expect him to get ignored in the wagering a bit for the underrated Jose Gallegos.
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*