By Sean Morris

Handicapping Week in Review

By Sean Morris
Gulfstream Park was one track of three that Sean Morris picked last week
Gulfstream Park was one track of three that Sean Morris picked last week

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Wednesday, March 11

My primary focus on Wednesday was betting ‘Value Single’ Gemo, who was turning back in distance in the 9th race after a series of tough trips in route races, and he won rather convincingly. I wish he paid a little more than 3-2, but I’ll take what I can get. One race prior, Song River was a heartbreaking top pick loser. She opened up a six-length lead into the stretch but got leg weary late and couldn’t hold off the overbet favorite Cucina, who picked her off in the waning strides to win by a half-length. Aerodynamic won as an obvious favorite in the last leg and the other races didn’t go as planned.

Track (Gulfstream)

The dirt and turf were both fair, with perhaps a slight lean to speed on the main track. Nothing blatant though.

Top picks

Race 6:  Samoa (#1) L

Race 7:  Roddick (#3) L

Race 8:  Song River (#1) L

Race 9:  Gemo (#2) W ($5)

Race 10:  Aerodynamic (#7) W ($3)
 

Thursday, March 12

I wish I had put in dirt picks for the off-the-turf first leg because 9-5 on Assail in that race was mana from heaven. OK, redboarding over. The rest of the races went quite well. My ‘Value Single’ Music of Life won at 7-2 in Race 8 and a 16-1 ‘main’ play capped off the finale. The only thing standing between me and a $1,500 all-main Pick 5 was Shanghai Moon, who won the 7th race as a backup.

Track (Gulfstream)

Both the dirt and turf courses were likely fair.

Top picks

Race 6:  SCR (OFF THE TURF)

Race 7:  Quality On Tap (#2) L

Race 8:  Music of Life (#4) W ($9)

Race 9:  Reggae Revolution (#3) L

Race 10:  Fortyeightstraight (#7) L
 

Friday, March 13

This was not my finest hour, but it wasn’t a complete disaster, either. Plato kicked off the Pick 5 sequence as a top pick winner, however not much went right after that point with ‘Value Single’ Candy Money finishing in third in the 9th race and Yolanda’s Pride, who I had nowhere in my play, wiring the field in the finale. Just a day to turn the page from.

Track (Gulfstream)

The rail was definitely good on dirt and possibly an advantage, though it was still not entirely conclusive by the end of the day. The turf was fair with perhaps a slight tilt toward speed.

Top picks

Race 6:  Plato (#4) W ($7.80)

Race 7:  Princess Carrigan (#7) L

Race 8:  Memorize (#1) L

Race 9:  Candy Money (#2) L

Race 10:  Just a Bit Sassy (#11) L

 

Saturday, March 14

Saturday was a good day that probably should have been a great day. I liked both sequences I wrote about – the late Pick 4 at Oaklawn Park that ran through the Rebel and the all-stakes Pick 5 at Turfway Park that ended with the Jack Ruby Steaks – and nearly connected on both with all ‘mains’. The Oaklawn Pick 4 in particular could have been a homerun as in my initial layout of the races I had the last race winner, Classy Beast, who won at 23-1, as a main play. I still liked her quite a bit in the race but relegated her to priority backup duties in the final play, instead focusing on the presumptive favorite Cynical Girl, which stung when the late Pick 4 paid $963 for 50 cents.

It wasn’t as close a brush with a big score at Turfway, but it was still a solid showing nonetheless. Ironically this was due to Nun the Less, the horse I liked most in the entire sequence, winning the Kentucky Cup Classic at 5-1. Unfortunately, the filly I was relying on in the fourth leg, Laura’s Light, failed to deliver in the Bourbonette Oaks. A backup still won the race and the rest of the races were won by main plays, completing a 50 cent Pick 5 that paid $3,010. Given my confidence in Laura’s Light, however, it didn’t feel like such a near miss.

Tracks (Oaklawn, Turfway)

Oaklawn was no doubt fair for the majority of the day, but there is a case to be made that the rail was good for the Rebel (Race 10) and the last race (Race 11). Nadal was brilliant in victory in the Rebel, but perhaps his improbable win was bias-aided as it was the longshot Excession, who also enjoyed a rail-skimming trip, that looked poised to win the race until he was taken out to the middle of the track, where his run flattened out. The last race may be the corroborating evidence for the suspicions the Rebel raised. As much as I liked Classy Beast in the finale, she didn’t exactly look like a winner in the stretch but kept finding more on the rail, and the exacta was filled out by an even bigger longshot who got an inside trip just behind her. At the very least, it’s something worth monitoring going forward.

Turfway was fair throughout, with maybe a slight advantage to forwardly placed horses, as has been the case for most of the meet..

Top picks (Oaklawn)

Race 8:  Night Ops (#2) W ($15)

Race 9:  Street Band (#1) L

Race 10:  Three Technique (#6) L

Race 11:  Cynical Girl (#5) L

 

Top picks (Turfway)

Race 7:  New Roo (#7) L

Race 8:  Memorable (#8) L

Race 9:  Nun the Less (#3) W ($12.80)

Race 10:  Laura’s Light (#9) L

Race 12:  Fancy Liquor (#3) L

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