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As Saturday approaches, I’m heading to the east coast to cover the Early Pick 4/5 sequence at Gulfstream Park! The last time we played here, we hit the early Pick 4 for $1. I hope we can continue our strong run of form as I will play both of my tickets on the early part of the card.
Best of luck!
Race 1: Maiden Claiming $20,000-$18,000 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the turf. Purse $22,000
Let’s start with the horse on the rail #1 Truly. She had consistently been running at the Maiden Claiming $25,000 level here at Gulfstream Park. Truly’s lack of early speed may be beneficial to her as she most likely will get shuffled back early on from her inside post. She does have the kick to storm home late and catch the front runners. I’m not sure what to make of #2 Noble Maria who will make her first start since last July. In her first start in the Susan Ditter barn, she showed the ability to stay close to Fuji who went gate-to-wire. With a lack of early speed in this field, she should be forwardly placed by Miguel Vasquez. Lionel Reyes will be aboard #7 Raspberry Ballet for the first time. Two starts back, she ran at the Maiden Claiming $16,000 level and closed very well. Last time out, she went off at respectable odds but was no match for those runners. She will be flying home late and will make this race very interesting at the wire. My top choice is #11 Matcha ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. Gaffalione rode this 5-year-old by Macho Uno two starts back to a sixth-place finish at a much higher level. This will be her softest field that she has faced in her career. Her outside post is a slight concern, but she should be able to get the lead without much of a problem.
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $12,500-$10,500 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $17,000
I’m taking a big stand in this race by singling #5 Crystalina for Amador Sanchez. In her debut she was entered into a $50,000 Maiden Claiming event on the turf. She broke poorly out of the gate and was steadied early taking her to the back of the field. In her next start she ran extremely well setting all the fractions but failed to hold off Boss Wife in the stretch. She clearly liked the dirt much better than the turf and should enjoy the cutback in distance as well. Expect a big duel early on between Crystalina and Mystic Comin Home.
Race 3: Claiming $16,000 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 5 furlongs on the turf. Purse $20,000
Turf sprints at Gulfstream Park are my favorite type of races. In most turf sprints, horses on/near the lead are very tough to beat. #3 Cat’s Astray has finished third in this class three straight times for Juan Arias. There’s no real rhyme or reason as to why she hasn’t won at this level as she’s shown the ability to pass horses. I expect Miguel Vasquez to have her a little closer to the lead this time around. #6 Palace Two Step takes a major drop in class for Joseph Orseno. She’s finished in the money in all five career races. Since coming to Gulfstream, she’s had a tough time getting out of the gate. She gets the bug boy Christian Torres again and a similar effort to her previous race, will make her very tough to beat. #8 Ballie’s Dream is in an interesting position from the outside post. Edgard Zayas would like to have her on the front end but she might not be quick enough to keep up with Palace Two Step. Zayas knows this horse as well as anyone winning two out of three races he’s been aboard.
Race 4: Claiming $12,500-$10,500 for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $20,000
#1 Chase Runner has really showed great improvement from last year to this year. Since the beginning of 2020, he has a win and two seconds to his name all at this level. His consistency and ability to show early speed make him a logical choice in this spot. My top choice is #2 Krachenwagen who looks for his third win in a row. On March 14, he was slated for the turf but due to weather from the day prior, all races were taken off the turf. Since that moment in time, he’s really taken to the dirt winning his last two races by over a combined seven lengths. Mario Fuentes has enjoyed riding him as well as he was aboard in both of those efforts for Michael De Paulo. Unlike Chase Runner and Krachenwagen who have dueled many times in the past, #6 Unbridled Holiday takes a drop in class. He’s faced much better than what this field offers but he’s tough to figure out. Two starts back he was much the best drawing away from that field at the Claiming $35,000 level. His last effort came after a nine-month layoff and showed absolutely nothing. He’s a complete unknown but I didn’t want him to beat me and his best will beat this field.
Race 5: Maiden Special Weight for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the turf. Purse $45,000
This was by far the toughest race in the early Pick 5 sequence. My top choice comes from the Mark Casse barn, #11 Holy Meister. Since the beginning of his 4-year-old campaign, he’s shown early speed like his sire Bodemeister did in his short-lived career. He’s also the only runner that has produced consistent results. Tyler Gaffalione is one of the hottest jockeys in the country as he rides Holy Meister for the first time. I went five-deep in this field but Holy Meister will be tough to beat.
$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) – 1,2,7,11 / 5 / 3,6,8 / 1,2,6 / 4,5,10,11,12 – $90
$.50 PICK 4 (Races 2-5) – 3,5,10 / 3,6,8 / 1,2,6 / 4,5,9,11,12 – $67.50
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