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Ricky’s Rockets ?: Gulfstream Park Picks for May 3, 2020
Credit: Coglianese Photos

Ricky’s Rockets ?: Gulfstream Park Picks for May 3, 2020

The final day at Oaklawn Park in 2020 was one to remember. Bob Baffert’s 3-year-olds Charlatan and Nadal showed their dominance and By My Standards established himself as one of the better older horses on the path to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). With Oaklawn Park’s meet ended, I will continue to cover Gulfstream Park.

Best of luck!

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Race 1: Maiden Claiming $12,500-$10,500 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $17,000 

This field enters the opener at Gulfstream Park a combined 0/87 including both Also Eligibles. The one runner in this field who has crossed the finish line first was #3 Etana, who was disqualified back on November 8, 2019. She takes a major drop in class for Saffie Joseph, Jr., and is tons the best on paper. Assuming that she runs anything near her best, this race can be over quickly.

Race 2: Claiming $6,250 for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $17,000

#3 Candy Crushem enters this spot after twice in a row finishing third at the claiming $6,250 level. He has won all three starts at this distance (including one on turf) and this is the lowest level of his career. The logical choice to beat what will likely be a big favorite is #6 Animal Trick. In a class much more difficult than this one, Hector Berrios had him on the lead through the first half of the race, but he was well overmatched and weakened late. He won at this class level three starts back.

Race 3: Maiden Claiming $32,000-$30,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the turf. Purse $28,000

#1 Joe Benjamin ran his best effort last time out at the maiden claiming $20,000 level when Paco Lopez gave him every chance to win but just ran out of real estate in the stretch. Expect Joe Benjamin to take to the rail again here and sit just off of the pace into both turns. He is my top choice. #3 Sir Chubby previously showed the ability to establish himself on the front end but lacked the final kick to pass horses in the stretch. His consistent third-place efforts at this level make him a logical choice if he can develop that kick. #7 Budget Buster showed his best effort here on April 12, closing well in the stretch while never catching the gate-to-wire favorite. Tyler Gaffalione will look to employ the same tactics.

Race 4: Maiden Special Weight for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $45,000

I went seven-deep in this field of nine and made #5 Flying Finish my top choice. Irad Ortiz, Jr., and Anthony Margotta, Jr., have teamed up once before, bringing home Diamond Play as the favorite, and the trainer has won with two of his eight first-time starters in the past 365 days. Flying Finish should be a live runner first time out for a small, yet productive, barn. Other runners I used: #1 Papa Luke, #3 Competitive Saint, #4 Harper, #6 Getthe Muny Bernie, #7 Battle Rags, and #8 Thrill Ride.

Race 5: Claiming $12,500 for 3-year-olds and upward going 5 furlongs on the turf. Purse $19,000

#10 Wild One Forever is my top choice. He has yet to hit the board in 2020, but he was facing much better fields. This will be the softest field that he has faced in his career. #11 Hudson Overpass is a complete unknown, having not run on turf since October, but Mike Maker is sending him there for the first time since claiming him for $25,000 in January.


$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 3 / 3,6 / 1,3,7 / 1,3,4,5,6,7,8 / 1,10,11 – $63

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