Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Gulfstream on Sunday.
Sunday’s late Pick Four at Gulfstream Park is a fascinating sequence, and it kicks off in the eighth of 11 races on a packed Valentine’s Day program. If you’re looking to fund that gift you got your special someone, I think you can do it by playing a reasonably-priced ticket, and my wager costs just $10 for a 50-cent bet. Here’s how I see it.
RACE #8: This is the first of three turf races in the late Pick Four, with a big field of older fillies and mares going a mile on the lawn. I think a recent race at this level was live, and I’ll go two-deep using that day’s second and third-place finishers.
#4 COME STORMING rallied to be second that day despite a race shape that did not favor closers. She’s run well a few times at this level before, and it certainly seems like there’s some speed signed on towards the outside. Irad Ortiz, Jr., rides back for Mike Maker, and he makes a lot of sense.
#7 KELLEYCANRUN made a big middle move in that race before flattening out late and finishing a neck behind Come Storming. She wasn’t helped by drawing a far outside post in an 11-horse field, and she draws a bit more favorably here. If she can save a bit more ground, I think she’s got a big shot.
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RACE #9: My ticket cost is on the lower side in large part because I’ve got a single here. This sprint drew a six-horse field, and it’s tough to say which runner will go favored. That doesn’t mean I lack conviction with my top pick, though.
#2 SHADILEE makes her second start off the bench for Maker and takes a necessary drop in class. This is her first start against straight claimers since she broke her maiden at Saratoga way back in 2019. Her return at Turfway in December wasn’t much to write home about, but that was her first outing in six months, so I’m willing to draw a line through that race. I think she’ll step forward in a big way here, and between the potential for improvement and the drop in class, it sure seems as if there’s a lot to like.
RACE #10: Singling Shadilee allows me to spread in the third leg, an optional claimer that’s drawn a pretty salty group. Many of these runners are coming off layoffs or shipping in after races on other circuits, so I need to go five-deep to have any security.
I wish #11 MIMINA’S TEAM drew a better post. She came back running off a long layoff last time out to finish second against similar at this route, and she’s never run a truly bad race over this turf course. She makes her first start for a new barn here, but Paco Lopez sees fit to ride back, and he could have her in a strong position provided she uses her tactical speed to clear most of this field going into the first turn.
#1 LINNY KATE, #4 BEAN COUNTER, #7 KILKEA, and #10 DIAMOND SPARKLES are on my ticket as well. Diamond Sparkles intrigues me at a price given her back class. She was third in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen two starts ago, and she could be helped considerably by a return to the turf. Figuring out whether or not Woodbine form will travel is tricky, but Edgard Zayas has enjoyed a strong meet to this point, and I think this one’s best effort gives her a shot.
RACE #11: We’ll finish off the card with a maiden race for 3-year-old fillies on the grass. I’m not particularly drawn to #5 CADENCIA, who ran second in a maiden race I don’t think was all that strong.
I’m going two-deep, and my top pick is #4 NEVER CONTENT. She ran into a very well-meant filly named Jouster last month and was beaten more than 10 lengths by that rival, but she was beaten less than two lengths for second and has posted improving Beyer Speed Figures in each start. I think this is a softer spot, and that further improvement will give her a big chance.
I also need to use #8 NOT SHY, who was asked to do something very tough in her debut. She was third beaten less than a length going a mile and three-sixteenths over soft going in France. 2-year-olds simply aren’t asked to do that, and I think she showed a lot in that effort. She’ll get Lasix for her North American debut, and that can bring out a horse’s best effort. The 10-1 morning line price hits me as an overlay, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she sprang the upset to end the day.
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