Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday.
Another week of racing at Gulfstream Park starts Wednesday, and the card features 10 races with a late Pick Four kicking off in the seventh. It’s a fun sequence with several big fields, and I’m attacking it with a $36 ticket. Here’s how I’ll play it.
RACE #7: A field of nine 3-year-old fillies will go two turns on the grass to start the sequence. I’m going three-deep, and my ticket takes a stand against one of the likely favorites. I’m simply not impressed by #4 GABBY SQUARED, who took no money despite debuting for Chad Brown at Aqueduct last month. She was a one-paced fifth that day, and I simply prefer others, especially given this one’s likely price.
#6 MAIL ORDER intrigues me at a big price. She showed plenty of early speed in her debut, when she dueled early and faded in the stretch, but trainer Bill Mott’s horses tend to need a race or two to get going. She’s got enough pedigree to suggest she’ll like the turf, and this race certainly seems light on horses who’ll want to go early. If she takes to the grass at all and gets an easy lead out of the gate, I think she’ll have every reason to run a big race.
I’ll also use #1 BROKEN TABLE and #2 SPILL THE TEA. The two second-time starters each made up significant ground in their debuts last month and would benefit from someone keeping my top pick company early on.
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RACE #8: This optional claiming race looks an awful lot like a stakes event. Several runners have knocked heads with some tough customers, and I’m going three-deep.
#8 ARTIE’S RUMOR had a nightmare trip last time out in the Claiming Crown Emerald. He rated far behind a slow early pace, came flying, and didn’t have much running room late. Anything that could have gone wrong did, and I’m betting he’ll take a step forward with smoother sailing.
#2 MONARCHS GLEN and #4 DANCETERIA also figure to take money, and I’m using both runners. Danceteria is an interesting case, as he won multiple stakes race in Europe before struggling against top-tier horses in Australia most of last year. This is his first start in the U.S., and the addition of Lasix could move him forward significantly.
RACE #9: The third leg is a claiming event for 3-year-olds, and I found this the toughest race to handicap. The favorites don’t tower over the rest of this group, and if I could go deeper than using four of the nine runners without endangering my budget, I would.
#9 GREYZER may not have beaten much in his debut last month at Tampa Bay Downs, but he did so the right way. He rallied from seventh, won by four lengths, and has since arrived in the barn of Juan Avila, who’s hit at a 21% clip so far this meet. The outside post should give his river plenty of options, and any improvement at second asking would make the 6-1 morning line price a significant overlay.
I’m also using #2 HERCULES, #4 SIDARTH, and #6 HICKERSON. One I’m not particularly drawn to is #5 FREEZE TURKEY, who had a very easy trip in a wire-to-wire score last time out. I can’t see him getting a second straight perfect journey in this spot, and 7/2 hits me as an underlay.
RACE #10: We’ll look to finish off the ticket in this turf sprint for older claimers. I’m going two-deep, and if either is ready to run off of long layoffs, I think they’ll be very tough.
#3 MAI TY ONE ON has done his best running over this turf course and was very sharp in a two-back victory at this route. He hasn’t run since a clunker in July at Belmont, but he’s been working consistently for trainer Jane Cibelli ahead of his return. The drop in for a tag is a bit puzzling, but if he’s right, I think he’ll be a handful.
#4 CAPTAIN RON is another making his return to the races. He hasn’t run since April, but he’s hit the board in nine of 11 local starts and has plenty of tactical speed. Paco Lopez sees fit to ride, and he’s got several back efforts that would be good enough to win if he can repeat them here.
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