The Sam F. Davis, a Rainbow Six Mandatory Payout, Three Pick Fours, and an Interlude: 2/9/19

Before we do a deep dive into the Sam F. Davis, the mandatory Rainbow Six payout at Gulfstream Park, and three other multi-race sequences at tracks from Florida to California, I’m going to attempt to wade into the deep water and go through some stuff that’s been lingering in my subconscious for a week. If you want to scroll down past the next several paragraphs and resume reading at the section marked “TAMPA BAY DOWNS,“ feel free to do so. If you do, though, know that you’re missing the most bizarre “thank you” I’ve ever written.

As those who know me well can attest, I’m cursed, and I’m only half-joking. My mind rarely stops, and sometimes, what it conjures up are some of the weirdest, most whacked-out things known to mankind. There are times where this has worked (every journalism award I’ve ever won), times where it hasn’t (one major track pushing for me to be fired; you’re all going to want to hear that story when I can tell it), and times where the reactions I get generally puzzle everyone (me going into “pro wrestler cutting a promo” mode, as I’m prone to do).

Last Friday was one of those times. I’d just come back from dinner at Vinnie’s, the local dive bar in my neighborhood that prides itself on cheap burgers, bright TV’s, and a juke box with long songs designed to tick people off when you buy them with the “advanced priority” option (my go-to is the 12-minute version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”). Before cranking out a 2,700-word column, I took to Twitter.


24 hours later, I looked, and that tweet had more likes than anything else I’ve ever tweeted. Please understand that this, for lack of a better phrase, scared the hell out of me.

I beat everyone at Saratoga in 2017, less than six months after being told by someone that I had no use to him/her as any sort of a handicapper. I’ve won awards for the work that I’ve done with several different outlets. I’ve been different combinations of fortunate, proud, and successful at a lot of different things…and me calling myself an old fart who needs help was what got the most attention.

Being scared was the short-term reaction. Some in horse racing genuinely believe that I’m a joke who isn’t to be taken seriously, and I’m sure that group includes some pretty high-profile people. However, what I ultimately realized, in the aftermath of that tweet, is that I’ve got the support of way more people than I ever thought I did.

I can’t really go into too much depth about why that means as much as it does right now (it’s a long story for another time and place). Suffice it to say, though, that when I digested everything, I was pretty moved. I’m not in the horse racing business full-time anymore, so nobody’s paying me to write this stuff. This is a labor of love for me, and between the response to that tweet and the stats I’ve seen on my website, I’ve realized that I’m a very blessed person. I have some value to people who read my stuff, and any writer will tell you that that’s an incredible thing.

To everyone who read this (and those that scrolled down to the next section and are only catching this paragraph by accident), thank you. Now, let’s get to work!


Derby Prep: Sam F. Davis Stakes (Grade 3)
Late Pick Four: Races 9-12

The Sam F. Davis Stakes headlines the Saturday card at Tampa Bay Downs, and Kentucky Derby points are on the line. The race drew a field of 10, and it’s headlined by #3 KNICKS GO, who ran second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Game Winner.

Knicks Go can certainly win this race. His clunker in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club is excusable given the sloppy track he ran on, and he’s working well ahead of his 3-year-old debut. Having said that, there’s a lot of speed in this race, and while Knicks Go doesn’t need the lead to run well, I think he’ll be up close to a very fast pace.

I’m looking elsewhere for my top pick, and I landed on #8 SO ALIVE, a Todd Pletcher trainee that will likely go off much shorter than his 5-1 morning line price. He boasts a win over the Tampa Bay Downs surface, and he’s shown a strong closing kick. His final pre-race work was a bullet earlier this week, and it’s never a bad thing to have Javier Castellano in town to ride.

In addition to those two, I’ll also use a price on some of my wider tickets. #10 STILL DREAMING is a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, and he stretched out with authority last time out at Laurel Park. The post position is definitely an issue, and he almost certainly has to step up, but logical improvement and some racing luck puts him right there for a piece of it.

$0.50 Pick Four: Race #9

R9: 2,4,7,8,9
R10: 2,4
R11: 3,8
R12: 1,4,6

60 Bets, $30

The late Pick Four features three stakes races, and it starts with the Suncoast for 3-year-old fillies. I found this race positively confounding, and I had to spread in order to be at all comfortable with getting out of the first leg. Had Rymska’s connections not opted for the Grade 3 Suwanee River at Gulfstream instead of the Endeavour, I’d have hit the “ALL” button, but I had to chop a few horses off the ticket to save money.

Rymska scratching actually opens this sequence up a bit for me, because I don’t like the new favorite. #6 HAWKSMOOR certainly has speed and back class, but she hasn’t run since October, hasn’t won since 2017, and figures to see some opposition up front. My top pick is #2 GET EXPLICIT, who got pretty good near the end of last year, and I’ll also throw in #4 MONTE CRISTA. That runner is a price, but something clearly went wrong two back and her 2019 debut came off a three-month layoff. She showed serious ability last summer, and anything close to the 12-1 morning line would hit me as a considerable overlay.

I’ll go two-deep in the Sam F. Davis (though I’ll likely save with Still Dreaming in doubles), and I’ll go three-deep in the payoff leg. This is a claiming race for older horses going two turns on the turf. I’ll use the two likely favorites, #1 ADIOS NARDO and #6 HUNTSTOWN, as well as #4 AT THE READY, who has run very well over this track, would benefit from a pace meltdown, and could give us some value at anywhere close to his 8-1 morning line price.


$0.20 Pick Six: Race #7

R7: 2,4,5,9,12 (15)
R8: 2
R9: 2,3,4,7,9
R10: 3,5
R11: 4,5,6,8,9
R12: 5

250 Bets, $50

The handicapping puzzle of the day at Gulfstream is the Rainbow Six, which boasts a mandatory payout. Naturally, the folks in Hallandale Beach have put together some incredibly difficult events to decipher, and if you hit, I think you’ll get paid handsomely.

Right off the bat, we have an overflow field in a maiden claiming event. As usual in a race like this, there isn’t much in the way of proven form signed on, so I felt the need to go five-deep. One note: If one of my horses scratches, that opens the door for #15 CROWN ROMANCE to draw in. If that’s the case, I need to have him on the ticket, hence the parentheses above.

The eighth, however, seems much more clear-cut. #2 REAGAN’S ODYSSEY has burned some money of late, but was a good second last time out at this level and goes to the barn of Audrey Maragh, which has been on a hot streak of late with horses first off the claim. I think she’s considerably best in here, and we need to single somewhere given my self-imposed budget, so that’s what we’ll do.

The ninth is a maiden special weight event for 3-year-old fillies, and it starts the late Pick Four (note: if you want to play my last four legs, it would be a $25 Pick Four ticket). This is another spread race for me, as several in here are stretching out in distance. My top selection, though, is a juicy 6-1 on the morning line in her turf debut. That’s #2 EBULLIENT, who’s bred up and down for the lawn and gets Lasix for trainer Michael Matz.

The tenth is a loaded allowance race headlined by a pair of 3-year-olds that could be on their ways to bigger things. The morning line favorite is #3 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN, who was a very impressive debut winner for Stanley Hough. The close second choice is #5 STANDARD DEVIATION, who misfired in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after running a sneaky-good third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. Some may single one or the other, but I’m playing it safe and going two-deep.

The eleventh is the final spread race on my ticket. It’s the El Prado Stakes, and there may be a lot of tickets out there that buy this race. That’s how difficult it is, and for an ungraded stakes race, it drew a very strong field. #5 MR CUB was a close second behind Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Bricks and Mortar last time out, and I’d be stunned if he went off at his 9/2 price. The big price I need to use, though, is #4 SIDING SPRING, whose best races have come over this turf course. He’s simply a different animal in Hallandale Beach, and even though he’s lacking a bit in figures, I need to have him on the ticket.

I hate singling in the last leg of a ticket like this. However, there’s a filly in the finale that I like a fair bit, and she’ll likely be a bit of a price. #5 SUNNY DALE ran evenly in her career debut going two turns last month, and I think she’ll take a big step forward at second asking. John Servis’s horses tend to improve with experience, and she’s bred to be a very good turf horse. It’s tough to debut at two turns, so I’ll take a shot against #1 CAFÉ AMERICANO (the likely favorite). If that one beats me, so be it.


$0.50 Pick Four: Race #6

R6: 1,2,11
R7: 1,5,8
R8: 9
R9: 4,5,7,9,10,11

54 Bets, $27

For the second Saturday in a row, Oaklawn’s late Pick Four is a doozy. I’m building it around one horse I really like, and I’m hoping we get a price or two home around that one to make this pay a bit.

The sixth is a $20,000 claiming event. The entry trained by Robertino Diodoro figures to be tough, but I like #11 DOCTOR LEE best. He was fourth against a much better field last time out, and he won three straight races not long ago. 6-1 seems like a square price, and anything close to that would certainly entice a win bet.

I’m also going three-deep in the Saturday feature, the King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters. I can’t get too cute in here, as I’m using the three likely favorites. If #1 WILBO is ready to go off of the long layoff, I think he’s the horse to beat. He won this race last year and has done some of his best running in Hot Springs. He boasts a steady work tab ahead of his return, and I think trainer Chris Hartman (who’s 0 for 13 at the meet as of this writing) could get off the duck in a big, big way.

My single comes in the eighth, an allowance event for older fillies and mares. That single is #9 SPRINGDETTI, who has been working lights-out for trainer Norman McKnight. McKnight is hitting at a 27% clip this meet, and if this mare runs to her works, I think she’ll be very tough.

I’m happy I could single with some degree of confidence in the eighth, because the Saturday finale is a mess. It’s a maiden claimer with a full field, and it includes several runners dropping in class. #10 AUGIE is the likely favorite, and if he’s ready, he probably wins, but he hasn’t run in almost 11 months. If he’s not ready, I have no confidence in much of this group, so I’ll include five others to buy some security.


$0.50 Pick Four: Race #11

R8: 6
R9: 1,3,4,6
R10: 3,5,8,9
R11: 3,5,7,10,11

80 Bets, $40

We’ll finish things off with Santa Anita, and I’ll start with a bit of a rant. The opening leg of the sequence is an optional claiming race for 3-year-olds going six and a half furlongs. Sunday’s feature is the Grade 2 San Vicente for 3-year-old sprinters going seven furlongs. Why was Saturday’s race even carded, especially with the San Vicente struggling for entries? My head hurts.

Several runners in this field likely would’ve taken some play in the latter race, and I’ve singled one of them. #6 MUCH BETTER was part of a contested pace in the Grade 3 Sham, which was won by the fast-closing Gunmetal Gray. That one ran OK when second in the Robert B. Lewis last weekend, and I think Much Better will run…well, much better, on the cutback in distance for Bob Baffert and Mike Smith.

The ninth race is the Grade 2 San Marcos, and while the West Coast turf marathon contingent isn’t any great shakes, I thought this was a fascinating betting race. #3 CHICAGO STYLE and #4 EPICAL will take money, but the former does his best running at Del Mar, and the latter takes a big step up in class and may have to work for the early lead. My top pick is actually #1 UNAPOLOGETIC, who runs for red-hot trainer Bill Spawr, and I’ll also use European invader #6 SEJO, who gets Lasix for the first time after hinting at some potential last year in France.

The tenth is a claiming race for older horses, and your guess is as good as mine with regard to who will be favored. #9 HONEYMOONZ OVER gets that distinction on the morning line, and I’m using him on the drop in class, but the barn is ice-cold this meet, so it’s not like he’s a cinch. Of the bigger prices, #3 CRAZY UNCLE RICK caught my eye. He takes a massive drop out of the allowance ranks to run here, and the last time he ran for a tag on dirt, he jogged. This may wake him up, and if he wins, there’s a chance plenty of tickets get knocked out.

We finish with a maiden race for fillies going down the hill. Naturally, there isn’t much proven hill form signed on (what fun would THAT be?), so I’m spreading and hoping to catch a price. The possible bomb I used here is #10 SPANISH CHANNEL, whose debut was far from bad for an outfit whose firsters tend to need their initial outings. Kent Desormeaux hopping aboard is noteworthy, as is the odds disparity with other runners from that race. #11 SETTLE IT beat Spanish Channel by just a half-length that day, yet the latter is three times the price. I’m hoping Spanish Channel gets ignored, because I think she deserves just as much attention as anyone else in this spot.

ANALYSIS, SELECTIONS, AND TICKETS: Queen’s Plate Day at Woodbine, Mandatory Rainbow 6 Payout at Gulfstream

Some may consider the time between the Belmont Stakes and the start of Saratoga and Del Mar to be a bit slow, but Saturday’s got ample opportunity for a handicapper to make a big score. It’s Queen’s Plate Day at Woodbine, and there’s also a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park. I’ve got a ton of tickets below, and with a little bit of luck, we’ll be able to connect with a few and have a big day!


$0.20 Pick Five: Race #2

R2: 1,5,9
R3: 2,4,6
R4: 2,5,9
R5: 1,4,5
R6: 7,8

162 Bets, $32.40

Yep, handicapping Woodbine means we get to dabble in 20-cent exotic wagers. This isn’t something that could work at all tracks, but at Woodbine, the concept is tremendous. Most people play for this denomination, so the payoff isn’t nearly as low as you’d expect, and you can get meaningful coverage without breaking the bank.

This Pick Five is a tough one, and it begins with a 2-year-old race. Mark Casse has a very strong hand, as #1 SOUL PLANET and #5 LIMONAIA are both logical contenders. I’m also going to use #9 CON ARTIST, who debuts for the Mike Maker barn and sports a flashy half-mile drill on June 23rd. This one may need a bit more ground, but if the most recent work is any indication, she can run a bit.

The second leg is the Charlie Barley Stakes, and I’ve gone three-deep. #4 MACHTREE is a logical favorite off of two strong races on the synthetic main track, but I don’t think he’s a cinch, and he may not even be the most well-meant entry from the Mark Casse barn. I’ll also use #6 RIDE A COMET, who’s undefeated on turf, and #2 BLUEBLOOD, who may have needed the race two back and figures to be prominent early.

The third leg also starts off a Pick Four (more on that later), and #5 ERADICATOR is a sound favorite. He drops way down in class and ran well two back at this level, but his lone win came against a suspect group last October, so I can’t have a ton of faith in him. I’m also including #2 SCRAM CRACKER, who may have figured things out given his recent score off a long layoff, and #9 SOUTHERN GREATNESS, whose record looks much better if you toss the turf races and solely focus on synthetic form.

The fourth leg features a full field of 14 maidens, and this is far from easy. In my Pick Four, I went five-deep, but in an effort to keep this ticket affordable, I whittled my coverage to a trio of horses. #1 BETH’S AURORA responded to the drop in class last time out, while #4 STORMY SUMMER cuts back after showing early speed last time out and #5 MAXIXE is another that should be prominent out of the gate.

The payoff leg is the Grade 2 King Edward, and I’m taking a bit of a stand in this wager (though I’m hedging a bit in the Pick Four, as you’ll see). I respect #3 TOWER OF TEXAS, but his two wins in the last year have come against much weaker groups. In fact, the winner of his last race, #7 CARIBOU CLUB, has turned into one heck of a turf horse, and he’s my top pick. Caribou Club has won four of his last five races, yet is somehow triple the price of Tower of Texas on the morning line. If he’s 6-1 come post time, I want all of it. Additionally, I’ll throw in #8 DELTA PRINCE. Royal Delta’s little brother turned into a strong turf horse last season, and while the long layoff is a bit of a concern, Jimmy Jerkens seems to have this one sitting on a big race, judging by the recent workouts at Belmont Park.

$0.20 Pick Four: Race #4

R4: 2,5,9
R5: 1,4,5,8,12
R6: 3,4,7,8
R7: 2,3

120 Bets, $24

As mentioned, this sequence starts midway through the Pick Five. With that in mind, there’s a lot of overlap, but also some room to add a few horses I didn’t have the budget to use in that sequence.

I’m using the same three horses in the fourth, but adding two in the fifth. #8 FASHION FLIRT has been working very well, but goes out for a trainer that’s winless to this point in the season. This doesn’t appear to be the strongest group, so I at least want to use her in SOME fashion. Additionally, #12 DANCE READY drops in for a tag for the first time. She’s got some speed, and the presence of Eurico da Silva is a plus.

In the sixth, I’ll throw in Tower of Texas, as well as #4 FIRST PREMIO. First Premio is a Mark Casse trainee whose form looks much better if you toss the two dirt races. Simply put, he’s a turf/synthetic horse. The last-out win at Churchill was good, although he stalked a pretty slow pace that day, and while this is a class test and we may not get much value, I did need to throw him in.

The seventh race appears to be a split of the second, as the conditions are exactly the same. In case you haven’t figured it out, I think Mark Casse could be in line for a colossal day, and I’m using both of his runners here. #2 SAILING BY and #3 SI SI TEQUILA can both build on their debuts, and while I’m using a few others in the late Pick Five, those are the horses I consider primary win threats.

$0.20 Pick Five: Race #6

R6: 7,8
R7: 2,3,4,6
R8: 5,7,8
R9: 2,4,6
R10: 4,10

144 Bets, $28.80

I’m solely using my two top picks in the sixth, but I’m spreading in the seventh, since I’ve got room in the budget to do that. I’m throwing in #4 IT’S VENGEANCE, a first-time starter from the Roger Attfield barn, and #6 TRULY HONORED, who ran well first time out. The former may want a bit more distance given the pedigree, and the latter is wheeled back pretty quickly, but this at least gives me a bit more coverage.

The third leg is the Grade 2 Dance Smartly for older fillies and mares. I cannot get past the three likely betting choices in here. #5 HOLY HELENA won last year’s Queen’s Plate, while #7 INFLEXIBILITY and #8 SANTA MONICA ship up for trainer Chad Brown. I think this trio is pretty far above the rest of the field, and I’ll be pretty surprised if another horse wins.

The fourth leg is the Grade 1 Highlander, a turf sprint that’s drawn a fun field. I had to use #2 IMPRIMIS, but while he’s undefeated, he’s never gone beyond five furlongs, and I’m not sure how he’ll like the long stretch at Woodbine. With that in mind, my top pick is #6 LONG ON VALUE, who came back running last time out and ran well here in last year’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. Additionally, I’ll throw in #4 HOLDING GOLD, who was caught very wide last time out in the Grade 2 Jaipur and could improve at a square price with a better trip.

This brings us to the main event, the $1 million Queen’s Plate. There are 16 runners, but I’m only going two-deep, and one of the ones I like figures to be a price. My top pick is #10 TELEKINESIS, who has done very little wrong to this point in his career and was a strong winner of the Plate Trial. Mark Casse seems to have been eyeing this race all along, and he could sit a perfect stalking trip just off the pace. The other one I need to use, though, is #4 STRIKE ME DOWN, who’s bred up and down for this distance and has taken a definite step forward as a 3-year-old. That one is 10-1, and given the pedigree (by Tapit, out of a Smart Strike mare), I must use him. If he wins, he’ll drive up the value of this sequence significantly.


$0.20 Rainbow 6: Race #9

R9: 6,7,8,9 (same)
R10: 2,9,10 (or 2,9)
R11: 15 (or 1,4,9,10,13)
R12: 1,2,3 (same)
R13: 8 (same)
R14: 1,4,5 (or 1,5)

108 (or 240) Bets, $21.60 (or $48)

As you can see, there are two different tickets given out. There’s a logical reason for this, as there’s an also-eligible in the third leg that strikes me as a real standout. If that one runs, I think it’s a single. If it doesn’t, that’s a race where you want coverage.

We’ll start off with a maiden claimer, and I don’t like the form of any horse in here that’s run before. I’m using four first-time starters, and of the quartet, I’m most intrigued by #7 BARGAINAIRE, who’s been working pretty well for trainer Ralph Nicks. Nicks can get a horse ready to run first time out, and 4-1 seems like a slight overlay.

Things don’t get much more visually appealing in the second leg, another maiden claimer. This time, they’re going long on the turf. My two primary horses are #2 FRIEND ZONE, who drops down in class, and #9 SPANISH DUDE, who debuted going long (never easy to do) and has several works indicating some potential. On one ticket, I’ve also used #10 ASSERTION, who’s 0 for 15 and drew poorly but seems like a much better horse on turf than on dirt.

The third leg is a pivotal one. If #15 DREAM SATURDAY runs, he’ll likely be a pretty heavy favorite, and for good reason. He won three in a row at this level before being claimed and running over his head in the starter allowance ranks, and while the low-percentage barn is a concern, he doesn’t need to be much to best this group. If he doesn’t run, though, I’m spreading, using five horses in what seems like a wide-open event. If forced to name a top selection, it’d be #13 JERSEY STREET, who’s a bit of a price (10-1) on the morning line. His three starts on non-boggy tracks since the claim have been solid, and he was an OK second at this level last time out.

The fourth leg is the Grade 2 Princess Rooney. Longtime horse for course #1 CURLIN’S APPROVAL will be a short price, and I’m using her, but on figures, she’s taken a bit of a step back from her 2017 form. Her best race wins this, but I can’t just single her against a decent group. #2 MS LOCUST POINT ran against top-class foes in the Grade 1 Madison two back before catching a mess of a track at Pimlico, while #3 MY MISS TAPIT is undefeated going one turn and merits respect.

In the fifth leg, though, I have no such reservations about singling a heavy favorite. That’s #8 X Y JET, who did everything but win last time out in Dubai. It’s taken him a while to get right, but trainer Jorge Navarro has him going in the right direction, and if he’s himself in this spot, everyone else is running for second money.

The payoff leg is another maiden claimer, the third in this sequence. My two primary horses are #1 ALLURSTRA, whose race two back against better wasn’t terrible, and #5 TALKING POINT, who took a step forward last time out and gets Tyler Gaffalione. On one proposed ticket, I’m also using #4 XIROMA, who ran well off the layoff last time out but may want a bit longer than this six-furlong distance.

Analysis, Selections, and Tickets: 2018 Florida Derby Day, PLUS: A Disturbing Trend in Racing That Must End

Before we get into my analysis of Saturday’s Rainbow 6 and late Pick Four sequences at Gulfstream Park, I need to expound on something I’ve been witnessing more and more of as of late. It’s a plague on the sport we enjoy, and it needs to stop.

Earlier this week, the connections of Australian superstar Winx announced that the mare would not ship to Royal Ascot. All hell promptly broke loose on Twitter, with plenty of insult-lobbing from all corners of the world saying that Team Winx was ducking top-class competition.

Horse racing has a major problem, and this situation typifies it. We crave horses that turn into winning machines, ones that strut their stuff on a regular basis and leave no doubt about how good they are. However, when we get horses like that, we’re often very quick to tear them down.

I wrote at length about Wise Dan, who ran into this phenomenon when his connections opted to keep their turf buzzsaw on turf rather than try him on dirt. This is the same concept. Winx has mowed down all comers over the course of her 24-race win streak, including world-class horses like Highland Reel. Why can’t we simply appreciate her for what she’s doing and be glad that we’re seeing her do it?

In a bizarre twist, while some of us insist on this strange behavior, we also spend time building up horses that have lost. Zenyatta gained the most respect not for any of her victories, but in coming up short to Blame in her career finale. Many think Easy Goer was superior to Sunday Silence despite losing three out of four meetings with that rival. Heck, Bodemeister’s stud career was built not on his runaway win in the Arkansas Derby, but off of his LOSS in the Kentucky Derby.

To be fair, part of handicapping involves figuring out horses that can improve off of defeats, and ones coming off of wins that may be vulnerable. That’s part of the pursuit of value that every handicapper undertakes when dissecting a card. However, none of that has any bearing in assessing a horse’s accomplishments during that horse’s career.

Winx is great, and her bona fides are not lessened by her connections opting not to go to Royal Ascot. To those who hurled insults and think those connections owe anything to them beyond doing what they feel is best for their champion, shame on you. You’re pushing an ideology that results in no-win situations for the game, horses, and horsemen, one where champions somehow sully their reputations by not winning as authoritatively as fans think they should.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at Saturday’s Rainbow 6 sequence at Gulfstream. I’ll dissect the races involved, as well as offer a late Pick Four ticket that gives us a bit more coverage.

$0.20 Rainbow 6: Race #9

R9: 2,5,6,7,8
R10: 7
R11: 1,2,10
R12: 3,6,8,9,12
R13: 2,7,8
R14: 8

225 Bets, $45

If you’re going to play an economical ticket, I think you need at least two singles. I’ll take stands in the second and sixth legs, and hope that I’ve got enough coverage elsewhere.

The ninth is a maiden race going long on turf, and I wish I had the money to buy the race. I’m going five-deep, and while I’m using #7 ART COLLECTION (the 9/5 morning line favorite), I don’t think he’s any cinch, especially going to a cold barn. My top selection is actually #6 DAWOOD, who debuted going nine furlongs. That’s never an easy task, and rating well behind a slow pace certainly didn’t help. Dawood gets Luis Saez here, and he’s bred to be a good one. If he takes a step forward, he’s certainly good enough to win.

My first single comes in the 10th, an optional claiming event that’s drawn some classy horses. The one I really like is #7 READY FOR RYE, whose last race was too bad to be true. He’s shown plenty of ability, and if he’s back to his usual form, I think he’ll be tough to beat. He’s got enough tactical speed to sit close to the pace, and he may get first run turning for home beneath Jose Ortiz.

The third leg is the Grade 3 Honey Fox. #2 LULL and #10 ON LEAVE are both classy horses, but I also need to use #1 GLORY TO KITTEN, who has never lost over this turf course. She does take a step up in class, but I simply can’t throw a horse out that has never tasted defeat at Gulfstream.

The fourth leg is the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks, and I’m taking the stance that this race sets up for a closer. My top pick (and not just because I used to work with a part-owner; hi, Drew!) is #9 PRINCESS WARRIOR, who prepped for this race with an OK effort in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride on turf. Her record looks much better if you draw a line through the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and I think she’ll come rolling late.

The 13th is the Grade 2 Pan American, and I’m three-deep. #8 SADLER’S JOY will be favored, and I’m using him, but I hesitate to single a deep closer in spots like these. I’m also using #2 BULLARDS ALLEY and #7 BIGGER PICTURE, and I’m surprised the latter is 6-1 on the morning line. He won the Grade 1 United Nations last year, and while he’s got a strong closing kick, it helps that he can also sit fairly close to the pace.

We finish things off with the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and I’ll hope to cap things off with a single. #8 AUDIBLE ran really well in taking the Grade 2 Holy Bull, and a repeat effort would mean another horse likely has to take a big step forward to beat him. I think he’ll be very tough in here, and hopefully, he can get this ticket home.

$0.50 Pick Four: Race 11

R11: 1,2,3,10
R12: 3,5,6,8,9,12
R13: 2,3,7,8
R14: 8

96 Bets, $48

I’m still singling Audible to end this sequence, but I’ll add a few horses before that in hopes of getting to the payoff leg. I’ll throw in #3 STORMY VICTORIA in the 11th, #5 DAISY in the 12th, and #3 HI HAPPY in the 13th. If you’ve got the money to add these horses into the Rainbow 6, feel free. I wanted to keep the cost of that ticket down to a reasonable level, though, and this was the compromise I came up with.

Gulfstream Park Rainbow Six Ticket and Analysis: 6/17/17

Saturday’s Rainbow Six at Gulfstream Park boasts a mandatory payout, and as such, it’s worth taking a swing at. I was able to come up with a $36 ticket (for a 20-cent wager), one that includes two singles. Both singles will likely be popular ones, but if we can get some prices home around them, we could be in line for a nice score. Here’s how I’ll play the sequence.

RACE #6: 1,2,5,6,9

We open things up with a sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Go Astray figures to be favored, given back-to-back second-place finishes here last month. However, she had things all her own way last time out and hit a wall in the stretch. She could win, but I feel a need to spread in the kickoff leg.

I’m going five-deep, and there are two debutantes with pedigrees worth noting. Crazy for Sofia has been working well, and her dam is a half to six winners. Additionally, Iwannatalkaboutme is a big price on the morning line (15-1), but the presence of a 16% rider is a plus, and her second dam is a half to the speedy Birdonthewire.

RACE #7: 8,9

I’m taking a bit of a stand here, using just two horses in a turf race others may spread in. Golden Point is my top pick. He made a big middle move in a race with very little early speed last time out, and this spot figures to set up better for his late-running style. I’ll also use Vedelago, although he had a perfect trip last time out. That said, he’s shown in the past that he doesn’t need the lead to run well, and I think he could sit a good stalking trip just off the pace.

RACE #8: 1

My first single comes in the third leg, a maiden claiming event. I’ll take a stand with Dardo, who debuted in the slop earlier this month and had a horrible trip. He fell back abruptly midway through the race, but rallied to finish a strong second against a slightly higher level of competition. Improvement is logical at second asking, and while the rail draw isn’t ideal, I think he’s the most talented horse in a pretty weak bunch.

RACE #9: 1,5,6,7,8,12

I thought this was the toughest race of the sequence, and if you’ve got the budget to hit the “ALL” button, that’s not a bad idea. I narrowed it down to six horses, and I’m using a few big prices. Of note, B K Masterkey stretches out to two turns (which I think he wants judging by his 2016 races at Tampa), and Albert Charles drops way down in class and has won over this surface twice. That said, nothing would surprise me, and I’m hoping I can get through this leg. If we get a price home, that’s a plus.

RACE #10: 1,3,9

This $6,250 claimer has drawn some hard-knocking horses. I most prefer Capital City, who’s won two in a row at this level and route and should sit a perfect trip just off the speed. I’ll also use class-dropper Let’s Go Ben, who could go early from the rail, and Crazy Frank C, who ran second behind my top pick last out despite hopping at the start. That one has a win at this level and route back in January, and he’d benefit from a speed duel in front of him.

RACE #11: 3

If we’re still alive, we’re letting our ticket ride on Enterprising, who may be the shortest price on the card. He drops into restricted stakes company after chasing Grade 1 horses home on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Before that, this 6-year-old won back-to-back graded stakes races at Fair Grounds, and a repeat of either of those efforts would make him very, very difficult to beat.

Here’s another look at my $36 ticket. If you’re playing the sequence, best of luck!

R6: 1,2,5,6,9
R7: 8,9
R8: 1
R9: 1,5,6,7,8,12
R10: 1,3,9
R11: 3

180 bets, $36

Gulfstream Park Rainbow Six Analysis: 4/2/17

Sunday is the final day of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park, and because of that, all multi-race wagers must pay out in full. This includes the Rainbow Six, which has built itself up over the past several weeks and could boast a pool of more than $5 million by post time of the day’s sixth race.

I’ll look to ride the momentum from a very successful Saturday, where this space gave out a pair of winning Pick Four tickets (including a $6 wager that returned nearly $230!). I’ve managed to cobble together a $36 ticket for a 20-cent wager, and it’s certainly worth taking a swing given the size of the pool. I’ll go race-by-race and dissect my strategy.

RACE #6: 6, 8, 9

We start off with a maiden claiming event, and to be kind, there’s not much in the way of proven form in here. I held my nose and went three-deep; hopefully, that’s enough to get us out of the first leg.

#6 Quality A. Rod drops way down in class after two failed tries in the maiden special weight ranks. He also cuts back in distance for trainer Mike Maker, and the drop alone makes him a formidable foe. Meanwhile, #8 Do It Fast may be the main early speed in the race and ran OK two back at this level, while #9 Delta Force lost all chance at the break in his debut, sports a solid work since that outing, and adds blinkers.

RACE #7: 3

In sequences like this, you need to single at some point to keep ticket costs down. While I’m not infatuated by the horse I wound up singling here, I do like him a considerable amount, and if he doesn’t win, I have no clue who does, since the others pretty much look exactly the same.

#3 Completely Bonkers beat state-bred company two back with a huge late move and returned against unrestricted foes on February 18th. He was fifth that day, but finished just two lengths behind Delta Prince, who ran very well when second in Saturday’s Grade 3 Appleton. This is probably an easier spot, and this ultra-consistent 4-year-old is a deserving 2-1 favorite on the morning line.

RACE #8: 5, 6, 7, 9, 11

If you’ve got deeper pockets (or more than one solid single) and want to punch the “ALL” button here, go ahead and do that. For the sake of keeping my ticket cost down, I settled on going five-deep, and I really hope the morning line holds up, because some of these horses figure to be prices at post time.

My top pick is a horse taking a slight drop in class in his second start off a layoff. That’s #9 Arpinella, who showed some speed from a bad post at the $35,000 maiden claiming level before fading late. He probably needed the race, this seems like a softer spot, and the post position (while still not ideal) is at least slightly better this time around.

That’s by no means a top pick I’m highly confident about, though, and there are several others in here that could win this at a price. I’ll focus on two in particular. #5 Last Lightning was a close-up second against lesser company in his debut before stopping badly when last seen in January. However, he finally tries turf today, and this 3-year-old has the pedigree to love it. He’s by world-class turf miler Leroidesanimaux, and out of a mare named Glaire, who was a Grade 1 winner on turf in her native Brazil. That makes Last Lightning a half-brother to a horse named Exclusive Strike, whose career highlight was a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Man o’ War going long on the sod.

Additionally, #7 Sin Llorar is a first-time starter with a strong pedigree of his own. His dam was a three-time winner on turf, in addition to being a half-sister to Storm Boot, a sire of 46 stakes winners. His trainer has shown an ability to win with first-time starters, and it’s not like he’d have to be much to place well in here.

RACE #9: 6, 7

I often enjoy taking first-time starters in races where the horses that have run before haven’t shown much. In this case, my top pick is a debuting daughter of Discreetly Mine, but I couldn’t bring myself to single her in this wager.

#7 Cope has a strong series of workouts, and it’s a bit surprising to see her entered for a $12,500 tag in her unveiling. If she runs to her workouts against this group, I think she’s absolutely the one to beat. I’ll also throw in #6 Cindy’s Candy, who cuts back to 5 ½ furlongs after an OK second at this level going a mile. She was second going this distance in her debut last October, and she’d benefit from a pace meltdown up front.

RACE #10: 4, 7, 9

If there are scratches elsewhere on this ticket, expect me to add a horse or two in here. This is a very challenging $16,000 claimer on the turf, featuring many horses that have been at this level for a long time.

#4 Forall the Marbles is my top pick, due in no small part to a substantial edge in back class over the rest of this group. Many of his recent outings have come against better groups, and he drops down to this level after tiring to finish seventh against optional claiming foes. Forall the Marbles was claimed that day, his new trainer is hitting at a ridiculous 38% clip with new acquisitions, and the last time he ran at this level, he was a wire-to-wire winner here in January.

I’ll also use #7 Rock Eagle and #9 Entwistle, both of whom are in OK form and should be flying late. If there are scratches, I may also use #1 Mr. Magic or #8 Gracious Plenty, but for now, I’ll go with my first three and hope that’s enough.

RACE #11: 2, 5

If we get to this point, we’ll be two-deep for, hopefully, large stacks of cash. Sometimes, going two-deep provides a false sense of security, especially in a big field. However, in here, I’m more than happy to stop there, as I think I’ve got the class of the field on my ticket.

#5 Tiger Paw takes a big drop in class from the $30,000 claiming level for aggressive connections. He’s been competitive against much better groups in the past, but owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey are reportedly downsizing their operation, meaning aggressive spots at lower levels. I’ll also use #2 Chivalrous, who broke through last time out in his first start for a new barn with a win against non-winners-of-two company. He takes a step up in class here, but Nik Juarez stays aboard, and this one could sit a dream trip rating just off the early speed.

Here’s a look at the ticket, which, again, costs $36 for a 20-cent bet. If there are scratches, check out my Twitter feed (@AndrewChampagne) for any modifications.

R6: 6,8,9
R7: 3
R8: 5,6,7,9,11
R9: 6,7
R10: 4,7,9
R11: 2,5

Best of luck with your Rainbow Six ticket!