Handicapper and Gulfstream Park aficionado Anthony Fontaine provides his thoughts and selections for all races on the stakes laden card at Gulfstream Park today.
Race One: Selections 7-9-2-4
# 7 Pukalani had a wide debut on the dirt and with this pedigree will love the lawn. Will need to move at the right time but rider can pop at a price so I give this one major consideration.
#9 Bratoutahellt akes another drop as this one showed lots of speed last out only to fade. At this level against this field may forget to stop. #2 Just a bit Sassy debuts with moderate works however trainer does not ask them to go all out in the morning. This is not the most outstanding field and if this one has a modicum of ability and can break alertly can have a say in the outcome.
Race Two: Selections 12-8-5-3
#12 Emoji Guy debuts for a veteran trainer that can have them ready early for the red hot riding Irad Ortiz. Young sire has not proven as yet to produce many precocious runners however the fact this one attracts Ortiz adds significantly to the appeal even with the wide draw.
#8 Way More gets the ever aggressive Paco Lopez for the debut run and works indicate this one has some ability. Would give this one some consideration in the debut. #5 Cross Court outworked 105 horses on 2 November which is eye catching to say the least. It would appear the work took a lot out of this one as did not work again fro two weeks. Providing all is well physically this runner may be imposing today.
Race Three: Selections 4-5-6-2
#4 Bazoo comes off a maiden claiming score at Woodbine on the synthetic and will try to find a level where he can be competitive. Traditionally Woodbine shippers do well at this meet particularly early so willing to give this one a shot to upset the applecart.
#5 Man with a Plan stands out from a class perspective as this field may be the easiest he has faced in a while. Still has to deal with other speed but may prove too tough at a price much lower than the morning line. #6 Black Hope won the debut in good fashion and was not disgraced in the subsequent optional claimer. This one displayed talent and ability and would appear to be highly competitive against this group today .
Race Four: Selections 5-4-1-3
#5 Shyza is bred to love this distance and had a confidence building score last out. Waters appear a bit deeper today however this runner should give a good account today.
#4 Filly Jean Kingseeks the eleusive second victory and finds a spot that should be easier than the last few. Runner has displayed good ability in all races and tries hard each time. Should be formidable today. #1 We Miss Susie won for fun last out but faces winners today and a few others appear a bit more appealing. That being said would be no surprise if this one built off that last score and runs well in this spot.
Race Five: Selections 1-5-9-7
#1 Midnight Oasis exploded first time turf at Kentucky Downs for an impressive score and looks for a repeat today. If rider can get this one away alertly on the rail and if not on the lead close and strike entering the lane may be difficult to pass.
#5 Blockade ran well off a long layoff and looks to take this race down. Will be backed based on connections and the superb effort last out. Would include in multi race wagers as this runner looks poised for a good performance. #9 Sublime Appeal may need to improve but speed is always dangerous on the lawn and this runner appear a bit more suited to the distance as opposed to the other speed horse in this race. May hold for a significant share.
Race Six, The Sugar Swirl G3: Selections 9-6-5-4
#9 Heavenhasmynikki will appreciate the drop in class today and her record at the distance is impressive. Will need one of her better performances as this is not Ohio yet feel this runner has enough class to take this.
#6 Stormy Embrace will lurking in the wings waiting to pounce as the speed backs up. This runner has proven to be formidable and has a good record at this track so warrants serious consideration in this spot. #5 Blazen Betsy steps way up and faces the best field of her young career however the trainer/jockey combo has a very high strike rate so warrants a flyer in this spot.
Race Seven, The My Charmer: Selections 8-1-6-2
#8 Joy Nidera makes US debut and attracts the services of JR Velazquez. Runner was off for more than a year however has worked splendidly for this race. Trainer just had his best mare retired after scoring in the Breeders Cup Distaff and this one may be a replacement for that top runner in the barn. Willing to give this one a shot at a nice number.
#1 Mitchell Road has speed and class and would appear to be the horse to beat. This runner will need to avoid a destructive duel if this one intends on going all the way however this field is not as difficult as the ones this one has been recently competing against so appears to be formidable. #6 Altea for the ever dangerous wizard of turf Chad Brown looks to fit nicely in this spot. Runner comes off a nice allowance score at Aqueduct and will need some improvement in the figure department however that is not out of the question so would rate a serious threat today.
Race Eight, The Rampart G3: Selections 4-1-6-8
#4 Pink Sands returns to the surface she relishes and has been working nicely for this event. With a good trip this runner will be rolling late and will be tough to deny.
#1 Unholy Alliance had to need that last outing as this runner was off since February and in a new barn. Willing to forgive that nonperformance and give this one a chance at a nice price in this event. #6 Molto Bella will need an improved effort but had a nice score last out. Hernandez is very good at getting the most out his mounts and will look to sit a trip and pounce late.
Race Nine, The Fort Lauderdale G2: Selections 6-3-8-7
#6 Up the Ante has the right rider in Paco Lopez in this spot as many of his rivals lack the early speed to stay with this runner. I envision the rider lulling this field to sleep at a nice number especially if uncontested upfront.
#3 Flavius had an educational US debut last out after encountering lots of trouble stayed on and finished well. May prove tough to deny for a top placing today. #8 Admissions Office always closes late and gives a good account of himself however there does not appear to be the amount of speed necessary to set up for his late kick but still warrants major consideration.
Race Ten, The Harlans Holiday G3: Selections 1-6-4-5
#1 Prince Lucky has shown an affinity for this surface in the past and will appreciate these competitors much more so than some of the others he has been facing. Horse is drawn perfectly for this spot on the inside and looks like the one to beat to cash.
#6 Bodexpress comes off an impressive allowance score and tries stake competition once more. Runner has talent and would appear to be competitive against this group. #4 Flowers for Lisa has speed which is always dangerous however a few others appear to be more likely for top honors. This one should be used in exotics particularly underneath.
Race Eleven: Selections 12-8-2-3
#12 Campagno comes off a freshening after being claimed. Trainer drops in price a bit from claim however runner has been working well for this return spot. Would appear to be fit and ready for a good performance. Post is difficult to overcome but rider is more than capable at a nice price.
#8 King Orb will need to establish position early to avoid another wide trip. Rider is aggressive and should be able to place this one in an optimal spot for a solid run through the lane. #2 Dakota’s Dude has the bright flashing clearance tag on today and this one drops precipitously in price however barn is well adept at the claiming game so would not be too alarmed unless this one gives a poor performance in the post parade.
Enjoy the races everyone.