She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Gulfstream/Florida Derby Picks
We head to Florida today for the running at Gulfstream. The Florida Derby takes place this afternoon, the final leg of the Late Pick 4 -- and it's a race that is preceded by three very good Grade III or better stakes races, two on the turf.
It is an important stop on the road to the Triple Crown each year. That maybe changes this year, with the delay of the Triple Crown...but still very good racing on hand to watch (from TV) and wager on
The sequence I'll be handicapping today starts in Race 11., scheduled for around 4:45 p.m. this afternoon. I list my top four picks below in each race, but always check the comments section below each race for other horses I consider possibilities, and play them if you want.
RACE 11 -- GULFSTREAM PARK OAKS -- 1-1/16TH MILE -- GRADE II -- 200K
9 -- TONALIST'S SHAPE
5 -- SPICE IS NICE
8 -- DREAM MARIE
7 -- LUCREZIA
Comments: Tonalist's Shape a nice looking three-year-old filly that has one all five of her lifetime starts (four of them at Gulfstream) and is my top pick. She's beat several in the field and ran impressively in her last, the Davona Dale. She also had a great workout back on March 22nd for today's race. Spice Is Nice ran behind Tonalist's Shape in the Davona Dale, her second career start. She should be close again today, but, has she improved that much to beat Tonalist? Dream Marie chased my top two around the track in the Davona Dale, had three wins before that, but would be a surprise today if she won. Lucrezia comes in from Tampa Bay, won two stakes there and will try to run on top from wire to wire. How does she match up against her new competitors? I will consider #4 Lake Avenue in here, did little wrong up in New York and will also probably try to wire the field in front. Could be dangerous, if the jockey change to Joel Rosario works out.
RACE 12 -- PAN AMERICAN -- 1-1/2TH MILE (TURF) -- GRADE II -- 200K
9 -- ZULU ALPHA
2 -- BEMMA'S BOY
1 -- CHANNEL CAT
5 -- GO POKE THE BEAR
Comments: Zulu Alpha looks reborn since the start of the year and Tyler Gaffalione has figured the horse out for Michael Maker. Zulu likes Gulfstream, has won two in a row there and will be hard to beat today as my top pick. I will try for a price with Bemma's Boy, another Michael Maker horse who gets turf specialist Florent Geroux on board and has turned in two bullet works in Florida. I'll also give Channel Cat consideration. He lost all chances stumbling at the start against Zulu Alpha last time out...this is a horse that is usually finishing no worse the 2-3 lengths behind the winner and should like the distance. Go Poke The Bear closed really well to win last time out, at Gulfstream, and I can't dismiss "the Bear". Other than these four, I got nothing and I hope for a price but probably won't get it.
RACE 13 -- APPLETON STAKES -- 1 MILE (TURF) -- GRADE III -- 100K
10 -- SOMEBEYAY
3 -- MARCH TO THE ARCH
12 -- EL TORMENTA
7 -- SOCIAL PARANOIA
Comments: This is a VERY wide open race and I don't see a clear favorite here. It could be a good race to "go deep" in. I picked Somebeyay as my top choice. He's run well at Gulfstream in his last two, caught and passed the leaders last time out and won't get killed in a early speed duel. March to the Arch deserves consideration also, A very close third at Tampa Bay last out, gets Gaffalione on top and likes the turf at Gulfstream. El Tormenta has faced better in Grade I's at Woodbine and Santa Anita, won in Canada and adds Julian Leparoux, a great turf jock. Social Paranoia hasn't raced since September, but won convincingly then. Who will replace Castellano on board? He broke his maiden at Gulfstream and could figure in here. I also like #1 English Bee who ran a very close second to Somebeyay last time out and #9 Louder Than Bombs was right there with Somebeyay and English Bee last time out and could improve with Joe Bravo riding again. Wide open. Wide open, this one. i''ll go deep here.
RACE 14 -- FLORIDA DERBY -- 1-1/8TH MILE -- GRADE i -- 750k
7 -- TIZ THE LAW
12 -- ETE INDIAN
9 -- INDEPENDENCE HALL
5 -- GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
Comments: I've been a Tiz The Law fan a long time and that ain't changing. 3 for 4 lifetime, won the Holy Bull at Gulfstream easily and got a horrible boxed in trip at Churchill in the Kentucky Jockey Club and still battled back to get third by less than a length. He's my top pick. ETE INDIAN followed Tiz The Law home two back, won the Fountain of Youth for fun and is the main threat to Tiz The Law today. They may try to go wire-to-wire with him and having Florent Geroux on board doesn't hurt at all. Independence Hall looked brilliant up north, barely missed in the Sam Davis at Tampa and could be a factor with a good start. Don't ignore him. Gouverneur Morris is the great unknown. Won an allowance race, ran second in Keeneland's Grade I Breeders Futurity and could be a challenge here. I'll use him. I'll leave it at these four, no one else has shown me they are a challenge to these.
The play? I'll probably try a couple of Pick 3's here (going very deep) and a small Pk 4 with the big guns getting priority.
Pick 3 (Race 11)
Pick 3 (Race 12)
Play 'em anyway you like and remember, don't put the mortgage on a mudder.