Friday, January 29, 2010

Glenn's sleepless picks for Sunshine Millions Day (Florida card only)

DORAL, Fla. -- Here I am in South Florida, and I have to say, so far, so very good.

Thanks to -- a service I highly recommend -- for a price I can afford, I'm rollin' in style with a 2010 Chevy Camaro from Avis and staying at The Blue, a "resort property" on the Doral golf course. I made it past the gated security (where my name and reservation was checked) to swing into the main lobby's driveway and park behind a Bentley while checking in. And before my second foot hit the ground when exiting the car, a bellman stepped up to say, "Welcome to The Blue, Mr. Craven. Will you be needing help with any bags?" ... About 10 minutes after reaching the room, a woman in guest services called just to make sure the place met my expectations.

Oh, yeah, and then some. And trust me, I did not pay "just-parked-behind-a-Bentley" prices.

So, partially on the flight from Raleigh-Durham International (where now it's snowing) to Miami, and partially after an evening cruise in the Camaro with drive-thru dining at Pollo Tropical, I've handicapped the Gulfstream card for Saturday.

C'mon. Lose a little money with me.

Race 1, 6.5 furlongs, Clm$25K, fillies and mares 4-and-up: A sketchy group with the exception of a couple, and I think this race has a beatable horse among the morning-line favorites in Suave Royalty. The mare is certainly a decent one, with $166,507 earned from five wins and 49 lifetime starts, but I can't figure why she's 3/1 here, just a notch behind the 5/2 first choice, My Prefered. Both are coming in off turf starts that broke up long layoffs, and My Prefered has won 13 of 51 lifetime, plus should benefit from the services of Jeremy Rose. And actually, I think a threat to beat both of them is the 3-horse, Diced N Sliced, ridden by Javier Castellano. An 8-3-7 trifecta (in some combination) is a very possible occurrence, but if I were choosing one of the three as a win-bet only, it would be No. 3, Diced N Sliced, because she's the much better price on the morning line at 6/1.
Choices: 3-8-7

Race 2, 6f, allowance N1x, 3-year-olds: A mixed bag here with two standouts. I like the 4 best, General Maximus, who broke maiden at first asking last July at Belmont with a triple-digit Brisnet speed figure. Of course, everyone else is gonna like him, too, and he's 8/5 on the morning line. Particularly considering he hasn't raced since July, a fair chance to beat him rests with the 2, Afleet Express, who also debuted with a win (Dec. 5 at Aqueduct, 93 Bris) and has raced much more recently. Others who might figure are the 6 and 7, Windy City Cat and Peace At Dawn; the former broke maiden at first asking at Hawthorne on Dec. 23 (89 Bris) and the latter ran a 90 speed figure last out on Jan 9, albeit in the slop.
Choices: 4/2-6-7

Race 3, 1 mile (turf), Mcl$75K, 3-year-old fillies: Perhaps the best horse in this race, might not get in this race. That's the 13 (as in, first on the also-eligible list), Baroness Jill, a Todd Pletcher trainee to be ridden by John Velazquez. The Dynaformer filly was a $320K Keeneland yearling and failed badly as the favorite in her debut, eighth beaten 10. But she was pinched back at the start and has an excuse. Since the rest of the field isn't very strong, she has a good shot if she draws in. Otherwise, I like two more outside horses, almost equally well, the 10, Palm Beach Story, and the 12, Impolite Lady. Palm Beach Story was a close third in two starts in France as a 2-year-old, but hasn't raced since July 19; she's 4/1. Clocking in at 7/2 on the morning line, Impolite Lady was third in her only start, a Belmont maiden special in October. She'll should be coming late, and with some speed in this race among the likely also-rans, that could set up well for her. ... A sneaky choice? The 2, Deborah's Pride, a firster by Tiznow out of the Trempolino mare La Samanna. Trainer Helen Pitts is 0-for-4 at the meet, but has a +3.04 wager return on first-time turf starters. And, this filly's dam has already produced three winners from five starters, two of those three winners on the lawn. ... And, she'll open the market at 10/1.
Choices: 13(if she draws in) 2-10/12.

Race 4: 8.5f (turf), Clm$30K, fillies and mares 4 and up: A fairly wide-open field with a 3/1 morning-line favorite in the 9, Loveyou Everybody, who I like, but don't love, and a 15/1 shot in the 6, It's Not For Love, who I do love at that price. The 6 hasn't won much, 2-for-22, but has the highest speed figure at the day's distance, and until being sent out in two turf sprints was remarkably consistent, running seven of eight Brisnet speed figures at or above the 82 par for winning today's race, though she was 0-fer in that stretch at Aqueduct, Belmont and Monmouth. The stretchout seems to be what she needs. ... She has a jock with a poor record in Pascacio Lopez and trainer Timothy Hills is 0-for-19, but again, I'll take 15/1 (or maybe better) on her.
Choices: 6-9-4-3

Race 5, 5f (turf), Clm$32K, ages 4 and up: Again, the best horses in this race might not draw-in, as three top threats to win are on the AE list as No. 13 (trainer David Braddy is a 25 percent winner on the class-drop), 15 (Probation Ready, won his last among similar at Tampa) and 16 (former stakes-winner Stradivinsky). Among those likely to draw-in, I prefer the 2, Golden Weekend, though he's on about a two-month break after winning in November at this distance on turf at Meadowlands. The 9, Matt's A Giant, also last raced with a win at Meadowlands at 5f on turf, in October. And the 12, Midnight Ridge, used to be fast enough, anyway, last summer.
Choices: 15-13-16 if they draw; 2-9-12 otherwise.

Race 6, 1 mile, MSW, 3-year-olds: Gotta love handicapping maidens, and this group is a challenge. While there are no first-timers to add confusion, the field has a balance of talent, with five of nine having run a Brisnet speed figure above 81 but less than 90, and two others with a 79 and 77 to their credits. Yet none have achieved the par figure for winning this sort of race at Gulfstream; 94. The 7, Gothics Peak, has the fastest prior speed figure at 89, but that was going 6f. He'll be stretching out for the first time, but that shouldn't be a problem for a son of Unbridled's Song, and he gets first-time Lasix. The 5, The Director, was a well-beaten fourth in his debut under Jeremy Rose, but Rose took him again and will try to improve on an 83 effort posted at 6 furlongs on Jan. 3 here. The 1-horse, a Pletcher-trainee named Don Cavallo, has gone two turns before, running fifth among similar at Aqueduct on Nov. 28. And the 6, First Dude, has been twice in both his starts, last October at Keeneland going 7f and in November at Churchill at a mile and a sixteenth.
Choices: 7-1/5-6.

Race 7, 8.5f (turf), allowance, fillies and mares 4 and up who haven't won $7,500 other than maiden, claiming or starter, or have never won two races: Phew, long conditions. Look for the 11, Speak Easy Gal under Elvis Trujillo, who in my opinion seems to stand well above this group. A possible exception is the 3/1 morning-line favorite, Flying Spur (No. 4), who was last seen getting beat 24 1/2 lengths (but finishing third) by Rachel Alexandra in the Kentucky Oaks. So, she's G1-placed, but her 2-year-old turf efforts weren't stellar enough to make me choose her first with a surface-switch back to grass and a nine-month layoff. The 1 and 5, Miss MVP and Loxy Lady, could figure.
Choices: 11-4-1/5

Race 8, Sunshine Millions Sprint, $200,000, 6f, ages 4 and up: If anyone is going to beat the 8/5 morning-line favorite in this race, No. 4 Pashito The Che, I don't know who it is. He's 6-for-12 lifetime with four second-place finishes, meaning he has failed to make the exacta just twice in his career. And his last six Brisnet speed figures all have hit triple-digits, topped by a blistering 114 at Philly Park in October. The oddsmakers say This One's For Phil (No. 6) has the best shot, but he's not worth 9/5 by comparison. Not in my book; even though he's working extremely well for trainer Richard Dutrow. The 3, Accredit, and the 7, Rockerfeller, should figure, but they'd have to run back to their form of six to nine months ago in order to do it.
Choices: 4-6-3-7

Race 9, Sunshine Millions Distaff, $300,000, 9f, fillies and mares 4 and up: Simply put, not all that competitive a group. The 4, Sweet Repent, has won her last four starts, all with speed figures likely good enough to win again here, and has beaten several others who are also in this field in the process. If you get the 2/1 that the morning line offers, that might actually be a good thing. The oddsmakers prefer the 7, Jessica Is Back, and she's certainly good enough to win here, too, and trending well on form. But she lost to Sweet Repent two starts back at Calder. The 3, Christmas Ship, and 5, Amazing, look like the best of the rest. Might have to bet the tri and tinker with your third-place horse to make much wagering on this race, unless someone drops a bomb.
Choices: 4-7-3/5

Race 10, Sunshine Millions Turf, $300,000, 9f (turf), ages 4 and up: On their bodies of work, I would like the 8, Soldier's Dancer, and the 11, Jet Propulsion, equally well here. Except that Jet Propulsion seems to lose his afterburners beyond a mile and is 0-for-3 at 9 furlongs, having not even hit the board. The 4, Bad Action, is a better bet to figure at this distance, but doesn't look good enough to beat Soldier's Dancer at his best, and Soldier's Dancer is coming in off back-to-back 9f turf stakes wins.
Choices: 8-4-11

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