Our man trackside says …
Gulfstream Park in Florida has races carded for the grass as well as dirt on Thursday. There is a possibility of showers but there is plenty of sunshine in the weather forecast.
Hopefully that means the turf contests won’t get switched to the main (dirt) track. Jorge Navarro (races 5 and 9) leads perennial leader Todd Pletcher (races 1 and 6) in the trainer standings.
Irad Ortiz is leading rider in what is traditionally one of the strongest riding colonies Stateside. His brother Jose, Javier Castellano and Tyler Gaffalione are having plenty of winners. There has been no obvious track bias lately.
Race 1 17.35
No 7 King Orb did best of a number of these that contested a similar event last month. He ran second, bettering a below par effort the time before. No6 Love Sick Kitten and No3 Divide ran with credit in the same event.
No1 Silver Shield has been on the fringes in tougher maidens is interesting at a price. He has tactical speed in a race that may be run steadily. That could mean he’s in a good place when they turn for home.
Selection: No 7 King Orb
Race 2 18.05
No6 Gran Bonita Chica had No1 Valerie First 8 lengths back in third when winning a similar event over course and distance last month. Strictly on form, she is well deserving of her odds on status. However, she was claimed last time and her new trainer is having a poor meet. That is a worry at her skinny price.
No3 Aqua Gem ran too bad to be true behind the favourite last time. She and recent maiden winner No5 Lady Kim are lightly raced and may have improvement to come.
Selection: No6 Gran Bonita Chica
Race 3 18.35
No7 Glotonasa is arguably the form gal in this event. She has earned place money in a trio of consecutive races at this meet. In her last start, she ran second at today’s level. If No2 Kaylie’s Girl comes back to her best, she can beat her. The filly showed her usual early speed but folded like a deckchair last time. She now runs for a much more successful trainer after a claim and that should mean a much better effort here.
No4 Fontanazza showed nothing on her return. Maybe she needed the run after almost four months away
Selection: No2 Kaylie’s Girl
Race 4 19.05
No1 Encinitas has the best form. He was placed in maidens at Churchill and Belmont in two career starts so far. He’s been away since June so it will be interesting if the market speaks in his favour on his comeback. No5 Tapability ran a decent third last month and obviously has a recency edge on him. He now runs in blinkers first time. So too is No6 Leinster who needs the headgear to end a dozen race losing streak.
No3 Fast Talking faded tamely on his debut last March. He’s well bred and has been working forwardly in the mornings. The booking of Jose Ortiz is encouraging. He may be worth chancing at a decent price.
Selection: No3 Fast Talking
Race 5 19.37
No6 Transistor got back to winning was over course and distance at the start of this month. The 3 length margin of victory may have flattered him as he got a fast pace to chase down but it was still a fine effort all the same. If jockey Jeffrey Sanchez keeps him within striking distance, he should be too strong for his rivals.
The luckless No5 Charlie the Greek has been a bridesmaid in 4 consecutive starts. The step up in distance could see him get over the hump. No2 Just Kidding made his local debut in a stake. Not only is he dropped in class but may make the lead on his own. If the favourite is too short, he looks to be a playable alternative.
Selection: No6 Transistor
Race 6 20.08
No2 Bluesky Kitten made a fine return when going down narrowly over today’s course and distance last month. His new trainer has found a winnable maiden for him despite the class rise. He seems to have more upside than No4 Tiz Luna and No7 Roddick who both ran well at this level earlier this month.
First time starters No1 Biz Notes, No5 Empty Sky and No9 Blacktop Legend all represent top trainers. The last named gets the services of Javier Castellano. A decent workout last weekend may have tipped the hand of connections that he’s live at first asking.
Selection: No9 Blacktop Legend
Race 7 20.39
The class-plunging No1 Franklin Towers looks the one to beat here. This is a far weaker event than he’s been running at. Although well beaten lately, he’s been allowed to come home in his own time once his chance had gone. Jockey Irad Ortiz should have him forwardly placed in an event where it may be tough to come from too far behind.
No3 Enough Is Enough is a capable late runner when given the right conditions. So too is No7 Dave Hoeght. No9 Remember the Maine looks the type to outrun his odds.
Selection: No1 Franklin Towers (Nap)
Race 8 21.10
Many of these contested a similar event over course and distance last month. No4 Hardened was a 20/1 upset winner but there seemed no fluke in his performance. Neck runner up No9 Sleeping Giant was coming back after a break. He may be tougher to reel in this time.
No6 Modern Tale can run a bit better than he did last time. He will be a late threat at his best. By contrast, No8 Black Jet will to try to make a winning move early on. No7 Love Conquers is The X Factor here making his first start over five furlongs after fading over much further.
Selection: No9 Sleeping Giant
Race 9 21.41
Trainer Jorge Navarro sets a poser by running a pair here. No6 Be a Hero slammed a weaker field than this one by 8 ½ lengths last month. He has been competitive at this level and better in the past so the class rise may not stop him. His barn mate No7 Nominal Dollars has been set a couple of tough tasks since being claimed in the autumn. It will be no surprise if he runs this field down late on now back in claiming company.
No5 Go Gone Gone ran well on the turf last time but is a 3 timer winner on dirt. No3 Big Boy Bruno had No2 He’s Got Talent well behind when winning a similar race to this last month.
Selection: No6 Be a Hero