April Speed Trends at Gulfstream Park
The Championship Meeting concluded at Gulfstream Park on March 29, but that didn’t stop the South Florida venue from playing host to some fantastic racing. Big fields featuring competitive contests have continued, so there is as much focus on Gulfstream as ever before.
With the Spring-Summer meet in full gear since April 2, I have studied the previous three weeks of action to track the current trends on both racing surfaces.
From the 65 main track events contested through April 19, a total of 18 winners led at every call (27 percent). The number is slightly below those that have been established since November, but the difference is minimal.
Horses that were victorious sprinting went 11-for-46 (24 percent), while winners traveling 1 mile or longer made good in 7 of the 19 contests (37 percent). These trends are mostly consistent with what can be expected at Gulfstream on a regular basis.
Early speed is always a dangerous weapon at the Hallandale Beach venue, especially so in route races as the statistics show. And I have long believed that stalking types who concede ground throughout in distance races are at a decided disadvantage. In general, one-paced horses are not preferred on the main surface at Gulfstream.
I have become a big fan of the grass racing at Gulfstream in recent years. Big fields, hefty pedigrees, and strong connections have been a fairly consistent theme on a weekly basis. And even more so of late with the lack of turf options across the nation.
There were 65 races on the green in April through Sunday, with 18 horses succeeding in wire-to-wire fashion (27 percent). The strongest recent trend comes in the form of turf sprints, where we witnessed 8-of-15 first-place finishers leading from the first call to the wire.
Speed is a great weapon on the lawn at Gulfstream, but it is not a precursor to winning. Pace pressers, stalkers, and one-run closers, have each had a measure of success on the sod in April. But never ignore potential pacesetters, especially in turf dashes.