Graded stakes plays for Gulfstream Park

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Jen Caldwell

December 15th, 2018

A big day of stakes action will be held at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Five graded events in total will be held, and I have some opinions on each of them.

Harlan’s Holiday (G3)

AUDIBLE (#1) (2-5) is obvious for Todd Pletcher in the 1 1/16-mile test. Kentucky Derby (G1) third is a Grade-1 winner on the oval and was ultra-sharp in victory in the Cherokee Run Stakes at Churchill Downs in his comeback. Into Mischief colt is training swiftly, too. He will be formidable beneath Castellano.

Rampart (G3)

Seven will go postward in the one-mile dirt event for fillies and mares. I will step outside of the box a bit with TAPA TAPA TAPA (#3) (5-1) as the selection. Trained by Timothy Hamm, Tapit filly is not overly consistent but she can run very big on occasion. Gray four-year-old has early foot and her best two wins have come off lengthy layoffs similar to this one. Kentucky-bred also shows four straight bullet drills in advance of today.

My Charmer (G3)

An overflow field of 16 is entered for the demanding handicapping assignment. A very good cast of fillies and mares will travel one-mile on the lawn in the affair. And I could go with a number of runners but have settled on Pletcher’s CHERRY LODGE (#7) (12-1) to light up the tote board. Bay daughter of Bernardini has flashed big ability in spots and her lone local run resulted in a fine third-place finish in January. Well-bred miss led throughout in a turf sprint at Keeneland off a nine-month break most recently and she shows five morning drills in the interim. I think she is poised for a big run at a nice price under Jose Ortiz.

Sugar Swirl (G3)

Six-furlong sprint attracts a nice cast, though it lacks true early speed among the octet. I am going to take a shot with BRONX BEAUTY (#3) (7-2) to wire the field. Anthony Margotta trainee is quick with a good draw inside of her main pace rival. Pennsylvania-bred sophomore is a three-time stakes heroine who ran a very good one in the Raven Run Stakes (G2). Gray was parked in the 13 post and broke worst of all, but she still had a shot inside the final furlong. Gray comes in fresh with four morning drills and Luis Saez in the controls.

Fort Lauderdale (G2)

Multiple Grade-1 winners are among the overflow field in the grassy feature. ALMANAAR (#7) (10-1) missed by a head in the race in 2017 and I think he may go one better today. Chad Brown pupil was victorious in the Gulfstream Park H. (G1) in the winter and returns to his favored lawn. Dubawi gelding gets a pass for his last two races – both on ‘good’ turf surfaces at a distance shorter than his ideal one against fine foes. Gelding lands in an interesting spot with many in the field likely using the race as a prep for bigger and longer events in 2019. Joel Rosairo rides. Good luck!