Gulfstream Park pick for Dec. 23
Gulfstream Park offers a 10-race card on Wednesday, and I like a horse making the second start off the claim for Mike Maker later in the program.
Mike Maker has a reputation for moving horses up off the claim, and his 17% win rate in the first start off the claim since 2014 is respectable. However, players should pay attention to horses making their second start for the new barn – Maker succeeds at 27% clip under those circumstances.
#5 Mozo Bello has been popular at the claim box, haltered three times from his last six starts, and Maker ran his new pupil on dirt after claiming him for $25,000 in mid-October. Throw out the 4-year-old gelding’s last three appearances on the main track – Mozo Bello is better on turf. Three of his six career wins have come Gulfstream’s course, and Mozo Bello picks up the services of the hot-riding Tyler Gaffalione.
#6 Shamrocket, a 3-year-old maiden winner switching barns following a non-threatening third in the Sept. 10 Dueling Grounds Derby, is a vulnerable 9-5 morning favorite in my estimation. Most of his challengers are seasoned veterans racing for a tag, but Shamrocket steps up to face elders for entry-level allowance conditions after three consecutive losses against sophomore rivals.
The colt still has possible upside for Todd Pletcher, but Shamrocket’s lone win came at 1 1/4 miles. Thursday’s one-mile trip looks like a starting point, and I’ll use him underneath only.
Mozo Bello, who is listed at 10-1, is my top choice. Along with straight wagers, I will recommend a couple of trifectas, including a saver ticket keying him in the second spot beneath #7 Kroy and #8 Freedom Matters.
$10 Win & Place:5 ($20)
$.50 trifecta key: 5 over 4,6,7,8.9 ($10)
$.50 trifecta part-wheel: 8,9 over 5 over 4,6,7,8,9 ($5)