Gulfstream Park stakes plays for December 14

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

December 13th, 2019

A total of five stakes will highlight a superb card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Four of the five are graded and each one of the major events looks especially competitive to me. I have tabbed a contender in each who can fire their best shot.

Fort Lauderdale (G2):

The nine-furlong grass event boasts a very talented field of nine in a good betting opportunity. I’m not sure if #9 Marzo (10-1) will win from the widest post, but I do love his chances to run a big one at a price today. One of three from the Mike Maker barn in the field, the gelding has moved forward since adding blinkers earlier this season, and he gets a pass for his Red Smith (G3) showing when fading after being close to a wicked pace most recently. Four-year-old has the tactical speed to avoid getting a negative trip under Ricardo Santana.

Sugar Swirl (G3):

Six-furlong dash for fillies and mares attracted nine in what is a fantastic cast, as eight of the entrants have previously earned stakes glory. The pace of the affair is expected to be a rapid one, and I think #2 Bronx Beauty (9-2) could get the trip from just off the tempo. Anthony Margotta trainee was an even fourth in this race last year and is poised to improve off of that result. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount.

Rampart (G3):

A total of 11 fillies and mares are signed on for this one-mile endeavor on the dirt. #1 Unholy Alliance (15-1) is much better than she showed last time out off the long break, and she is worth a play at this number in a field lacking a standout. Gray filly by First Samurai goes a route of ground for the initial time, and she enters this race off of a swift bullet half-mile drill on the course. Tyler Gaffalione takes the reins atop the intriguing longshot.

Harlan’s Holiday (G3):

This race is another that will have another brisk and contested early tempo. #1 Prince Lucky (2-1) was sterling on the course last winter with daylight wins in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) and Hal’s Hope S. (G3). Todd Pletcher pupil was a solid fourth behind the extraordinary Maximum Security last time, and I can’t look past him in the Harlan’s Holiday with Johnnie V in the stirrups.

My Charmer:

A field of 10 fillies and mares will vie in the grassy affair. I really like Clement’s #7 Munchkin Money (9-2) on this occasion with Javier Castellano in the silks. Empire State-bred daughter of Freud has solid stakes form, and the mare is also two-for-two lifetime on the Gulfstream Park sod. I expect the bay to deliver a big performance off the short layoff.