Gulfstream Park stakes selections for Dec. 31

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

December 30th, 2021

A trio of competitive grassy stakes races will be contested at Gulfstream Park on Friday.

Race 1 – Janus S.

The opener is a five-furlong dash on the green with a strong field of eight signed on. In a race without much early zip in the fold, I believe that #8 Carotari (7-5) will benefit most of all for conditioner Brian Lynch.

By Artie Schiller, the five-year-old dons a 4-3-1-0 mark on the course, and he bagged the Silks Run S. in his latest local appearance. The bay will be forcing the action from the break under top gun Luis Saez.

#1 Smokin’ Jay (8-1) has a lot of exotics appeal at a good price. The Kelsey Danner charge has been solid with fellow sophomores this campaign, and I think that he will be ready to tackle his elders from off the pace.

Race 5 – Via Borghese S.

A total of 10 fillies and mares will go postward in the 1 3/8-mile affair, where #4 Sorrel (5-1) looks like the value play in the field for me.

The Christophe Clement trainee was closing fast when third in the Orchid S. (G3) on the course in March, and I expect the Dansili filly to receive an honest pace from which to rally into on Friday. Paco Lopez will guide the Irish-bred, who I will use in the first and second slots in all of my wagers.

Race 8 – Abundantia S.

Eleven fillies and mares will vie in the five-furlong finale, and I will use a pair of longshots in my plays to close out the card.

#8 Ambassador Luna (15-1) was outrun at Del Mar most recently, but I really liked her runner-up performance at huge odds at Keeneland the start beforehand. The Ben Colebrook trainee owns a second from two tries on this lawn, and her post draw will allow her to track the tempo and get first run turning for home with Corey Lanerie up.

#6 Drapes (12-1) cuts back in distance following five route races on the green for sharp conditioner Tom Proctor. The American Pharoah four-year-old tired late in her stakes debut at Colonial Downs last time out but she comes in fresh and is worth a play at a square number. The bay will rally from off the pace beneath Edwin Gonzalez.