Hanson: Stakes Spot Plays for Jan. 30
There'll be a lot of potentially significant stakes to digest on Saturday from coast to coast. Unfortunately, more than a few have short fields, likely short-priced winners, or both. Here's several we'll be keeping an eye on for plays.
Swale (G3) -- Gulfstream Park Race 6 (2:10 p.m. ET)
Remember the days when we'd catch a glimpse of horses like Easy Goer, Housebuster, and Favorite Trick in this race? Now it's run earlier in the Gulfstream meet, so none of these will be mistaken for those relative giants.
Stakes-winning #5 Drain the Clock and debut winner #6 By George will take most of the money, but won't sleep on #1 LIKEABLE (3-1) for Todd Pletcher, who's in line to have a potentially huge day in the Gulfstream stakes action.
Rightly judged an outsider by Breeders' Cup bettors off his maiden win at Belmont, he really came undone pressing a ridiculously hot pace and finished farther up the track than perhaps he had a right to in the Juvenile (G1). This is a more sensible spot, and anything resembling the effort he put out in graduating places him in the mix against this field.
American Beauty S. -- Oaklawn Park Race 8 (5:40 p.m. ET)
She doesn't quite possess the back class of race heavyweights #6 Amy's Challenge, #7 Frank's Rockette, or #9 Lady's Island, but #5 WILDWOOD'S BEAUTY (6-1) might have just enough to swoop late with a winning move as the three aforementioned rivals, and perhaps others, figure to contribute in some way to a potentially blistering pace.
Although this distance might be a tad on the short side, the race flow could work to her advantage. Also like the speedy local works coming in, often a sign of success in the early weeks of the meet.
Holy Bull (G3) -- Gulfstream Park Race 11 (5:50 p.m. ET)
Having endorsed #6 PRIME FACTOR (3-1) in last week's second pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, it goes without saying we find this a winnable spot despite his relative inexperience. That said, #3 Papetu (15-1) appears a viable threat to fill out the exacta behind Prime Factor at a decent price off a much better performance in the Mucho Macho Man S. While his two efforts in New York last summer left a lot to be desired, his three runs over this track have been strong enough to give him a long look for all vertical exotic slots. Like the top pick, he should be fine stretching out around two turns.