Mucciolo’s Sunshine Millions picks

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January 20th, 2018

A quartet of stakes races for Florida-bred runners will highlight the Saturday card at Gulfstream Park and I will tab a few horses in the black-type events.

Classic (Race 4):

Just six will vie in the $200,000 feature, but it is surely a competitive cast. I will take a shot with #3 FLEMISH CAP (10-1 m/l). Trained by David Braddy, the four-year-old lacks the class of many in this field but comes off a game tally over a nice allowance field and has endured much success on this main oval in the past. Gelded son of Graeme Hall has won three-of-four coming in and while this is a class hike, I like his progression and also find flaws with most of his major contenders.

#6 Richard the Great is a question mark at nine panels; #5 Mr. Jordan is 0-for-9 at Gulfstream; #4 Jay’s Way comes off a grueling race and might ‘bounce’ in this spot; #2 Catholic Cowboy is winless since April of 2016; #1 Crocodile Charlie has never run two turns.

I’ll take a price on a horse with very good form who might sit off the pace this time and rally into a heated duel. And Flemish Cap also gets money pilot Javier Castellano in the silks for the initial time.

Turf (Race 7):

Eight will go 1 1/16 miles on the lawn in this grassy test and #1 OUR WAY (3-1) is the choice. The James Bond pupil is the defending champ and I have long liked this talented son of Tizway. A stakes winner at 3 and 4, dark bay gelding makes a 2018 debut in this offering and gets a cool rail draw combined with red-hot pilot Jose Ortiz. Gelding has run some of his best races while fresh and the layoff is of no concern to me today.

Filly and Mare Turf (Race 10):

#2 BONITA (6-1) gets a slight nod in this tough field for conditioner Chad Stewart. Five-year-old by Bluegrass Cat has a big turn of foot, arguably the best in the field, and the race could well set-up for a horse coming from off the pace. Dark bay mare earned a pair of stakes tallies on this lawn in the summer and she comes in fresh for this affair for a solid layoff conditioner. Pilot Edgard Zayas will likely be saving ground along the rail to the top of the lane when he lets this lass do her best work.

Sprint (Race 11):

Hard to look past the Grade-1 quality #1 X Y JET (even-money) in the finale. He returned from a 13-month absence to win the Mr. Prospector S. (G3) here last month and the Jorge Navarro charge is simply better than this field on his best day, so we will try and nail a cold exacta.

#6 QUIJOTE (6-1) is of good value and might peak third time off the layoff under Luis Saez. Armando de la Cerda trainee comes off an even effort in the aforementioned Mr. Prospector but was less than two lengths shy of third in that heat and faces a more reasonable field today. Son of Pomeroy is a stakes hero on this main strip and he will be running on late -- passing those trying to run with the Jet early on. A bullet three-furlongs drill most recently adds to the appeal.