Navarro single starts interesting Pick 4

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 25th, 2018

Many of the racing eyes will be on Gulfstream Park this weekend as Saturday features the second running of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup (G1). And on Sunday, the potential of a gigantic Rainbow-6 carryover looms with a mandatory payout.

In the interim, I will try to pad the bankroll by taking a shot at the early Pick-4 on Thursday.

Race 2

#3 TOMATER GATOR (2-1 m/l) is the one I will kick-off this sequence with for conditioner Jorge Navarro. Dark bay son of Two Step Salsa led to the turn for home through swift splits making his first start for this barn off a layoff and looks like a probable wire-to-wire victor in Leg 1.

Four-year-old gelding was heavily backed while in with tougher last time out and I can’t envision Tomater Gator facing the same kind of pace pressure today with a good break from the gate. Florida-bred drops in class and should have more fitness with one under his belt. And he’s eligible to benefit from a race over the track.

Esmael Jaramillo comes back to pilot the top pick once again.

Race 3

Things get a bit trickier going forward and I will need a few for the second leg, a $12,500 maiden claiming event on the dirt.

#2 MINISTRATOR (15-1) has to be given a look second time out with a class drop and surface change. David Fawkes pupil could be a great value inclusion with expected improvement. #3 FULLBACK FOYE (6-1) runs third off the break for Nick Zito and earned a lifetime-best 83 BRIS Speed figure last time out. #4 X Y RUNNER (2-1) and #5 FRANK THE BUTCHER (7-5) are obvious inclusions, and I will also tab second-time starter #8 RUN FOR THE CUP (9-2) for big improvement for Dale Romans.

Race 4

This optional claiming race is very competitive and a tough read in my opinion (I nearly punched the 'all' button), with a six-pack of sophomores going one mile on the main oval. I will use the four most logical candidates of the six – #1 KING BILI (5-2), #2 LNGTERMRELATIONSHIP (7-2), #4 MIAGO (3-1) and #5 STRONGER (2-1) – in moving on to the finale.

Race 5

In this turf maiden claiming contest, #2 CLOSE THE DEAL (2-1) looks to me like the sure one to beat for Fawkes. Filly has a good draw, a nice turn of foot and comes off a solid and even showing on this lawn. Dark bay has placed in both of her local assignments and having the red-hot Irad Ortiz back in the stirrups is a big plus.

I will also include the other Fawkes pupil, #4 DUDACITY (8-1). Second-time starter by First Dude showed me enough at first go when third in a dirt sprint to be taken seriously today. Sophomore lass came home well in a swiftly run final quarter-mile in that dash and is bred to both handle the lawn and more distance. Tyler Gaffalione will be in the silks in a return engagement.


With a solid single and enough depth in the following legs to get a price or two, this sequence looks very playable and could return a nice mutuel with a bit of luck.

$1 Pick 4 (races 2-5): 3 with 2,3,4,5,8 with 1,2,4,5 with 2,4 = $40 (or $20 for 50-cents)