Pick 3 for Gulfstream March 4, including Mac Diarmida
Saturday's Fountain of Youth Day at Gulfstream Park will feature a 14-race card packed with nine stakes, including the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Davona Dale (G2), Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep races, respectively.
Below we provide spot plays and a Pick 3 for the aforementioned Kentucky Oaks prep along with two other races on the Fountain of Youth undercard: the Honey Fox (G3) for fillies and mares and the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida (G2) for four-year-olds and up.
Race 11: Honey Fox S. (G3), one mile on turf, four-year-old and up fillies and mares
Chad Brown runner #3 Speak of the Devil (7-5) will make her first start since finishing a distant fourth in the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont on June 11, after which she required surgery that put her on the disabled list. The French-bred six-year-old has raced just twice in the U.S., winning the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard before her disappointing outing as the odds-on favorite in the Just a Game.
Irad Ortiz Jr., who is 35-11-7-1 over the last seven days, will pick up the mount, giving Speak of the Devil an excellent shot in her return to racing and her first start at Gulfstream. Her biggest challenge should come from #4 White Frost (7-2), who triumphed last out at today's distance in an allowance optional claimer and has won at the Grade 3 level while racing a mile at Gulfstream in the Sweetest Chant. We'll take a stand against the morning line favorite and side with the Candy Ride mare, who has won or placed in five of six career starts.
We'll also add longshot #10 Fast as Flight (12-1), who moves up in class off a three-length win in an allowance optional claimer at today's distance. Trainer Brian Lynch is winning at a 20% clip at Gulfstream as well as Fast as Flight's new rider Jose Ortiz, a 40% winner paired with Lynch over the last two months.
Race 12: Davona Dale S. (G2), one mile, three-year-old fillies
#1 Atomically (8-1) was beaten as the favorite last out in the Forward Gal (G3), finishing 3 1/4 lengths in third behind Red Carpet Ready, who re-opposes here. While Red Carpet Ready has never raced beyond seven furlongs, Atomically has twice stretched out beyond a mile. She romped to a 6 3/4-length victory three back when running 1 1/16 miles in the Florida Sire My Dear Girl S. before being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher. In her next start, she jumped up to Grade 1 competition, finishing seventh to Wonder Wheel in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Atomically was off a bit slowly in her last start, the Forward Gal, but if she can get a good break from the rail post, she has a chance to rebound in her third try at a route. Pletcher is a 22% winner with horses going from short to long and a 24% winner with horses making their second start off a layoff. Atomically will also regain rider Edgar Perez, who went 2-for-3 with Atomically at Gulfstream last summer and fall.
We'll back Atomically here but also play #3 Red Carpet Ready (2-1), who is undefeated in three career races. The Oscar Performance filly has the pedigree to enjoy longer distances, so we'll back her in her first try at a route.
Red Carpet Ready (2-1) is looking GOOD!— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 4, 2023
She cruses to a win at the Forward Gal Stakes.
📺 @CNBC pic.twitter.com/SDp4JHNA3v
Race 13: Mac Diarmida S. (G2), 1 3/8 miles on turf, four-year-olds and up
#7 Astronaut (5-2) was a 15-1 upset winner of the Red Smith (G2) last out at today's distance, in which he set pedestrian fractions before edging away to beat #1 Highest Honors (3-1) by three lengths at Aqueduct. There isn't a ton of speed entered in Saturday's Mac Diarmida, so Astronaut could see a similar setup unfold, but the Quality Road six-year-old is vulnerable among this field of 12 and can be beaten by two horses who present value.
#2 Master Piece (5-1) was a head second when last racing at 1 3/8 miles in the Del Mar H. (G2) while under the guidance of Mike McCarthy. Since moving to the barn of Saffie Joseph, he was beaten just three lengths in seventh in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and can improve in his second start with the trainer as well as his second start off a layoff. He'll keep hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who has gone 10-3-0-1 in the last seven days and is 6-for-16 paired with Joseph over the last two months.
#10 Value Engineering (6-1) could also reach the winner's circle in his third start since transferring to the barn of Mike Maker. In two starts with the trainer, he won the 1 5/8-mile H. Allen Jerkens H., which was taken off the turf, and placed second by a length in the 1 1/2-mile William L. McKnight (G3) when he was overtaken at the eighth pole. The slight cutback in distance can benefit the Lemon Drop Kid seven-year-old.
$1 Pick 3 ticket: 4, 10 with 1, 3 with 2, 10 ($8)