Player Quick Pick for 3/23/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

March 23rd, 2014

by D.S. Williamson

The beautiful weather at Gulfstream these past few weekends means that horseplayers should definitely take advantage of turf betting at Florida’s premier track.  That’s exactly what we’ll be doing with today’s two races.

Gulfstream Park 8 | 4:34 pm ET Optional Claiming (25) for 4&up going 1-1/16 mi. (T)

7 – Wonderful Breeze –  Trainer Michael De Paulo puts blinkers, a 16% winning move, onto this five-year-old sired by Giant’s Causeway.  He didn’t run that badly in a $62,500 optional claimer in his last.  So, he should be able to handle this group and his style suggests that he’ll be close throughout.  The jockey switch to Joel Rosario won’t hurt his chances at all.

8 – King David – This Mike Maker trainee has some serious back class since he won the Grade 1 Jamaican.  But that was back in 2012.  He hasn’t been training all that well for this and he does go into it off of a layoff.  Still, class on the grass is a classic horseplayer saying for a reason.  Plus, he’s won 7 out of 17 lifetime starts.  Tread carefully since he figures to be an underlay.

5 – Dancing Lounge – He’s won 3 out of 6 at this distance, gets blinkers, a 25% winning move albeit with a small sample, for trainer John Servis and had 3 wins and 1 second place finish before the 17 lengths loss in his last race.  That race was at 1 ½ miles, which probably isn’t something Servis will ever have him do again.

Gulfstream Park 11 | 6:07 pm ET Claiming (16) for 3&up F&M going 1-1/16 mi. (T)

3 – Hard Knocking Lady – 12/1 –She actually ran very well two starts back at the $35,000 claiming level at 1 mile over the turf when losing by 4 lengths.  She got drubbed in her last race but that was at 6 ½ furlongs over the dirt.  Trainer Howard Tesher has 4 wins and a second place finish out of 16 entrants this year.  I can envision jockey Luca Panici keeping her close to the likely chalk Legenda Aurea or stretch out sprinter Happy Voyage until the middle of the stretch before trying to blow by those two.

4 – Legenda Aurea – Team Valor International thought well enough of her to bring her state side from Germany where she won a Grade 3 last April.  Things haven’t panned out and now she finds herself in the barn of Aubrey Maragh who puts terrific jockey Paco Lopez on her back.  She could steal this one on the front end or Paco could try and rate her.  In any case, she figures to be too chalky to put on top, but using her as the key in any trifectas or superfectas makes a lot of sense.

5-Happpy Voyage – Trainer Nicolas Gonzalez is having a terrific Gulfstream Park meet and this Malibu Moon four-year-old filly goes into this off of nothing but sprints where she ran decently enough to warrant serious consideration for the win slot in today’s event.  The jockey switch from Paco Lopez to Gabriel Saez won’t necessarily help, but it shouldn’t hurt either.  She’s got a big shot to win this.