Player Quick Pick: Gulfstream for 1/24/2015

D.S. Williamson

January 24th, 2015

Saturday’s big race is the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The morning line favorite is Upstart, trained by Richard Violette, but since these are newly turned three-year-olds, anything can happen. Is Upstart a solid enough favorite to warrant a win wager?

Gulfstream Park 9 | 4:34 pm ET

G2 Holy Bull Stakes for 3yo going 1 1-16 mi.

4 – Bluegrass Singer – 4/1 – This impeccably bred son of Bluegrass Cat has been fantastic in his last 2 races, winning both on the front end, a maiden score and a victory in a $100K stakes race. Bluegrass Singer’s sire is Bluegrass Cat who was sired by the legendary Storm Cat. Bluegrass Singer’s dam, Aguilera, was sired by Unbridled’s Song. If anything, the Marcus Vitali trainee should appreciate the added distance. That’s actually a scary thought since Bluegrass Singer won that mile stakes race after recording a 44.4 half mile. Jockey Javier Castellano could have ridden more than a couple in here but he sticks with this guy. Gate-to-wire is the expectation.

2-Upstart – 2/1 – Although Upstart is the favorite on the morning line, the third place finisher in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is likely to go off second choice in the Holy Bull to Godolphin’s Frosted. Frosted finished second in the Remsen. So, he should be favored, but Upstart is likely to be much closer early than Frosted to Bluegrass Singer and that should give the Richard Violette trainee the jump over his likely rival in the betting. Upstart couldn’t keep up with Texas Red in the BC Juvenile although he tried. Finishing third in a BC race is a big deal and he comes back to the races with good enough works to make me think that he’s going to fire his best shot on Saturday.

2-Keen Ice – 6/1 – The pace figures to be quick no matter if anybody goes after Bluegrass Singer or not. If that happens, Keen Ice, the only true closer in the field, could make up enough ground to get into the trifecta. Dale Romans saddles the son of Curlin, which Donegal Racing bought at the 2013 Keenland September Sale. Keen Ice, unlike Roman’s most recognizable three-old star from past years, Shackleton, doesn’t like to run on the lead. In fact, Keen Ice regularly falls back by 10 lengths at the second call. But, he’s got a master turn of foot that led to a third place finish in the Remsen and Romans has been trying to put more speed into him with fast works in the mornings. One advantage that Keen Ice might have over his competition is that Edgard Zayas, who knows Gulfstream Park about as well as any jockey in the race, takes the call.