Player Quick Pick: Gulfstream for 5/24/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

May 24th, 2014

by D.S. Williamson

As we're all gearing up for Monday's monster mandatory payout on the Rainbow 6, let's head to South Florida early and see if we can't build a bankroll.

Saturday’s feature at Gulfstream Park is a $62,500 Allowance Optional Claimer, which goes off as Race 8. After the feature is a terrific, tough to handicap $25,000 claimer over the turf.

Gulfstream Park 8 | 5:02 pm ET Optional Claiming (62) for 3&up F&M going 6f

4 – Salamera – There should be enough early speed in this to flatter the closing kick of this four-year-old filly sired by Successful Appeal. Salamera goes into this off of a third place finish in a $75,000 stakes race. She’s finished third in all 3 of her lifetime races at this distance and has a 0-1-3 record out of 5 races over Gulfstream’s dirt but she just worked a brilliant three furlongs in :35.3 on May 14, the best at the distance that day. The work could be a sign that she’ll flash more speed then she usually does in this event.

2 – Magic Lilly – Horseplayers have every reason to believe that the jump from Optional Claiming $25k to this $62K race will be too much for Magic Lilly to handle, but she’s got an excellent record at the distance, 3-1-2 out of 9 races. She’s also been in the money in 7 out of 11 races at Gulfstream. The Manuel Azpura trainee should be in a great position as they turn for home about a length off of a likely speed duel between The Royal Boot and It’s Mariah. I’m willing to ignore the class hike at the expected overlaid odds.

3 – The Royal Boot – She’s easily got the best early foot of any horse in this race, but trainer Randi Persaud wins with 3% of his horses running for him first time off the claim. Also, jockey Allen Maragh is going to have to harness her speed without having her waste too much energy in the early stages of the event. That probably won’t be easy to do and It’s Mariah should run with her from the outset. Still, if she gets loose, then it’s going to take a big effort to run her down.

Gulfstream Park 9 | 5:33 pm ET Claiming (25) for 3&up going 1-1/16 mi. (T)

3 – Duke of Ritchie – Trainer Howard Mills doesn’t enter a lot of horses, 32 so far this year, but he might have this one going in the right direction. This one’s maiden score, which occurred in his last race, was very impressive. Duke of Ritchie laid only 2.5 lengths off of a wicked pace at the 2nd call in that race before going four-wide to overtake the front runners and get the victory. He’s shown two decent works since then and he’s not facing any world beaters in this. Bombs away?

11 – Valid Concepts – Trainer Milton Wolfson switching jockeys from Gabriel Saez to Edgar Zayas for this race makes sense since Wolfson and Zayas have a +$0.47 jockey and trainer ROI. Zayas is winning races at 20% at Gulfstream Park. If anybody can get a horse out of post-position 11 in a 1 1/16 mile race over the turf without losing too much ground around the first turn, it’s Zayas. Valid Concept has only 1 win out of 17 lifetime races, but the victory was two races back and the last, a debacle on paper until you realize that he faced much stiffer competition in that race than he does in this, was his first versus winners. He could improve enough to win on Saturday.

9 – Wilko’s Bullet – The Dennis Griffith trainee really didn’t run all that badly in his last, a $16K claimer over the turf. He finished fourth but only by 1.75 lengths and at the top of the stretch jockey Juan Delgado actually had him in front by a head. He could handle this group and is yet another in this race with a shot, meaning that horseplayers might need to spread in the exotics.