Saturday Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park
The $100,000 Hal’s Hope S. (G3) serves as Saturday’s feature at Gulfstream Park and a strong field of eight will go postward. It’s part of a challenging (aren’t they all) Pick 4 sequence.
A baker’s dozen of sophomores will go seven panels on the dirt to kick off the Pick 4. #1 KING ZACHARY, a $550,000 son of Curlin, was a solid third while five-wide in a debut at Churchill in the fall and gets the rail for his three-year-old debut.
First-time starter #7 RULER OF THE NILE brought a cool $1 million at OBS in the spring and is a must use for Todd Pletcher, who is consistently very good with this kind.
Other debuting types with a lot of upside include #8 CANDYGRAM, #9 PENALTY and #5 BAIL OUT.
I will go two-deep to kick-start the play.
Race 11 - updated - no longer adding detail
$16,000 claiming run on the turf at 7 ½ furlongs has a dozen in the fold and #7 TU EXAGERES seems most logical for Christophe Clement. Five-year-old has been close in two runs at the level recently and likely will benefit from the stretch-out.
#10 KING MAURO exits what I thought was a very good heat for the level last out and lands in a better spot today. Gustavo Delgado charge will be a nice price and could be the one with a well-timed ride from off the pace.
#6 UNCLE B is the wild card in the field. Recent claim has all the back class and he races as a gelding for the first time with the hood coming off. Irad Ortiz takes the mount, which is good enough for me.
Hal’s Hope came up strong with a very good mix of runners. #1 IRISH WAR CRY will take a lot of money for Motion in his four-year-old bow. Chestnut son of Curlin was a fine winner of both the Wood Memorial (G2) and Holy Bull (G2) last campaign, with a second in the Belmont S. (G1) on his resume, too. Irish War Cry is a puzzling one to me at times, but when he’s right, the colt can be very good.
#6 MALAGACY bagged the Rebel S. (G2) in 2017 and rates a big chance in a second run of his four-year-old season. Pletcher charge was a good prep second in a sprint here most recently and is an obvious win candidate.
Pletcher will also saddle #8 SEND IT IN off the 10-month absence. Gelding is 9-for-17 lifetime and has trained swiftly in advance of the initial run of his six-year-old year. I love that Send It In is thrown right in with graded runners off the pine, as a big show of confidence by his connections.
Another overflow field looms in the finale, with three-year-olds going one mile on the turf. There is no way for me to get out of the turf test without spreading to close out the wager.
#2 THE GREEM MO’STER didn’t improve in his second lifetime race, though his debut was solid and I like the move to the lawn for the first time. Romans trainee sizzled a bullet two back to signal his readiness and will run for a dynamic trainer/jockey combo at this meeting with Saez up.
#4 DETERMINANT got a race under his belt on the local lawn when showing no early foot before rallying some, and improvement is expected. Mark Casse trainee is out of a four-time Grade 3 heroine who thrived on the grass.
A quartet of first-time starters also piques my interest. #3 SNAP HOOK is kin to a trio of turf graduates, #5 GOLDEN CHALLENGE gets Johnnie V at first asking for the dangerous Ralph Nicks, #7 RHODE ISLAND is all turf and half to 2017 Tropical Oaks starlet Dream Awhile, while #9 VEGAS KITTEN runs for Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz and is a must use..
Pick 4 Wager
$.50-cent Pick 4:
1,7 with 6,7,10 with 1,6,8 with 2,3,4,5,7,9 = $54