Scouting a couple of Gulfstream plays on Sunday

Profile Picture: James Scully

May 2nd, 2020

Fast and firm conditions are expected for Sunday’s 12-race card at Gulfstream Park, and I am interested in playing a couple of horses in turf races.

In race 5, #12 Poppy’s Destiny will make his second start back from a lengthy layoff and first turf appearance in a 5-furlong, $12,500 claimer for non-winners of two lifetime. The 4-year-old colt was stakes-placed against New York-bred rivals in 2018, but made only three starts before heading to the sidelines for 18 months. He returned in a $16,000 conditioned claimer at 6-furlongs on the main track on April 18, showing good speed pressing a solid pace over a “good” track before weakening to fifth.

Steve Dwoskin has taken over training Poppy’s Destiny this year. An overall 7% trainer, Dwoskin does well with horses making their first turf start (15% from 20-race sample) and switching from dirt-to-turf (14% from 58-race sample). Poppy’s Destiny’s sire, 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, possessed a terrific turf pedigree, and the dark bay is closely related to a number of turf performers.

Listed at 6-1 on the morning line, Poppy’s Destiny has the tactical foot to be forward from the start and is well-drawn for a stalk-and-pounce trip from an outside post.

In race 10, a field of 10 older horses are set for the one-mile turf affair, a $20,000 non-winners of three lifetime claiming event. #3 Devoted Kitten was claimed for $16,000 from a win in in mid-January. After faring poorly against better company, he recorded a neck second and a fast-closing third at this level.

Those performance stamp Devoted Kitten as a major win player, and his odds (9-2 morning line) should not be too low due to the presence of Outshine, who drops into the claiming ranks for Todd Pletcher over a trio of unplaced efforts. The probable favorite has lacked a finishing kick after dropping back early, and Outlook is the type I like to play against at short odds.

Regular rider Hector Berrios is underrated on turf, winning at a 21% rate from 62 starts this year, and Devoted Kitten is eligible to establish perfect positioning just behind the early leaders before offering his best.