Scully: Stakes spot plays for Gulfstream, Oaklawn Jan. 29

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January 29th, 2022

It’s a big day of horse racing! The sixth running of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) heads seven stakes at Gulfstream Park, and a Kentucky Derby qualifier, the $750,000 Southwest S. (G3), tops a trio of stakes events at Oaklawn Park.

Here are some horses of interest.

Martha Washington, Oaklawn, Race 4 (2:32 p.m. ET)

Fifth when making her stakes debut in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs, #6 Secret Oath returns to stakes competition following a sharp allowance triumph over the track that netted a field-best 95 Brisnet Speed rating. She shows a fast work in preparation for D. Wayne Lukas, and Secret Oath should be rolling in the stretch with Luis Contreras.

Inside Information (G2), Gulfstream, Race 8 (3:03 p.m. ET)

After dropping into the claiming ranks last year, #2 A G Indy turned things around during the summer/fall, earning her first stakes victory in the Senator Ken Maddy on the Breeders’ Cup Friday, and she will switch to main track today for new trainer Todd Pletcher. She’s bred for dirt, from the immediate female family of 2009 champion three-year-old Summer Bird, and appears to be training forwardly in preparation. The in-form mare doesn’t face the stiffest competition, and we like her chances on the front end.

Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), Gulfstream, Race 11 (4:49 p.m. ET)

After racing exclusively against three-year-olds last season, #12 Never Surprised steps up to face deeper competition and must overcome the far outside post in his first Grade 1 attempt, but his speed should play well here. The Constitution colt appears to be coming on for Pletcher, displaying a sharp turn of foot into the stretch when crushing foes in the Dec. 26 Tropical Park Derby, and he’s developed into a quality frontrunner. Wire-to-wire.

Southwest (G3), Oaklawn, Race 9 (5:22 p.m. ET)

Newgrange is the one to beat for Bob Baffert, but he’s eligible to take serious pressure from a difficult outside post. #5 Costa Terra will take advantage of the projected hot/contested pace. The Gun Runner colt gained valuable seasoning in his first two starts, winning his debut by a nose and just missing after a tough trip in his stakes debut, but he missed the break and was too far behind during the early stages of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), rallying for fifth in his most recent outing. That’s going to be a key race in our estimation, and Costa Terra should keep moving forward at age three for Steve Asmussen. Tabbing a minor upset.

Pegasus World Cup (G1), Gulfstream, Race 12 (5:34 p.m. ET)

#1 Knicks Go has held his form since a smashing win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), training superbly at Fair Grounds according to reports, and he’s saved plenty for the latter stages of important races, essentially re-breaking at the top of the stretch in his last three wins. He loves the 1 1/8-mile distance (4-for-4) and owns an enormous experience advantage over Life Is Good, who lost his only start when seriously tested. Knicks Go will need to take a step back to lose, and we don’t envision that scenario.