Shapiro’s Early Pick 5 at Gulfstream March 18
I hope everyone out there is safe and holding up as well as possible. Let’s try to cash some tickets this week to help pass the time.
Racing continues at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on Wednesday afternoon and, as always, a Pick 5 sequence commences in Race 1. Here are my thoughts on the five races and a suggested wager.
The card starts with a $25,000 maiden claimer at 5-panels over the grass. #5 Royal Jewel and #7 Dinner At Five are understandable top choices on the morning line and are likely to be there at the wire. I will use them as well as second-time starter #1 Dream Adrianna, who attracts Tyler Gaffalione for his initial try on the lawn after a troubled start cost him all chance against better last month.
This maiden claimer over Gulfstream Park’s one-turn mile configuration is more wide-open than the morning line suggests. Therefore, I will try to beat the top two choices to create some separation.
#3 Jesus’ Team cuts back to one turn, drops in class, and moves from turf-to-dirt after a 6-week break for trainer Jose Garoffalo. He should get a great trip just off the early pace. #6 Uno Baby Bird ran off in his first try off the layoff for trainer Kathy Ritvo and tired late. With a race under his belt and an outside draw, he could take this group all the way on the engine. #1 Declare Union has had terrible outside draws in two starts going a route of ground on the lawn to start his career. With an inside draw, he has a significant chance of making a big forward move.
I will build my ticket around 9-5-morning line favorite #1 Projected. The 8-year-old gelding is past his prime, but he takes a much-needed drop in class in his third start for trainer Eddie Kenneally. With a limited amount of speed signed on and an inside draw, expect Gaffalione to either go to the front or sit just off #2 Donji in the early going. The son of Showcasing will not offer much value in this compact group, but he looks like the likeliest winner over the first half of the card.
9-5-morning line favorite #1 Gambit has had 16 chances to break his maiden, but has yet to do so. If he runs back to his Jan. 19 effort over this racetrack he will be tough to beat, but I do not trust the son of Blame at all to get to the wire first at a short price.
I will use a few in this 11-horse field, including my top choice #8 Luck of the Crook, who finally puts back-to-back races together for owner/trainer Steven Dwoskin. The son of Shackleford got off to a less-than-ideal start in his first effort off the long layoff on Feb. 27, but still ran on well to finish second. A move forward off that effort is expected.
The pace should be more than honest in this 5-furlong dash to close the early Pick 5 given the presence of #1 Earth, #2 Celebration, #4 Memorable Election, and #5 Tiger Blood. Of these early speed types, I give Celebration the best chance of getting to the wire first. However, I prefer the chances of #3 Oak Bluff and #6 What’s Inside. The 10-year-old Oak Bluffs has won 19 times and attracts John Velazquez. What’s Inside has won 2-of-4 over this turf course, including two straight. He should be able to withstand the class hike.
Tiger Blood has won 6-of-8 over this course and can be used defensiveiy, but with a chalky single I am willing to let him beat me despite some monster efforts at this trip.
- R1: 1+5+7
- R2: 1+3+6
- R3: 1
- R4: 4+5+8
- R5: 2+3+6
- Ticket Cost: $40.50