Shapiro's Early Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park
The new racing week in Hallandale Beach kicks off on Thursday afternoon and as always it offers horseplayers a pair of Pick 5s. The early sequence includes a 4 1/2-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies and commences with the opener.
There looks to be a lot of early zip signed on in the “lid lifter," which should set things up for a runner from off the pace. #1 Aerodynamic ran a career best 84 Brisnet Speed rating in her maiden breaking effort on Mar 11. She was claimed out of the race by Amador Sanchez. The 4-year-old daughter of Verrazano has been tough to relax in her two most recent tries, but if jockey Hector Berrios can find a comfortable pocket spot just off the early pacesetters, she has a big shot to make it two in a row.
#5 Strella’s War and #6 She Fled the Scene take a slight drop in class and have the right running style, but have shown an affinity to run second or third too often for me to fully trust. However, the probable race shape makes them tough to toss.
Normally, Wesley Ward would be dominating the 2-year-old events at Keeneland, but with April racing cancelled in Kentucky it is likely he will have his top juveniles in Florida this spring. Ward sends out #2 Lime in this special weight event and I have no desire to try to beat the likely heavy favorite. The daughter of Iqbaal is out of a Game Plan mare that won on debut and is a full-sister to Lifelong Dreamer who won by 5 3/4 lengths to start her career for Ward. Lime has a strong series of drills leading up to her initial try and will be extremely tough to beat.
This 5-furlong dash over the sod looks like a 3-horse race.
In his turf debut, #4 Weekend Dreamer took heat from start-to-finish, put away the 9-5-favorite, but was run down in the final strides. The son of Candy Ride will be tough to deny on Thursday afternoon if he makes a loose lead. If he gets pressured in the early stages, #7 More Than Upset and #9 Violent Fight are the ones that should benefit. They both drop in class and have done their best running late.
3-1-morning line favorite #7 Grey Manners and 7-2 second choice #9 Take Charge Again both drop in class and should be prominently placed in this low-level conditional claimer. However, I am willing to take a chance against both of them and lean on two runners that should offer better value in the sequence.
#3 Probably Grace has been popular at the claim box and was reclaimed out of her last try by trainer Larry Rivelli. The 3-year-old filly has struggled to get out of the gates throughout her career, but if she can find a mid-pack spot along the inside on the backstretch, she is good enough to out finish this bunch.
#10 Luxe Diamond battled along the inside and pulled away late in her maiden breaking effort on Mar.6. The Fort Larned filly now moves to the far outside, which should allow apprentice Cristian Torres to work out a perfect stalking trip on the slight turnback in distance.
The top two choices on the morning line in this two-turn event over the lawn also look vulnerable. #1 Our Fantasy and #5 Wicked Mercury both exit an event versus slightly better on Mar. 15 where they finished as part of 4-horse blanket finish for second behind gate-to-wire winner Sylvanella. They have shown the ability to run to the wire with their friends, but lack a will to win thus far in their career. I prefer others.
- 1,5,6 with 2 with 4,7,9 with 3,10 with 3,4,9,11 = $36