Shapiro's Late Pick 4 at Gulfstream on May 9

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May 8th, 2020

Gulfstream Park takes center stage this Saturday afternoon with a 12-race card that includes the return of 2019 Preakness (G1) winner War of Will. The Mark Casse trainee takes on older turf runners for the initial time in the first leg of a challenging Late Pick 4 sequence.

Race 9: Sunshine Forever S.

The featured $75,000 Sunshine Forever S. is wide-open. I respect the top choices on the morning line, but can also make solid cases for a number of the price horses as well.

#11 Admission Office is the 5-2-morning line favorite and is obviously capable of running this field down in the lane.  The son of Point of Entry has hit the board in 3 of his last 4, including a too good to lose second to Zulu Alpha in the Mac Diarmida (G2) on Feb. 29. If they go quick early, the 5-year-old will be tough to deny. However, he is hard to endorse with confidence at a short price since he has not won in over 13 months.

A pair of Todd Pletcher trainees are also amongst the likeliest winners. #6 Halladay put forth a career best 102 Brisnet Speed rating in his gate-to-wire victory last month. If he gets loose on the lead and avoids taking a step backwards in his second start of the form cycle, he will be tough to catch. #9 Social Paranoia tried new tactics last time and it paid off with a last to first victory in the Appleton (G3). The Street Boss colt will have to take a step forward to outkick Admission Office in the lane, but that is definitely within the range of outcomes in the second start of his 4-year-old campaign.

When last seen, #4 Aquaphobia ran a solid fourth at big odds in the Muniz Memorial Classic (G2). The presence of Irad Ortiz and a favorable draw make him a must use. The same can be said for #3 El Tormenta. The Sam-Son Farm gelding drops out of graded stakes company for the first time since last summer. The Ontario-bred’s best efforts put him in the mix. #5 Cullum Road makes his first start since last fall. The son of Quality Road may need the race, but he was able to win in his initial try off the layoff in 2019. He is too big of a price to not include if spreading deep.

The aforementioned #12 War of Will is listed at 10-1 on the morning line, but I expect him to take money based on his 3-year-old form and name recognition. He is a fade for me though from a tough outside draw against this solid group of turf veterans.

Race 10:

I am all in on #11 Shootin the Breeze. The Hard Spun gelding is winless in 10 tries over the grass, but those were against much stronger groups than he encounters on Saturday. The pace should be honest in this mile event over the lawn given the presence of #4 Extra Extra, #6 Battle of Blenheim, and #8 Gray’s Fable, which should set things up for this Graham Motion trainee’s late run. Look for a career best performance after shaking off the rust in late March.

Race 11:

3-1-morning line favorite #4 I’ll Fight Dempsey and #3 Tap It to Win are probably the most talented horses in this highly competitive Florida-bred affair, but the lightly raced 3-year-olds take on older runners for the initial time on Saturday afternoon. Their lack of experience and likely trips make them worth fading in favor of more experienced rivals, including my lukewarm top choice #5 R Mercedes Boy. The son of Overdriven made an early move into a fast pace in his first start off the bench last month. If the 3-time winner can avoid getting caught up in an early tussle, he has a big shot to find the wire first.

Race 12:

A low-level optional claimer at 8 panels closes things out. #6 The Queens Jules gets back to the main track after dueling early and fading late last month. The rider upgrade to Irad Ortiz is obviously worth noting. #10 Starship Apollo draws favorably on the stretch-out to a mile. The 14-time winner should get a perfect stalking trip under Luis Saez. #1 The Robert lacks early speed, but if the pace is contentious he should be rolling late.

Suggested Wager: (50-cent wager)

  • 3,4,5,6,9,11 with 11 with 5,6,8,10 with 1,6,10 = $36