Spot Plays for Holy Bull Day at Gulfstream Park

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

February 2nd, 2018

The Pegasus World Cup may be in the rearview mirror, but Gulfstream Park has yet another strong card on tap for Saturday afternoon headlined by the Grade 2 Holy Bull.

With five graded stakes events scattered over the 12-race slate, there are plenty of options for those that prefer gambling on the highest quality of thoroughbreds. However, my favorite wagers on the card outside of the Holy Bull come in non-stakes events during the second half of the day.

Here are a few horses I will build my afternoon of wagering around in Hallandale, Florida:


Race 7

#3 March to the Arch debuts on Saturday for trainer Mark Casse and the Live Oak Plantation.

The three-year-old gelding is bred on both sides to love the grass being by Arch and out of a Black Sam Bellamy mare that won 7 of 17 over the sod.

The Florida bred has trained steadily over the past two months at Palm Meadows and attracts the services of veteran rider John Velazquez. This is noteworthy not only because Casse and Johnny V. have connected on 2 of 6 at Gulfstream Park dating back to the start of 2017, but also because Velazquez opts to ride this gelding instead Todd Pletcher conditioned #9 Apatow, a colt he was aboard in his debut in late December.

Casse is not elite by any stretch with his stock making their first start going long on the turf, but he is capable with the right horse in the right spot.

I like March to the Arch’s chances of running big on first asking in a field void of any real superstars. Anything near the 8-1 morning line is appealing.


Race 9

#3 Convival makes his first start of 2018 for trainer Alan Goldberg.

This Colts Neck Stables gelding showed a massive turn of foot in his debut at Monmouth Park back on July 1st when he came from dead last early to win by two and a quarter lengths in the end.

The son of English Channel failed to get back to that effort first time out in his two tries against winners in 2017, but has been gelded since his last start and comes into his first race as a four-year-old off of four steady works at Palm Meadows.

With several horses that like to be on or near the lead entered in this optional claimer at one mile over the Gulfstream Park lawn, the race very well could set up for a runner from off the pace. If jockey Edgard Zayas can save ground early and avoid traffic issues when uncoiling his late run, this long shot is capable of getting the best of this group in the final furlong and springing a major upset.


Race 12: The Holy Bull, Grade 2

The $350,000 event conducted at a mile and a sixteenth over the main track drew a solid field of 11 hoping this is the start of a memorable run towards a spot in the starting gates on the first Saturday in May.

I respect the chances of 3-1-morning line favorite #1 Enticed, as well as second choice #7 Tiz Mischief off of their 1-2 finish in the Grade Kentucky Jockey Club back in late November at Churchill Downs. However, I cannot endorse them at relatively short prices in this wide-open rendition of the Holy Bull. Instead I will take a shot with #4 Audible for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The New York bred has rattled off two straight against lesser at Aqueduct and appears to have a running style that could work well in this spot. The $500,000 FTF March 2017 purchase tries two turns for the initial time on Saturday and should be able to find a spot a few lengths off the early pacesetters.

The Pletcher barn is going extremely well at the championship meeting thus far and he brings this son of Into Mischief into his first stakes try off of three solid drills at Palm Beach Downs. I will take my chances that he will continue to progress as he races outside of his home state for the initial time.

It is a loaded card on Saturday at Gulfstream Park for horseplayers of all kinds.


Best of luck at the windows!