Betting Gulfstream's all-stakes Pick 4 on a tight budget

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 26th, 2021

Suppose you want to bet Saturday’s all-stakes Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park, which culminates with the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1). Now suppose you want to play the sequence on a tight budget, but still take aim at a big payoff.

Is this possible? Absolutely! The 50-cent wager kicks off in Race 11, and at first glance the favorites appear formidable, making it easier to construct a winning ticket on a small budget. But there are also some appealing longshots we can play without dramatically increasing the cost, providing us with an opportunity to chase a lucrative payday without breaking the bank.

Let’s take a look at each leg of the Pick 4, then assemble a ticket costing just $12.

Race 11: Cutler Bay S. (one mile on turf, 4:43 p.m. ET)

I’m a big fan of #6 Annex (5-2), who brings a 2-for-2 resume to the mix for hot trainer Bill Mott. A powerful deep closer, Annex produced a perfectly timed rally to win the Palm Beach S. over this course last month and will be tough to deny in the homestretch.

The only other runner we’ll use is #5 King of Dreams (9-2), a gate-to-wire maiden winner over the Gulfstream turf course in January. King of Dreams wasn’t disgraced when subsequently finishing fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on dirt, and may shake loose on an easy lead while returning to turf.

Race 12: Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2, 1 1/16 miles, 5:17 p.m. ET)

#3 Crazy Beautiful (5-2) has placed three times at the graded stakes level, including when finishing second in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream last month. But I question whether the daughter of Liam’s Map really wants to run this far—slightly shorter trips might be her true forte.

If the distance trips up Crazy Beautiful, #1 Con Lima (3-1) can steal the show. Conditioned by Gulfstream’s perennial leading trainer Todd Pletcher, Con Lima has an abundance of early speed and is a two-time stakes winner on turf. But she’s also stakes-placed on dirt and broke her maiden over the Gulfstream main track last summer, suggesting the surface switch won’t be an issue.

Race 13: Orchid (G3, 1 3/8 miles on turf, 5:55 p.m. ET)

Pletcher’s #9 Always Shopping (8-5) has won her last three starts over the Gulfstream turf course, most recently romping by three lengths in the 1 1/2-mile La Prevoyante (G3). The improving five-year-old has the tactical speed to work out a clean trip and will be tough to catch under hot jockey Irad Ortiz.

We’ll also use the intriguing longshot #1 War Like Goddess (10-1), who dominated a Churchill Downs allowance race over this distance last fall. A stoutly bred daughter of English Channel, War Like Goddess was compromised by a slow pace when rallying to finish fifth in the 1 3/16-mile The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream last month. If she gets a quicker pace to work with while stretching back out over 1 3/8 miles, War Like Goddess can factor at a big price.

Race 14: Florida Derby (G1, 1 1/8 miles, 6:40 p.m. ET)

The stretch-running #7 Greatest Honour (6-5) is an obvious favorite after rallying to eye-catching victories in the Holy Bull (G3) and Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream, but #5 Known Agenda (5-1) took a big step forward when adding blinkers in a Gulfstream allowance race last month, dominating by 11 lengths. Trainer Todd Pletcher has already won the Florida Derby five times, stamping Known Agenda as a serious threat to the favorite.

#8 Soup and Sandwich (20-1), unbeaten and unchallenged in two starts against easier company, is another runner worth including after finishing fast to win a Tampa Bay Downs allowance race by 2 3/4 lengths.

The Ticket

50-cent Pick 4: 5,6 with 1,3 with 1,9 with 5,7,8 ($12)

Good luck!