Will All Included Upset the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes?

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 11th, 2018

If there’s one thing you can count on in horse racing, it’s that stakes races on the Gulfstream Park turf course will usually offer large and competitive fields with plenty of options for value-seeking bettors.

The $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (gr. II) is certainly no exception. The field isn’t huge by some standards—just eight horses have been entered—but good luck narrowing down the list of contenders. There are plenty to consider!

Since the race is being held at 8.5 furlongs with the temporary rail set at 115 feet, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see speed horses perform well. The problem is, there’s a lot of speed in the Ft. Lauderdale--in fact, at least half the field has shown a tendency to race on or very close to the lead.

The “speed of the speed” might well be #3 Heart to Heart, winner of eleven stakes races during his lengthy, consistent career. Trained by Brian Lynch, the son of English Channel is 4-for-5 at Gulfstream Park and boasts an identical record over this distance. Although he won just two of his seven starts last year, 2017 was arguably Heart to Heart’s best season, as he placed in three Grade 1 races and ran triple-digit E1 and E2 BRIS pace figures in six of his starts, a testament to his ability to set a quick pace and sustain it to the finish.

But #2 One Go All Go, #4 Diamond Bachelor, #5 Shining Copper, and #8 Shakhimat are also very fast, particularly Shining Copper, which should ensure that the early pace is intense. That’s why I’m going to take a shot with the late-running #6 All Included. Trained by Todd Pletcher, All Included doesn’t win very often, but he can unleash a strong finish with the right setup, as he did when winning the one-mile Appleton Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream last winter.

All Included recently returned from a lengthy layoff in the Tropical Turf Stakes (gr. III) on December 16th at Gulfstream, in which he settled behind a slow pace, made a big move to reach contention in the homestretch, and understandably flattened out late as the winner, Shakhimat, ran the final quarter in a blazing :23 flat. A much different pace setup should be in play for the Ft. Lauderdale, and if All Included can take a step forward in his second start off the layoff, I think he can upset this field at a bit of a price.

Assuming he starts at a fair price (6-1 or higher), let’s bet All Included to win and key him in the exacta with Heart to Heart and Shakhimat:

$10 to win on #6 All Included $5 exacta: 6 with 3,8 ($10) $5 exacta: 3,8 with 6 ($10)

Good luck!