Handicapping the Gulfstream Park All-Stakes Pick 4
With 43 horses spread across four races, the all-stakes Pick 4 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park is shaping up to be a great sequence with lots of options for handicappers to consider.One of the challenges of playing sequences like this is keeping ticket costs reasonable—with so many horses to consider playing, it’s easy to wind up spending more than is logical for the potential return on investment. So let’s start with a $30 budget and see where that takes us in Saturday’s Pick 4….
Race 8: Rampart Stakes (gr. III)In a race where several of the entrants seem ill-suited to either the distance or the surface, I’ll lean toward #1 Electric Forest. Trained by Chad Brown, this lightly-raced three-year-old daughter of Curlin has won two of her three starts to date, most notably cruising to a decisive victory in a seven-furlong allowance race at Aqueduct last month. She has the pedigree to stretch out over this one-turn mile and should sit a good trip just off the leaders. #2 Tweeting has shown significant improvement under the care of trainer Jorge Navarro, winning an allowance race at Monmouth by a dozen lengths before finishing second in a fast renewal of the Shine Again Stakes at Laurel Park. This daughter of Uncle Mo looms as Electric Forest’s main competition, and I’ll use both in the Pick 4.
Race 9: My Charmer Stakes (gr. III)#6 La Moneda knows how to win, having come out on top in four of her five turf starts this year, and that’s not insignificant given that many of her rivals in the My Charmer have shown an aversion to the winner’s circle as of late. Plus, La Moneda is a flat-out miler perfectly suited to the My Charmer distance, and she boasts a meaningful advantage in terms of BRIS speed figures and BRIS Prime Power. Toss in the services of top jockey John Velazquez, and what’s not to like?
I’ll also consider the Todd Pletcher-trained pair of #1 Bellavais (who recently returned from a long layoff to win a one-mile Belmont allowance race) and #7 Cherry Lodge (a speedy filly who likewise returned from a break to win an allowance sprint at Keeneland in October).
Race 10: Sugar Swirl Stakes (gr. III)I’m going to take a chance here and single #7 Dream Pauline. The daughter of Tapit has always shown a lot of potential, and I thought her third-place finish in the Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs last month was a lot better than it looked. Racing in a compact field, Dream Pauline found herself behind horses early on and had to steady in traffic a couple times while appearing very uncomfortable with her position. To her credit, she stayed on gamely once in the clear and rallied to finish third while chasing some fast finishing fractions. With a better setup on Saturday, I think she’ll win.
Race 11: Fort Lauderdale Stakes (gr. II)It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to hit the “all” button here, that’s how competitive this nine-furlong race figures to be. I’ll try to survive the finale by using “only” #3 Projected, #4 Qurbaan, #5 Hi Happy, #6 Blacktype, #7 Almanaar, and #9 Mr Havercamp, all of them Grade 1 or Grade 2 winners with strong form in this distance range.
Based on the $0.50 minimum wager, this entire ticket can be played for just $18, a very reasonable sum. But I’ll actually split this sequence up a little and spend more on the combinations involving La Moneda in the My Charmer Stakes:
$1.50 Pick 4: 1,2 with 6 with 7 with 3,4,5,6,7,9 ($18) $0.50 Pick 4: 1,2 with 1,7 with 7 with 3,4,5,6,7,9 ($12)