Mr. Jordan Could Be Vulnerable in Sunshine Millions Classic

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 20th, 2018

Small fields aren’t usually where handicappers look to find good betting opportunities, but the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic on Saturday at Gulfstream Park could be an exception.

The clear 6-5 favorite on the morning line is #5 Mr. Jordan, an eight-time winner that has fired off some very big efforts during his career, including an 11 ½-length romp in the Millions Classic Preview Stakes two starts back. With multiple triple-digit BRIS speed figures on his record, the speedy Mr. Jordan looms as the horse to beat.

However, there are several reasons to think that Mr. Jordan might be vulnerable. First off, he has been a bit inconsistent throughout his career and has had trouble stringing top efforts together. Since his Millions Classic Preview win was followed by a game runner-up effort in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (gr. III) last month at Gulfstream, I think Mr. Jordan could be poised to regress off these back-to-back strong performances.

Secondly, while Mr. Jordan has run well at Gulfstream on several occasions, he’s 0-for-9 there overall and seems to have a strong preference for Gulfstream Park West, where he is 4-for-4. Throw in the fact that he’s facing several other quality speed horses—including the stretch-out sprinter #1 Crocodile Charlie and the recent gate-to-wire Gulfstream allowance winner #4 Jay’s Way—and I think a convincing case can be made against Mr. Jordan.

Instead, I’m going to take a shot with #6 Richard the Great. Trained by Stanley Gold, the son of Distorted Hymor was campaigned as a sprinter through most of his career, but has shown new life since stretching out in distance in late 2017. Two starts back, Richard the Great ran second behind Mr. Jordan in the Millions Classic Preview Stakes, then took a big step forward and finished just a neck behind Mr. Jordan when third in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes.

Since Richard the Great prefers to do his best running from a few lengths off the pace, he should be poised to work out a perfect trip settling behind the pacesetters and rallying in the homestretch. The nine-furlong distance of the Sunshine Millions Classic might also work in his favor, since he’s untested at the distance and might enjoy it, whereas Mr. Jordan seems to have found his niche at a mile to a mile and a sixteenth.

At his 5-2 morning line odds or higher, I think Richard the Great is a viable win play and a horse to use (and perhaps even single) in multi-race wagers. I’ll also key him on top of an exacta with Mr. Jordan and Jay’s Way underneath:

$10 to win on #1 Richard the Great at 5-2 or higher $5 exacta: 1 with 4,5 ($10)

Good luck!