In going over the graded stakes races across the country this weekend, it’s hard to find a more likely winner than the promising colt that will start as the favorite in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
That horse would be #6 Untamed Domain, and on paper he should not lose this race. Trained by Graham Motion, the son of Animal Kingdom enjoyed a very productive two-year-old season, repeatedly unleashing big late rallies to win or hit the board in major stakes races. His biggest triumph came in the one-mile Summer Stakes (gr. II) at Woodbine, but arguably his best performance came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I), where he finished powerfully from off the pace to finish second, beaten just a length against a talented field of international challengers.
Untamed Domain will be returning from a layoff, but he’s trained well at Palm Meadows in preparation for this race and holds a notable edge in terms of speed figures and BRIS Prime Power points. Untamed Domain’s connections expect big things from him in 2018 and are even pondering a possible run in the Kentucky Derby, so the Dania Beach seems like a perfect spot—conservative, yet a good test—to start his campaign. He’ll be a short price, but he’s hard to look past and looms as a horse to key in the exotic wagers.
Other logical contenders include #7 Gidu and #9 Channel Cat, both hailing from the barn of Gulfstream’s perennial leading trainer, Todd Pletcher. Gidu is a bit of a wildcard, having never run farther than 5 ½ furlongs, but he brings serious front-running speed to the equation and has the pedigree to stretch out in distance. He’ll be the main danger on the front end, while Channel Cat—a late-runner that has earned 100 BRIS Late Pace figures in two of his last three starts—could be an interesting candidate to hit the board despite the fact that he’s been beaten in all four of his starts to date. By English Channel out of a mare by Kitten’s Joy, he’s bred top and bottom to be a star on turf.
I’ll keep things simple here and key Untamed Domain in the exacta with Gidu, Channel Cat, and also #10 Machtree, a son of Kitten’s Joy that steps up in class following a pace-tracking victory in a 7 ½-furlong allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream on December 23rd. I’ll also add a small trifecta with Untamed Domain on top:
$5 exacta: 6 with 7,9,10 ($15)
$3 exacta: 7,9,10 with 6 ($9)
$1 trifecta: 6 with 7,9,10 with 7,9,10 ($6)