Key Races & Bets for Saturday April 2, 2022

Gulfstream Park Oaks – Race 12 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:17 PM Eastern 

I think either heavy morning line favorite Kathleen O (4 to 5) or Catiche (6 to 1) can win this year’s Gulfstream Park Oaks. I do not believe the 9 to 5 second choice Goddess of Fire can win, because when sent two turns for the first time in her most recent start (2/19) in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes, she not only couldn’t hold the lead she made after rallying at the top of the stretch, she regressed from a 94 Equibase Speed Figure in her 2022 debut one month earlier to an 83 figure. Three year olds just cannot go backwards at this time of year and particularly as her half-brother Mind Control ($1.4 million) NEVER even ran in a two-turn race of farther than a mile (one-turn) this distance is beyond her limit in terms of being able to win.

Catiche is the horse I’ll talk about first as she offers value for a win bet. It must be noted she’s also entered to run in the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park, but if trainer Thomas chooses this race that’s a big sign. Since adding blinkers for her third career start in January, also her first on dirt, Catiche has improved nicely from a 76 to an 82 to a 90 figure, last out dominating in ridden out fashion by six lengths. As a daughter of Arrogate, Catiche certainly can run this far, evidenced by filly Secret Oath dominating in the division to date and running against males in the Arkansas Derby today. She’s got a good post, has tactical speed, and although losing Saez to Goddess of Fire picks up Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Kathleen O tries two turns for the first time so is giving away experience to Catiche in that regard. Still, she improved from an 86 debut figure last fall at seven furlongs to 89 winning a one-turn mile stakes on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream, to a very strong 95 figure winning the one-turn Davona Dale Stakes last month. Obviously if both Kathleen O and Catiche move forward at the same rate, Kathleen O wins the race.

Handicapper Picks

Win bet:  Catiche at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

 

Exacta: Box Catiche and Kathleen O

Catiche over Goddess of Fire (no point boxing Kathleen O and Goddess of Fire)

(Optionally play an exacta box of Catiche & Goddess of Fire)

 

Doubles:

Race 12: Kathleen O, Catiche

Race 13: Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Order and Law, Gray’s Fable

 

Race 12: Kathleen O

Race 13: Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Order and Law, Gray’s Fable

Note: The reason for playing both, particularly the one singling Kathleen O, is the will be the prohibitive favorite so we want to have the ticket twice if she wins.

 

Pick 3s:

Race 12: Kathleen O, Catiche

Race 13: Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Order and Law, Gray’s Fable

Race 14: Classic Causeway, Simplification, Charge It, White Abbario, Steal Sunshine

 

Race 12: Kathleen O

Race 13: Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Order and Law, Gray’s Fable

Race 14: Classic Causeway, Simplification, Charge It, White Abbario, Steal Sunshine

Note: You can play additional tickets leaving out Steal Sunshine. I want him on at least one ticket as he opens at 30/1 whereas the other four contenders open at odds from 5 to 2 to 7 to 2.

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Kitten’s Joy Appleton Stakes – Race 13 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:55 PM Eastern

The pace scenario is very interesting here, and potentially problematic. On paper, Phantom Currency who loves to lead early, might go from the start especially coming back from 13 months off and with exceptionally fast works and Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding. HOWEVER, he’s a nine to 11 furlong horse and he has NEVER run faster than about a 47 second half mile and 1:12 six furlong split on the lead. I’m not sure if Lynch couldn’t find a prep, or a longer race for him, but this mile is TOO SHARP and he is highly unlikely to have the lead with at least THREE others in the field capable of going 23 and 46. Those are Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Gray’s Fable and Carpenters Call. All three can sit second maybe third, so are not necessarily NEED-THE-LEAD types and of the trio Wolfie’s Dynaghost and Gray’s Fable have races in their past which can win here if repeated, in addition to Noble Indy. The horse best able to close into the likely faster than average pace is Order and Law, and so he’s the key to profit in my opinion.

 

Order and Law has run four times in claiming races in the past year, and he was CLAIMED the last three times eligible to be claimed. Most recently, on 2/24 at this mile trip on the GP turf, Order and Law won easily by four lengths after rallying from about five lengths back early, earning a 108 Equibase figure which he had done last July at Del Mar. It was no fluke. He also won a stakes back on 2018 as a two year old, on turf, and he won back-to-back last year so this horse who has earned nearly $350,000 in his career has to be the top pick in this field because that last effort was the BEST of any horse this year on turf.

 

Wolfie’s Dynaghost won from just off the pace, twice in a row, in December and January, on turf and all-weather, before a completely IRRELEVANT race on dirt to be ignored. The 109 figure on 1/29 stacks up very well here and Jose Ortiz rides. Noble Indy won the 2018 Louisiana Derby and didn’t try turf until June of that year, but won the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Stakes in 2019 and has done just fine on turf since. He moved a bit early to lead mid-race in the Canadian Turf last out and could run better here likely at decent odds. Gray’s Fable won this race last year, off a six month layoff, and is attempting to duplicate that feat off a seven month plus layoff today. Junior Alvarado rode him then, not since, and gets back on. He led from start to finish that day and considering Wolfie’s Dynaghost and Carpenters Call aren’t absolute need-the-lead types, Gray’s Fable could find himself in the same position he was last year and win this race for the second year in a row.

Handicapper Picks

Win bet:  Order and Law at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

If any of these three are 7 to 2 or more near post time they can be considered for win bets as well: Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Gray’s Fable

 

The best way to bet more than one horse to win and to maximize our profit is to “Dutch” the bet, which means to prorate it based on the odds. Amwager.com has a free and easy to use Dutching Tool available where you can set the amount you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available to the bettor at Amwager.com

 

Exacta: Box Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Order and Law and Gray’s Fable

Note: You can consider a trifecta box on those four horses as well.

 

Optional Doubles (depending on whether we are live from pick three tickets played in the previous race):

Race 13: Noble Indy, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Order and Law, Gray’s Fable

Race 14: Classic Causeway, Simplification, Charge It, White Abbario, Steal Sunshine

 

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Florida Derby – Race 14 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 6:38 PM Eastern

Charge It made my personal Horses-to-Watch list, as I’m sure for others as well, with his dominant win over the track on February 12. Yes, it was just a maiden race, and it was just a one-turn mile but the colt drew off with ease to dominate like a horse with a VERY nice future. As a son of Tapit, whose sons have proven themselves in big three year old races, examples being Essential Quality, Hofburg and Tacitus, Charge It has a lot more improving to do and the distance is no issue whatsoever. He went from a 94 debut Equibase Speed Figure to 103, which in comparison to the 104 Classic Causeway earned winning the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby and the 102 figure White Abarrio earned winning the Holy Bull puts him squarely in the picture, even without improving on it. Considering Pletcher trains and with a splendid half-mile workout coming into the race, Charge It has to get top billing and may end up being a low odds overlay win bet, opening at 7 to 2.

There are no real knocks on Classic Causeway, White Abarrio, or even Simplification, although it must be noted Simplification’s last three efforts yielded 98, 95 and 93 figures which are not only NOT IMPROVING, they are 10 points shy of the other three contenders.

Steal Sunshine is the LONG SHOT play for exotics, and I am using him on double and pick 3 tickets so as not to be kicking myself if he wins at 30 to 1 or higher. He’s one of just two horses (the other Pappacap, eighth in the Risen Star) in the field to have run nine furlongs, having finished second in a highly rated allowance race on March 2. The 95 figure was decent, as was the 99 two before that at a mile, and as a son of Constitution (sire of Tiz the Law and others which won at nine furlongs in three year old stakes the past few years), he’s got the breeding to be in the picture.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: Charge It to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

I can see making a small win/place bet on Steal Sunshine as he will likely be 20 to 1 or more near post time.

 

Exacta: Classic Causeway, Simplification, Charge It and White Abarrio over Steal Sunshine.  

 

Trifecta: Classic Causeway, Simplification, Charge It and White Abarrio over Classic Causeway, Simplification, Charge It and White Abarrio over Steal Sunshine.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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