Jerome Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post 3:50 PM Eastern Time
Old Time Revival ran as fast and as well breaking his maiden last month in a long sprint (7 furlongs) as heavy 3 to 5 favorite Firenze Fire did when posting the upset at 11 to 1 in the Champagne Stakes (a one-turn mile) in October. Firenze Fire then failed badly, beaten 20 lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. However, off the Champagne and the drop in class from the Breeders’ Cup, Firenze Fire opens at 3 to 5 while Old Time Revival opens at 10/1 and that disparity is one I plan to take advantage of as Firenze Fire, although he can win, is not that kind of standout.
With the track likely to be other than fast, Old Time Revival should really like it as a son of Brethren (Super Saver’s brother), who is by mud loving Distorted Humor, and with a very sharp best of 46 half-mile drill in preparation for this race and with improving to do in his second start following five months off (versus Firenze Fire coming back from two and one-half months off), Old Time Revival is the play.
Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets (who opens at 3 to 1) are the two horses to use on exacta and trifecta tickets, splitting the pair as there is no value in playing them together in an exacta box. Seven Trumpets has won two straight since a poor maiden effort last July, both with the same 93 Equibase Figure as Old Time Revival earned last month and as Firenze Fire earned in the Champagne, so he has every right to run well.
Bet Old Time Revival to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher. Add a place bet on either at 4 to 1 or more.
If the odds on Seven Trumpets 5 to 2 or higher near post time, I would certainly consider betting him to win as well.
Play exacta boxes consisting of Old Time Revival and Firenze Fire, Old Time Revival and Seven Trumpets.
We can also make some similar trifecta wagers, as follows:
Old Time Revival over Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets over Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets
Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets over Old Time Revival over Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets
Old Time Revival over Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets over ALL
Firenze Fire and Seven Trumpets over Old Time Revival over ALL
Marshua’s River Stakes – Race 9 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 4:00 Eastern Time
The reason I’m taking a stand against the favorite (Dream Dancing, who opens at 8 to 5) here is similar to why I took a stand against Firenze Fire in the Jerome. She’s being bet on the drop in class, from grade 1 to grade 3, but it’s really only based on a couple of her previous efforts among eight starts last year, neither of which are highly probable to be repeated here. Dream Dancing faces older for the first time and while she ran huge to win the Del Mar Oaks in August, it must be pointed out she failed four of five times prior to that in grade 3 stakes just like this one.
Instead, Ultra Brat and Gianna’s Dream share the bulk of the probability to win in my opinion. I’ll start with Ultra Brat, who opens at 6 to 1. The key to her posting the mild upset here is repeating her effort the ONLY time she ran in a turf route at Gulfstream previously, in the Tropical Park Oaks, on 12/31/16, at this trip. She posted the 36 to 1 upset that day then was off for 11 months. Her comeback was VERY good considering the time off, as she returned in a turf sprint stakes in New York in which she pressed the pace early, took over, led into the stretch, then was beaten JUST TWO NECKS for second at the end. She’s going to be a lot more fit today and looks to be placed perfectly by her top trainer Graham Motion. Gianna’s Dream missed by a neck last month in the nearly identical My Charmer Stakes, earning a career best 112 Equibase figure that wins if Ultra Brat can’t improve off her 105 comeback figure effort last month. Gianna’s Dream won a pair of stakes in Oklahoma on grass prior to that and excellent conditioner Mike Maker is her trainer. Gianna’s Dream has won half of her 18 career starts so could be very tough here.
Dream Dancing can and should be used on exacta tickets because there is a profit to be made if Ultra Brat goes to post anywhere near her 6/1 starting odds. King’s Ghost is the other horse I’ll use on exotic tickets, opening at 10/1, because she gets a HUGE jockey change to Saez, who is 3 for 4 for trainer Wolfson in the past year, all stakes tries aboard Curlin’s Approval. King’s Ghost is 6 for 13 on grass, including two wins over the course, and has a couple of races with figures that would make her very competitive if repeated.
Bet both Ultra Brat and Gianna’s Dream to win at 2 to 1 or more.
Play an exacta box consisting of Ultra Brat, Gianna’s Dream and King’s Ghost and another consisting of Ultra Brat, Dream Dancing and King’s Ghost.
Play a trifecta box using all four horses.
Fort Lauderdale Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 5:00 Eastern Time
This is another very playable race because of a vulnerable favorite, in this case Heart to Heart, who opens at even money. There’s no doubt he can win, that is if things go his way, which has happened 13 times before, for $1.5 million in earnings. But HIS WAY means leading from start to finish, and in this race with One Go All Go inside of him, as well as with Shining Copper and Shakhimat also wanting to be in front, or very close up, from the start, likely will mean a similar result to what happened last October, last June, last April and last January in THIS RACE, when Heart to Heart was beaten. Sure, Shakhimat might sit second or third, as might Shining Copper or Diamond Bachelor, but how far back can they be off a hot pace to have any kick, given they’ve never really been successful from any farther back than 2nd in the early stages.
Therefore, All Included is the horse to beat, opening at 9/2 odds, because last April he got the same sizzling pace he’s going to get today when winning the similar Appleton Stakes over the course. That was the 2nd year in a row he won the race, and although he disappointed one month later in New Jersey, after seven months off All Included got in a nice prep in the Tropical Turf Stakes last month, in which he moved up into a snail’s pace (half mile in :49) to get within a length in the stretch before running evenly. With Saez getting on, I’m confident All Included will be far back early and inhaling the field late.
Team Colors adds value to the race, opening at 15/1 He finished second in a trio of stakes, two on the turf, in last 2015 and early 2016 but hasn’t won in two years. However, the pace sets up for him and he gets Rosario. Last seen rallying from last of 12 to be beaten just a head, nose and neck for second in the River City Stakes in November, this veteran can outrun his double digit odds.
Shining Copper has a shot if Jose Ortiz rides him similarly to the only time aboard previously, in the Lure Stakes in the summer of 2016 when he came on from second to win. Shining Copper won the River City last fall and if he can relax early and not get sucked into going too fast while still close up to the early leaders, there’s a chance he can get first run on them and hold off the closers.
Bet All Included to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
Bet Team Colors to win at odds of 5 to 1 and add a place bet at 8 to 1 or more
Play an exacta consisting of Shining Copper, All Included and Team Colors over Shining Copper, All Included, Team Colors, One Go All Go, Heart to Heart, Diamond Bachelor and Shakhimat.
La Canada – Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post time 7 PM Eastern Time (4 PM Pacific)
Powerful Northern California based trainer John Martin RARELY ships into Southern California, so he must be VERY high on the chances of Mended in this year’s La Canada Stakes. I see why, as this former claimer has a tremendous winning spirit, with a 13 for 26 overall record including 10 straight wins, ALL since Martin claimed her for a measly 12,500 last February. She comes off a win in the Claiming Grown Glass Slipper at Gulfstream Park in Florida and two before that won at Turfway Park in Kentucky so shipping is no big deal, and as she has been in those 10 wins, Ricardo Gonzalez rides. She likes to lead early and so even Prat on Shenandoah Queen will be forced to take back otherwise compromise his mare’s chances, and from the 3 post Gonzalez can put Mended on an easy lead from where she can run them off their feet from start to finish to post the upset.
Sandy’s Surprise just won the Zia Park Oaks in November, against her own age group, but beat older two before that at Los Alamitos. Her last two efforts on dirt earned her 106 Equibase figures which stack up just behind the 108, 110 and 111 best recent figures Mended has earned, so she would be no surprise if she can lay close up to the likely easy frontrunner in the early stages. Majestic Heat won the Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes last month at Los Alamitos against a good group with a freaky 118 figure, but since her last 3 wins before that, all in Cal-Bred stakes, were 102, 103 and 104, those are the range I think she can run, which puts her a little behind the other two win contenders. Still, Smith rides and she’s 2 for 2 on dirt so we won’t discount her chances to succeed.
Bet Mended to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.
Bet Sandy’s Surprise to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.
Play exactas as: Mended, Sandy’s Surprise and Majestic Heat over ALL
Play exactas as: Mended, Sandy’s Surprise and Majestic Heat over ALL