Limehouse Stakes – Race 7 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 3:11 PM Eastern

I really like stakes races for two year olds in the fall and by the same token, for three year olds in the winter and this is one of them. In this race we get an eight horse field full of horses which have shown only a need-the-lead style. Young horses rarely change their styles, or perhaps I should say many trainers don’t know how to get horses to change their styles, so in this case there could be up to FIVE horses wanting the lead. Of the remaining three, Runway Magic sticks out, and “IF” his post time odds are anywhere near his 7/2 morning line odds he would be a low odds overlay and a gift. Runway Magic just ran his best race ever, in his third career start, at seven furlongs. Cutting back to six furlongs gives him some extra energy late compared to others and as he made a big middle-move from sixth to second into the stretch before dominating after that, he’s really set up well to win today under Leparoux, who was up last time out.

Ocean Ride and Drain the Clock are the two other horses which aren’t need-the-lead types and can get a piece but don’t appear to be anywhere near as fast, or have the same improvement to show us, as Runway Magic. Just the same I’ll box them in the exacta with the top pick and use them a bit on double and pick three tickets played.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

Runway Magic to win at 3 to 2 or more

Exactas:

Box Runway Magic and Ocean Ride.

Box Runway Magic and Drain the Clock

Double:

Race 7 Runway Magic

Race 8Floriform, Crew Dragon and American Great

Double:

Race 7 Runway Magic, Ocean Ride, Drain the Clock

Race 8Floriform, Crew Dragon and American Great

Pick 3:

Race 7 Runway Magic

Race 8Floriform, Crew Dragon and American Great

Race 9 Honey Pants, Karakatsie and Con Lima

Pick 3:

Race 7 Runway Magic, Ocean Ride, Drain the Clock

Race 8Floriform, Crew Dragon and American Great

Race 9Honey Pants, Karakatsie and Con Lima

Note: Race 8 is a maiden race I included on double and pick three tickets above but otherwise have nothing to write about.

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Ginger Brew Stakes – Race 9 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:13 PM Eastern

This stakes for two year olds is at a mile on turf and so preference must be given to those which have run on the grass and particularly those which have run two-turns on turf. Honey Pants fits the first of the two criteria and there’s little doubt she’s bred to run this far. She was in an irrelevant dirt sprint first out and finished sixth but moved up considerably to win by four lengths second out in a turf sprint then finished second in a stakes at Aqueduct last time out, also a turf sprint. That effort earned her a field high and career best 95 Equibase figure and she’s on a pattern to run even better, particularly with 2020 North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. getting on for the first time, particularly for Clement, as they have a very strong 7 for 17 record at GP over the last year.

ALL that being said, Karakatsie opens at much higher odds (12/1) vs 3/1 for Honey Pants and is absolutely the better win bet of the pair (trio when all is said and done) of contenders to win this race. She won at a mile, on turf, at Gulfstream, in her one and only start. That earned an 89 figure. Honey Pants went from 86 to 95 in her second turf start and we can expect similar improvement from this filly, hence giving her a legitimate shot to post the upset.

Con Lima rounds out the trio of win contenders. She ran five times on dirt last summer and fall, NEVER worse than second in all five including two stakes. Those stakes were BOTH scheduled for turf. When she finally got to run on grass, last month, she dominated by five lengths. Even with Irad Ortiz, Jr. getting off, Paco Lopez getting on is just fine with me and with no other “Early” pace type in the race this filly is going to try to control the tempo from the start just as she did last month at this distance over the track, perhaps successfully.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

Karakatsie to win at 3 to 1 or more.

“IF” Honey Pants or Con Lima are 3 to 1 or more near post time the one at the highest odds of the pair can be bet to win as well.

If that becomes the case, This is the perfect race for using a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager, because it will allocate the win bets based on odds, putting more on the lower odds horse automatically. That is just one of many other great features and perks at Amwager.com

Exacta:

Box Karakatsie, Honey Pants and Con Lima

Double:

Race 9 –Honey Pants, Karakatsie and Con Lima

Race 10 – Easy Time, Mutasaabeq, PickinTime and Big Thorn

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Mucho Macho Man Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream – Post Time 4:45 PM Eastern

Pickin’ Time didn’t like the slop in the Remsen Stakes last month, or perhaps the two-turns, but the return to one turn over a likely fast track gives him every shot to return to the form shown just before that on 11/8/20 when he won the Nashua Stakes, a one-turn mile just like this one. He won a stakes prior to that and was second in another stakes before that, so he fits perfectly at the level. He’s got a stalking style and the 92 Equibase figure earned in the Nashua is as good as the 92 figure Mutasaabeq earned winning the Bourbon Stakes (on turf) so Pickin’ Time fits on all counts and is the one to beat in my opinion.

Big Thorn is a strong contender as well. Even though he beat a statebred restricted field when last seen he did so easily by four and one-half lengths under Lopez, who rides back and who also rode him to a five length maiden win prior to that. He won at seven furlongs last out so the one-turn mile is not an issue and his pattern of improving figures (72 to 81 to 89) suggests he can run as fast as Pickin’ Time.

There’s no way Easy Time is going to go to post anywhere near his 12/1 starting odds. On the other hand, he should be around 5 to 2 or 3 to 1 given his probability to win and we will likely get a nice overlay over those odds. He’s only run once, back in October, at seven furlongs and over the all-weather at Woodbine. He showed a lot of maturity that day stalking in fourth and drawing off late under wraps and the fact Jose Ortiz takes the call on this son of HOT sire Not This Time suggests he’s going to improve a lot since we last saw him three months ago.

On the double tickets started in race 9 I’m reluctantly using Mutasaabeq off his Bourbon Stakes win, but I think the 5/2 morning line is low and his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf effort was horrible at 5 to 1. He is bred to run well on dirt but didn’t when beaten 12 in the Hopeful Stakes (at seven furlongs) in September.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

Pickin’ Time at 5 to 2 or more

Big Thorn at 5 to 2 or more

Easy Time at 3 to 1 or more.

This is the perfect race for using a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager, because it will allocate the win bets based on odds, putting more on the lower odds horse automatically. That is just one of many other great features and perks at Amwager.com

Exacta:

Box Pickin’ Time, Big Thorn and Easy Time

California Cup Sprint Stakes – Race 9 at Santa Anita – Post Time 7 PM Eastern (4 Pacific)

Tigre Di Slugo has won three of four dirt sprints including his most recent start on November 27 which was a stakes quality effort in which he closed from fifth of eight at the top of the stretch and powered away late. Rosario was up for the first time and rides back and this son of Smiling Tiger could win his first stakes race here as he moves to Cal-Breds only based on the career-best 106 figure which is bound to be improved upon. He gets pace to run at with Bettor Trip Nick and Brickyard Ride both being need-the-lead types who can easily run the opening half mile in 44 seconds and his dam has been very prolific with five or her nine foals having won. He didn’t debut until late in his four year old year but has done little wrong since then and gets slight preference in a very good betting race.

Fashionably Fast put together six wins in a row from June of 2019 through January, 2020 including last year’s edition of this race with a field high 110 figure. He stepped into top graded stakes company last June and finished second in the Triple Bend Stakes before a poor effort in the Bing Crosby and five months off. He’s working well for his comeback and there’s no doubt he can win this.

Loud Mouth just won the similar Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar at seven furlongs at the end of November and there’s no issue with cutting back to six furlongs as he’s won at the trip before. That win followed a strong four length win at Santa Anita with both coming under Cedillo, who rides back. The first of the two efforts earned a 106 figure the same at Tigre Di Slugo and he has a stalking style which benefits from the likely early pace duel.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

Tigre Di Slugo and Fashionably Fast at 2 to 1 or more.

Consider a win bet on Loud Mouth at 3 to 1 or more.

This too is the perfect race for using a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager, because it will allocate the win bets based on odds, putting more on the lower odds horse automatically. That is just one of many other great features and perks at Amwager.com

Exacta:

Box Tigre Di Slugo, Fashionably Fast and Loud Mouth.