Forward Gal Stakes – Race 9 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 3:46 PM Eastern

Competitive Speed and Zaajel stick out as win contenders here based on recent efforts, but Competitive Speed opens at 8/1 even though she won a stakes race four weeks ago while Zaajel opens at 7/5 from a winning debut two weeks earlier. The reason for the lower odds on Zaajel is because Pletcher trains but the different in probability between the two is negligible. Competitive Speed won the second, third and fourth starts of her career, the last of the trio at 6 ½ furlongs over the track on January 2 with a FIELD HIGH 89 Equibase figure better than the 83 figure Zaajel earned on 12/20 winning her debut at seven furlongs by seven lengths. Competitive Speed has improved her figures in each start and still has room to run faster, as Zaajel, particularly with Pletcher showing a very strong 30% win rate going back FIVE years with horses who broke their maidens last out in their debut.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Competitive Speed and Zaajel to win at 2/1 or more.Its likely Zaajel will be less than 2/1 so we will play some additional exactas with her on top (below).

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Exacta: Competitive Speed and Zaajel over ALL

Zaajel over ALL

Doubles:

Race 9: Competitive Speed, Zaajel

Race 10: Honey Pants, White Frost, Lionessofbrittany

Race 9: Zaajel

Race 10: Honey Pants, White Frost, Lionessofbrittany

Race 9: Competitive Speed, Zaajel

Race 10: ALL

Race 9: Zaajel

Race 10: ALL

Pick 3:

Race 9: Competitive Speed, Zaajel

Race 10: Honey Pants, White Frost, Lionessofbrittany

Race 11: Papetu, Prime Factor, Greatest Honour, Sittin On Go, Awesome Gerry

Race 9: Competitive Speed, Zaajel

Race 10: ALL

Race 11: Greatest Honour

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Sweetest Chant Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:18 PM Eastern

White Frost is a maiden winner in this grade 3 stakes for three year old fillies on the grass and Bill Mott trains and that’s why I’m making her my top pick. After a fourth place debut sprinting on dirt last summer, then a second place finish sprinting on dirt last fall, she stretched out in November to two-turns and turf and ran very maturely when rallying from fourth to win going away. Rested to begin her three year old campaign, it’s a confident placement in a stakes but we must remember three others are coming off maiden wins and only one of the other seven have won a stakes. To that end, looking at Mott’s record with this kind of confident placement, it’s very serious as the Hall-of-Fame trainer is ELEVEN-for-THIRTY three going from maiden to stakes over the last few years, with FOUR of those on turf. Alvarado rides back and I think this three year old filly may be something special in short order.

Lionessofbrittany will be the one White Frost, and others, have to run down to win as she’s going to be all alone on the front from the start. She wired the field in a turf sprint one before last then battled neck-and-neck for the early lead on sizzling fractions (20.6 first quarter) before winning last out. She’s improved in her last two starts and the last out 88 Equibase figure is just fine as the best figure in the field is the 95 earned by Con Lima winning the Ginger Brew Stakes last out. White Frost can not only improve off that figure but has an edge over favorite Con Lima, who is absolutely a need-the-lead type but not fast enough to keep up with Lionessofbrittany so will be in an uncomfortable off the pace position, like the one she had in the Our Dear Peg Stakes in September when she ran second from start to finish. Bred to get two turns on both sides of her pedigree, Lionessofbrittany must be respected opening at 10/1.

Honey Pants couldn’t catch “loose on the lead” Con Lima in the Ginger Brew, rallying from fifth to second as that one got an easy lead and a breather midway. A much different scenario will be in place today so Honey Pants has every chance to rally and win.

Handicapper Picks

Win: White Frost and Lionessofbrittany to win at 3 to 1 or more.

Honey Pants can be bet to win at 3 to 1 or more as well, but that appears unlikely.

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Exacta: Honey Pants, White Frost and Lionessofbrittany over Honey Pants, White Frost, Lionessofbrittany, Queen of the Green, Con Lima, Domain Expertise and Director’s Cut.

Doubles:

Race 10: Honey Pants, White Frost, Lionessofbrittany

Race 11: Papetu, Prime Factor, Greatest Honour, Sittin On Go, Awesome Gerry

Race 10: ALL

Race 11: Greatest Honour

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Holy Bull Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:50 PM Eastern

Greatest Honour started his career sprinting and finished third in two races at seven furlongs, improving from a debut 84 Equibase speed figure to 89, then although regressing slightly to an 85 figure he ran a much better race when stretched out to two turns (nine furlongs), battling head-and-head the entire length of the stretch before losing by a head at the wire. Shipping to Gulfstream in December, Greatest Honour improved markedly at the distance of the Holy Bull when maturely rallying from seventh of nine early to win by a length and one-half. In doing so he improved to a field high 104 figure. This appears to make him the one to beat because even if some of the other impressive recent winners improve, they will have to improve significantly more than Greatest Honour to beat this colt, even if he just repeats his last effort. As a son of Tapit, sire of many top three year olds in recent years such as Enforceable, Hofburg and Tacitus, Greatest Honour should only get better over the course of his sophomore campaign and therefore appears to be the one to beat in this year’s Holy Bull Stakes.

Sittin On Go won his debut last summer impressively by four lengths in a five furlongs sprint, then won the Iroquois Stakes at one mile in only the second start of his career. The improvement from an 80 figure in his debut to 95 second out portended great things for this colt, but that did not pan out. After a ninth place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and sixth place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Sittin on Go was given some time off to mature. It appears that time off helped him as he’s been in steady training at Gulfstream Park for over a month. Given that he ran so well fresh last year and that his first crop sire, Brody’s Cause, has had decent success, I think Sittin on Go could run well in the Holy Bull Stakes by repeating his Iroquois Stakes effort and should be considered a contender.

Papetu was overlooked in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes four weeks ago when sent to post at odds of 20 to 1. Although no match for the winner, Papetu nevertheless finished well for second in the field of nine with an 87 figure he could improve upon in his second start following four months off so he can be given a look at the outcome as well.

Prime Factor (89 figure winning last month) and Amount (84 figure winning last month) come from the top barn of Todd Pletcher, who according to a STATS Race Lens query wins at a hefty 33% rate with horses which are stretching out from a sprint to a route in their second career starts. Still, asking horse to both go from maiden ranks to graded stakes and at the same time from one-turn to two-turns can be a big lift and considering other horses in this race have experience in stakes and routes, I think they may fall short of being able to win. Awesome Jerry finished third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, one and one-quarter lengths from Papetu. He’s earned back-to-back 84 figures and is not on the same pattern for improvement to be competitive here as some of the others in my opinion. Tarantino has two wins and a nose defeat to his credit in three career starts. In the best of those three, Tarantino finished second, beaten a nose, in the Zuma Beach Stakes in October and earned an 81 figure. As a son of Pioneer of the Nile, Tarantino should run as well on dirt but even that effort if repeated appears to fall short of what it will take to win this race. Willy Boi won at first asking then beat a restricted allowance field earlier this month, earning an 85 figure in doing so. He appears to have the same double ask of running two-turns and trying stakes for the first time as many of the others. Jirafales won at first asking in November and earned a 71 figure in doing so. Even with logical improvement as a three year old it appears he could be far short of being competitive against this field.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Greatest Honour at odds of 3/2 or more, a KEY low odds overlay bet.

For a smaller amount, Papetu to win at 4 to 1 or more.

Exactas:

Greatest Honour over ALL

For a smaller amount Papetu over Greatest Honour, Prime Factor and Sittin On Go and Awesome Gerry

Plus the opposite, which is Greatest Honour, Prime Factor and Sittin On Go and Awesome Gerry over Papetu

Trifectas:

Greatest Honour over Papetu, Prime Factor, Sittin on Go and Awesome Gerry over ALL

Greatest Honour over ALL over Papetu, Prime Factor, Sittin on Go and Awesome Gerry