Thursday, April 9
Race 4: Maiden Special Weight at one mile
2 – Night Sky
In recent years, I’ve had great success forgiving poor form over Gulfstream’s main track when New York trainers (not named Todd Pletcher) move their runners back up north, especially when these horses show inconsistent form over that surface. Gulfstream’s main track seems to change drastically from day to day, and horses that run well over it one afternoon may not be able to duplicate that form on another.
In my opinion, NIGHT SKY (#2) is a great example of a horse that is clearly better than her last race would suggest. If she was entering this race with only her debut showing, she’d be one of the logical choices, yet many handicappers are probably going to dismiss her off that disappointing 16 Beyer, 23-length loss. I believe that would be a mistake.
First of all, the Gulfstream main track was extremely dead on February 16 (note the -40 track variant). Secondly, that race was marred by an incident at the start and was basically over – for the horses and the jockeys – at the halfway point. Essentially, it’s not a race that I want to put that much stock in. Night Sky’s debut was fine. She closed well and finished just three lengths behind The Road Not Taken, who returned to run a respectable race in her second career start a couple of weeks ago. Night Sky is bred to get better with distance and I expect to see a much-improved performance this time.
Rapid Repair (#1) is the horse to beat, but she couldn’t have gotten a more comfortable trip when returning from the layoff last time and may be overbet off that effort. Others have shown varying degrees of promise, but need to improve to take down the favorite.
$15 Win 2
$5 Exacta Box 1,2
$2 Exacta Key Box 2 with 3,6,7
Race 6: Claiming $25,000N3L at one mile
1 – Papa Tom
This is a race where I just don’t trust any of the horses that are likely to take money, so I’ve landed on an outsider. I would prefer if PAPA TOM (#1) were going shorter than a mile, but I still have to take a small shot with him as he gets back into a one-turn dirt race. He has spent much of his career facing better horses, and while his recent form isn’t much to write home about, I feel that he’s dropping into an easier spot this afternoon. At what should be a pretty generous price, I think he’s worth putting a few dollars behind.
$10 Win/Place 1 (Payout: $61.00)
Race 8: Maiden Claiming $25,000 at one mile for NY-breds
7 – Worbothor
2 – Sunny Aftermoon
Ride of Your Life (#4) and Fictionalcharacter (#5) are the horses to beat, but do you really want either one at short prices? Ride of Your Life had everything go his way last time and still couldn’t hold off long shot Sugar Gold (and would have finished behind Ficitonalcharacter as well had he not impeded that foe late). While Fictionalcharacter may have been best, that wouldn’t be the first race that he should have won, and he’s starting to develop into a horse that just tends to find trouble.
I prefer WORBOTHOR (#7), who was against the track for the latter portion of his last race, when you did not want to be anywhere near the rail on February 22. Nevertheless, he showed good stamina in that losing effort, proving that he can handle a route of ground while showing subtle signs of improvement for the new barn. This time he should be able to work out a comfortable outside stalking trip, and I believe he’s good enough to take down the two favorites.
While I think that Worbothor has an excellent chance to win, there is one other horse worth mentioning. SUNNY AFTERMOON (#2) was badly hampered at the start of his debut and really wasn’t roused for his best thereafter in race that he likely needed. He shows improved workouts for this effort, presumably with the addition of blinkers. Sunny Aftermoon also has some decent stamina influences on the dam’s side of his pedigree. I wouldn’t be surprised if he we see a completely different horse today and I think he’s worth throwing into the mix at a big price.
$15 Win 7
$10 Win 2
$4 Exacta Key Box 7 with 2,4,5
$2 Exacta 4,5 with 2