Being in southern Florida this time of the year has its benefits. The first that comes to mind is the nice, winter weather; sunshine and warmth is good for the soul when it’s cold and gray outside. Ahhh. For horseplayers, the weather attracts some of the best horse racing in an otherwise slow part of the year. For the third week in a row, Gulfstream Park is the home of the most significant stakes races, headlined by the Holy Bull Stakes.
We couldn’t help but notice speed, speed, speed winning most of last weekend’s Pegasus Invitational race card and the Sunshine Millions races the weekend before. We’ll hope the bias sticks this Saturday and look to take advantage of it with our selections.
Race 9: Forward Gal Stakes
COMPETITIVE SPEED (PP: 3 ML 8-1) has won her two races since moving to Gulfstream Park from Gulfstream Park West (formerly Calder Racecourse). It’s her third win in a row and produced the highest, last race speed figure. She ran some of her fastest fractions in the score, which is usually a good indictor for the next start too.
ZAAJEL (PP: 7 ML 7/5) won her debut by 7 ¼ lengths, making it look easy. Her workouts since have been fast and trainer Todd Pletcher wins at 25% following the maiden victory. She will have to be better in this one to make it two for two.
WHOLEBODEMEISTER (PP: 1 ML 10-1) blew a tire in her last race, finishing a well defeated seventh of 11. However, if you look a little lower in her past performances, you will find a win at Gulfstream Park. A wire to wire win from the rail.
COACH JER’S JOY (PP: 8 ML 9/2) is another debut winner. She was the 6/5 favorite in her maiden win for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., who follows the maiden win with another at 25%. Saffie has also won five of 10 races when teamed up with jockey, Irad Ortiz, Jr.
WIN: #3 COMPETITIVE SPEED
EXACTA BOX: #1 WHOLEBODEMEISTER, #3 COMPETITIVE SPEED, #7 ZAAJEL and #8 COACH JER’S JOY
Race 10: Sweetest Chant Stakes
HONEY PANTS (PP: 2 ML 3-1) came home second by 3 ¼ lengths in her last race as the public’s choice. Trainer Christophe Clement rebounds at 25% the next time around the tack with beaten favorites. HONEY PANTS should also be better in her second start after spending two-months on the sidelines.
CON LIMA (PP: 4 ML 5/2) has three wins and three seconds in six starts. It’s hard to do much better than that, but she managed to be better at Gulfstream with two wins in two races. She should be at/near her best in the third start off the bench. The third was her best in her only other three race cycle.
CANDACE O (PP: 3 ML 12-1) finally broke her maiden in her third try after being close in the first two attempts. She ran some sharp fractions in her maiden win. Many times, improved times are an indications of a horse hitting/near top form.
LIONESSOFBRITTANY (PP: 7 ML 10-1) won her last two races at 5 furlongs. So, today’s 1 mile trip will be something new for her. She was on/near the lead in the pair of wins and could be right behind the leaders once again today. She has the best mid-race pace figures and could take the lead for good by the half-mile marker.
WIN: #4 CON LIMA
EXACTA BOX: #2 HONEY PANTS, #3 CANDACE O, #4 CON LIMA and #7 LIONESSOFBRITTANY
Race 11: Holy Bull Stakes
WILLY BOI (PP: 2 ML 10-1) isn’t considered the best horse in the race, as evidenced by his 10-1 odds. However, the three-year-old probably is the best positioned horse in the race. He is the inside speed horse for a race that basically starts on the first turn. All the other speed horses are to the outside. That could be a huge advantage, especially if he can run moderate, early fractions like a half-mile in 47 seconds or more.
GREATEST HONOUR (PP: 7 ML 5/2) tied for the top, last race speed figure while earning the maiden score in his fourth try. It was his first start after nearly two-months in the barn. His limited race history hints that he might be a little better today. If he is, his late pace figures say he could run away with this one.
PRIME FACTOR (PP: 6 ML 3-1) won his debut in a laugher, beating the competition by 8 ¾ lengths in a field of nine. He hasn’t raced since then (December 12, 2020) but two bullet workouts in his last three training sessions say he’ll pick up where he left off, maybe even better.
AWESOME GERRY (PP: 9 ML 8-1) had some unwelcomed problems at the start of his last race, broke outwardly instead of a straight line and ping-ponged a bit as a result. Despite the problems, he took the lead in his first outing at 1 mile or more but lost his legs late and finished third. He should be better today with a route on his resume and a trainer that wins second route tries at 33%.
WIN: #2 WILLY BOI
EXACTA BOX: #2 WILLY BOI, #6 PRIME FACTOR, #7 GREATEST HONOUR and #9 AWESOME GERRY
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