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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Handicapping: Big Beach day at Gulfstream, Finale.

Our streak eked by with Cherokee Queen winning yesterday at the Fair Grounds.  She ran an excellent race, and paid a nice ticket of $9.40.  She was my third selection, but it seems whenever I call a horse “dangerous” they end up winning. A She’s Adorable would have been my play, she closed well and drew close but lagging the field isn’t her style and will wait for another day.  So today we slip back over to Gulfstream and will try to makes sense of the Dania Beach $100,000 for 2YO going a mile on turf.  This is a strong field and several can win it.  Personally I find 2YO difficult, but the blessing today is there are no first time starters, just winners.  Not sure which is worse but here we go …

Contenders:

#7  Coalport ML 6/1

He won maiden on turf at first asking and then second in a G3 event at Keeneland.   The BC Juvenile was a huge field and appears to have been knocked around a bit, so will toss it.  Catalano puts Leparoux on board and these connections hit 44% of the time.  I will grant you Finale is the stronger looking horse, but have to look at the value play here.  Coalport has posted a nice 78 in a quality race which is competitive with this group.  I like his chances here to get back into his form.

#8  Finale ML 3/1

What is not to like about this 2YO. Pletcher trained, Johnny V in the irons, well bred and has won a G3 event.  Has raced at three different venues and won each time.  Last out in the BC Juvenile as the favorite he had a horrible trip.  My only issue will be price.  If the BC Juvenile didn’t hurt his confidence then he should be right at the front, it won’t be easy but he can certainly win it.

#9  Summer Front ML 4/1

This 2YO is making his third start, and is coming off a fine effort in the King Cugat ($60K).  The pedigree is outstanding, posted a solid 81 last out and his connections are outstanding (Clement/Dominguez).    His workouts have been solid and I see no reason why he can’t win it.  It’ll be interesting to see what price he gets at the start.

Dark Horses:

#2  Excaper ML 5/1

He looks like to be a solid miler over turf.  Showed well in the BC Juvenile finishing second and hitting a 81 Beyer.   He has dueled Finale a couple of times and has shown he can handle him.  The only issues are is that he hasn’t won on turf and Ian Black doesn’t have the best record with 2YO’s.  However, like all 2YO you just never know when they find their groove, and today could be his day.

#11 Starforce ML 10/1

This is the dangerous one in the bunch.  He won on the turf at Churchill at first asking going a mile and a sixteenth.  He showed a good 76 Beyer and now comes in off 60 day layoff.  Mihei shows good results across the board with his training of 2YO’s and puts the wily Castanon on today.  What makes him scary is wired that field going long, and now cutting back to a mile, you would think this would be easy for him.  He is going to get a price and he will be hard to pass up. 

“Bombs Away”

#3  Empire Builder ML 12/1  

I actually like this horse to win this race.  He has won two in a row on turf going a mile, is progressing forward in his Beyers (65 – 71).  His trainer, Duco, has respectable stats and just like his chances here.  Gallardo has ridden him well and knows where to place him with this group.  I’ve got a feeling about this 2YO and like the #11 hard to pass up.  The problem with this race is that there are too many interesting plays, might just go with the one with the longest odds.

Selections:

7 – 8 – 9

Price Play:  3 and/or 11 

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