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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Weekend Handicapping: Spectacular Day at Gulfstream Opener today

For years we have lived by if it’s January it must be Gulfstream, but this year our winter fun starts early.  Gulfstream Park has decided to forgo some April dates to run the entire month of December.  I’ll take it as the first hints of winter are now blowing in here in Chicago. I consider it an early Christmas present.  To kick of the Gulfstream meet, we will look at the 32nd running of The Spectacular Bid Stakes for 2YO’s going 6 furlongs for a purse of $100,000.  We’ve got a nice field of 8, and let’s get this meet and month off to a good start, meaning cashing some tickets.  Here we go …

Contenders:

#7  Ancient Rome ML 4/1

Most know Dutrow is good with 2YO on their second attempt and this colt was no exception.  Popping out a 80 Beyer and romping the field at Delaware Park.  He comes back in perfect time to take on his first stakes race, where again Dutrow’s record is outstanding.  I like the key race angle too, the runner up, won his MSW at Delaware last out by 1 ½.  Rocco took him wire to wire last time and I see nothing here that would prevent that again.  The big question is can we get him for 4/1?

#5  Luke of York ML 5/2

Tough to ignore back to back wins in his first two efforts.  Yes, they were over synthetics, but he has posted consistent Beyer’s (79-80), stepped out of his MSW win and goes to Keeneland and takes the Keeneland 75th Anniversary ($125,000).   DeVito hits 39% with 2YO and keeps Maragh in the irons.  The only challenge I see for him is he likes to come off the pace, and while there is no blow away speed here he could get lost in the shuffle.

#3  Vexor ML 3/1

This colt could be the real surprise and the dangerous one.  He has had two 80’s in his Beyers, has won a G2 race (Nashua at Belmont) and win raced forwardly goes wire to wire.  His works have been sharp, he gets Castellano back in the saddle and could be ready to find his rhythm.  Minor point is that he appears to run better in smaller fields, this one is a middling group so might find himself in good sorts this time.

Dark Horse:

#6  For Oby ML 6/1

He has won 2 of 5 over at Calder, winning his last outing in a $125,000 Juvenile event posting a Beyer of 77.  Each time the race him to the front he wins or hits the board.  Even though he has only 5 races under his belt, 4 have been in stakes company.   I think they may have over raced him in the summer, 3 stake races in less than 60 days, toss in a sloppy track and he could have been tired.  After a nice hiatus, he comes back to win at first asking, he could be fresh and ready to go today.

Bombs Away:

#4  Blings Express ML 10/1

He has not shown the speed to keep up with the front 3, but has he found his ceiling yet?  He has been on the board 5 of 6 with 2 wins. There are two angles here for me; the runner up in his last race, Martini Madness,  won a N1x with a 80 Beyer at Calder. Secondly, Paco Lopez in riding him and that can’t be ignored.   He has raced well wherever he has been raced, always around at the end and if the front runners falter he should be there to take it.  

Selections:

7 - 5 - 3 

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