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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Handicapping: Trickmeister surprises today at GP

We wrapped up last weekend with Game On Dude capturing the San Antonio easily, and with Alpha winning Saturday it became a chalk weekend.  In reality we would have laid off both races from a betting standpoint, for there are times when you have to recognize the favorites are unbeatable.  Today we have a totally different race to analyze; it’s a G1 event at Gulfstream.  It’s the 56th running of the Donn Handicap for a purse of $500,000.  The race will go a mile and an eighth over the dirt for 4YO’s and upwards.  There is a field of 11 entered, and we have a mix bag of solid runners, some big names that haven’t really shown their full potential and a couple of upstarts.  The good news is the money will be spread everywhere and an overlay can pop through.  So here we go …

Contenders:

#8  Trickmeister  ML 6/1

I’m going on a limb here with this lightly raced 5YO.  I like horses moving up in class and while this is a big jump from the $100K stakes level to G1, I like his chances against this field.  He has won five of five and all wire to wire at various distances, including today’s. He’s been a winner at Delaware, Saratoga and here at GP.  His Beyer’s are consistent and see no reason he can’t run faster.  He will take on Shackelford for the lead and I’m not worried about a speed duel. Lastly, Dutrow turns the reins over to Ramon Dominguez, that combination has won 32% of the time. 

#9  Shackleford ML 7/2

He will go out with Trickmeister to the front, but don’t see him holding on to win.  He has shown he can run with the G1 group, and he did win here at GP at this distance last year.  There is no doubt he has the capability of winning this race, but he seems be more of a bridesmaid than the bride of late.  Not sure he will be able to get it done today, but his class says you’ve got to respect him.

#7  Flat Out ML 5/1

I would normally have him my number one, but just not sure where he is right now in the form cycle.  I’m going to ignore the turf race as I think Dickey was trying to get one under his belt.  He certainly has shown he can run this distance very fast and has won at this level against some tough horses.   If that turf race was indeed a warm up coupled with good works, then this 6YO might be back in form.  I’ve got mixed feelings here, but he is still one dangerous horse.

Dark Horse:

There are several in this race that could find their old form and one moving up in class that could surprise us all.  You have to consider #2 Mission Impazible, #3 Ruler On Ice and #10 Hymn Book.  Of the three the one that is most interesting is Hymn Book.  He has shown the speed at this distance to run with this classy group; Velazquez is back on and had a nice second in the Cigar.  Lastly, McGaughey wins 25% of the time in Grades Stakes races.   

Bombs Away:

#4  Redeemed ML 12/1

I was actually going to put this 4YO in my top three, but saved him as my price play.  He has been consistent with his speed and recently won at this distance at Aqueduct, taking the Discovery (G3).  He won five of seven as a 3YO and has hit the board in all eight starts.  He will rate off the front runners and could be there at the end to take it.  Prado has won three of four with him, and got a feeling Dutrow is sneaking this one in.  I like his chances in this race a lot.

Selections:

8 – 9 - 7

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