As all of us do our due diligence by staying home, whether we are in 14-day travel isolation or not (stop the spread!) there is still some racing to watch and wager on Saturday March 28 and what a card Gulfstream Park in Hallandale today.
The $750,000 FLORIDA DERBY (G1) is race 14 on a card that begins a 11:30 this morning. The Derby goes at about 6:36 p.m.
There is also racing at Oaklawn, Tampa Bay Downs, Golden Gate and a few others.
Here is a guide to what to watch for at Gulfstream today, race by race, Canadian horses or horsepeople and a few picks (although I am probably very rusty!).
RACE 1 – Just wanted to mention this race since the day’s opener features a horse named ENJOYITWHILEWECAN (number 12, 12 to 1).
RACE 2 – Ontario bred BRUTUS makes his 4-year-old debut in an allowance race for Stronach Stables and trainer Sid Attard. He is 20 to 1 in this sprint on the dirt, his first race since December, his first dirt attempt.
RACE 4 – PLEASECALLMEBACK, an Ontario-bred by Hard Spun bred by Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry and owned by Bill Werner, trained by Roger Attfield, will start from post 1 in the Cutler Bay Stakes. This 3-year-old was 2nd in the Cup & Saucer Stakes last year and he makes his first start since he was 7th in the Coronation Futurity. Roger has 3 wins in 19 starts at the Gulfstream meeting.
The team also start Kentucky-bred MR HUSTLE in the same race from post 11. This is the undefeated juvenile from 2019, 2-time stakes winner who won the Soaring Free Stakes over his stablemate.
RACE 8 – YORKTON, a top Canadian-bred sprinter, tries the Sir Shackleton Stakes at 7 furlongs on dirt for Chiefswood Stable and trainer Stuart Simon. The 6-year-old horse is making his 2nd start of the season after a bad start messed up his latest. He is 1 for 1 at the distance and at 20 to 1 a longshot possibility to land in the top 3 if he gets things his own way on the pace.
RACE 10 – GRADE 3 ORCHID, 1 3/8 miles on turf and trainer Roger Attfield and owner John McCormack’s exciting filly ELIZABETH WAY (Ire) seeks her 3rd win from as many starts in 2020. The Frankel 4-year-old has post 12 in this marathon. Barb Minshall trainee GET EXPLICIT is also in the field.
LATE PICK 4 PICKS
11 – Gulfstream Oaks Grade 2 – The re-march between undefeated TONALIST’S SHAPE and lightly raced SPICE IS NICE is more than that as they each try a 2 turn distance for the first time. Those 2 are contenders but I am going to try # 7 LUCREZIA, off a big win at Tampa Bay Downs.
Picks 7 – 9-5-8
RACE 12 – The Grade 2 PAN AMERICAN at 1 1/2 miles on turf has heavily favoured ZULU ALPHA going for another win. He absolutely stands out but the pace could be very, very slow. If you want to try and take a horse to upset, how about #1 CHANNEL CAT?
RACE 13 – The return of EL TORMENTA, the winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile spices up the Grade 3 Appleton but our Canadian hero has post 12 in a pretty good field. He is a contender but there are several to like in this 1 mile turf event. The pace of this race will not be anything like it was in the recent Canadian Turf, a race some of these are exiting, as that race had a sizzling early clip from one horse. I expect Tormenta (Eddie) to be close to the pace. The Can. Turf winner Sombeyay got a perfect trip that day while others like MR DUMAS had some crowding. My price plays are 3rd start off the layoff runners HEMBREE and MARCH TO THE ARCH
RACE 14 – TIZ THE LAW stands out in the Florida Derby off a huge return run but is there a little regression in the offing? I loved #9 INDEPENDENCE HALL’s run in the Sam Davis and if he waits a bit longer to make his move, he has a big chance. Ete Indien and As Seen On TV also rate a look.