Today is Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream. The card features four top-level stakes races for Florida Breds only.
We will Handicap the Sunshine Millions Sprint (Race 4) and Sunshine Millions Turf (Race 6) as separate events and then turn our attention to Races 9-12 for the late Pick-4. Race 10 will be the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf and Race 11 will be The Sunshine Millions Classic.
Race 4 – Sunshine Millions Sprint (Purse $100,000, 6F on dirt)
There aren’t many horses in the country that can run early with #1 X Y Jet. He has won this race two years running and figures to be a heavy favorite. We are going to take a stab here. #6 Ray’swarrior owns a bit of gate speed of his own. He figures to press X Y Jet from the outside, which might set things up for a tracker. #3 Reason to Soar got good at Gulfstream last year and appears to be working steady for his return off a 7-month layoff. Bet: Exacta-Box #1 – #3
Race 6 – Sunshine Millions Turf (Purse $150,000, 1 1/16 on turf)
#4 Driven By Thunder, #5 Expected Ruler, #6 Class and Cash and #7 He’s Bankable are all need-the-lead types. That assures a good pace in this 1 1/16-mile event. #3 Big Changes has good speed as well but might be a bit more willing to rate. Look for Big Changes to hug the rail and trip out into the stretch in time to catch all the speedsters. Bet: #3 to WIN
Pick-4 (Races 9-12)
Race 9 – Allowance (Purse $51,000, 7F on dirt)
This race looks like a single. #1 Central Command comes from the barn of Chad Brown. He debuted 10 months ago and looked like the real deal, winning easily in a Maiden-Allowance event right here at Gulfstream. Obviously, something went awry, but the 4-year old colt is working very well and only needs to break well from the rail to be in position to pounce in the stretch. For those with a deeper pockets, #2 Magic Tapit is very well bred and working lights out at Payson.
Race 10 – Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf ($150,000, 1 1/16 on turf)
With a couple of turf sprinters stretching out, trying to get this distance, the pace up front should be brisk. #2 Picara is one of those stretching out again after winning two straight at distances of 1 mile and 7 1/2F. JR Velasquez will take over the mount for Todd Pletcher. With pressure to the outside, JR will have to decide whether to go from the inside position or try to sit back. Most of the pace pressure figures to come from #9 Shanghai Starlet, #10 Southern Sis and #12 Madame Uno (last year’s winner of this race). The class of the field is Grade II winner #13 Starship Jubilee, who also likes it upfront buy has shown the ability to close from mid-pack. Beware the outside post. #8 Mrs. Ramona G has won three straight races and retains leading jockey Luis Saez. Trainer Peter Walder sends out deep-closer #11 Bitacora.
Race 11 – Sunshine Millions Classic (Purse $200,000, 1 1/8 on dirt)
This looks like a three-horse race. #1 Dalmore has been camera shy over the last two years with his only win coming 11 months ago in an allowance race at Santa Anita. He has good speed in a race without much of it and he attracts Irad Ortiz Jr. into the saddle. #6 Noble Drama is a newly turned 4-year old who might still have room to improve. Trainer David Fawkes brings jockey Nik Juarez back. The horse/jockey combination combined to win a Florida-bred restricted stakes race at 1-mile right here at Gulfstream last September. The horse has a good stalking style and a good record on the track. The likely favorite is #8 Souper Tapit from the barn of Mark Casse with JR Velasquez in the saddle. Thirty-two days ago, he romped in a NW2X event at a mile on this track. Three good works since then indicates this one could move forward.
Race 12 – $16,000 Claiming (Purse $28,000, 1 1/16 on turf)
#9 In The Chamber is the lone speed in the race and could lead these low-level claimers on a merry chase after closing from deep to miss by only two lengths at this level two back. #12 Cut to Order draws Irad Ortiz Jr. and has the ability to close from the back. #3 Tweet Kitten dropped several levels off a 5-month layoff and finished a close second at this level. Draws Javier Castellano and should go favored. #5 Mission Driven drops a ton off a 3 ½ month layoff for Red-hot trainer Jorge Navarro and jockey Jose Ortiz.
$1 Pick-4 Bet: #1 / #2, #8, #11, #13 / #1, #6, #8 / #3, #5, #9, #12 = $48
$.50 Pick-4 Bet: #1, #2 / #2, #8, #11, #13 / #1, #6, #8 / #3, #5, #9, #12 = $48