Another race Friday getting three out of four horses correct (but not in order). Sigh. That’s the beauty of horse racing, there is always another race.
Today we head back to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida for the $200,000 Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale Stakes for 3-year-olds and up over 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The field of 9 will go to gate for race 9 on the 11-race card with an approximate post time of 4:00 p.m. ET.
#4, Instilled Regard, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 8-1
Instilled Regard has raced in eight graded stakes races in his career (1-1-1), with his last, a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 3. In his last start, he finished third in an allowance race at Aqueduct on Nov. 9. This will be his first start at Gulfstream Park and who better to lead than Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle for trainer Chad Brown, who also has No. 3 Flavius (Javier Castellano) in today’s race. The pick.
#5, Channel Cat, John Velazquez, 3-1
11 of his 19 career starts (5-2-4) have been in graded stakes races, including his last seven (five of which were Grade 1s). In his last start, he finished seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. His last win, the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga on July 27 by a ½ length. John Velazquez will be in the saddle for trainer Todd Pletcher. The distance might now be his best, but I think he will be on a drastic improve since the BC Turf. Runner-up.
#7, Cross Border, Luis Saez, 7-2
This will be his 21st career start (7-3-1) and seventh this year, where he has posted a solid 4-1-0 mark. He has four wins in his last five starts, including his last by a neck in an allowance race at Aqueduct on Nov. 17. This will be his first time racing at Gulfstream Park and only the second graded stakes start of his career, the last being a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 5, two starts back. Luis Saez is aboard for trainer Michael Maker. Saez is always sneaky in these spots and I think he will be right there at the end, but will the lack of graded stakes appearances prove costly? We shall see. Contender.
#8, Admission Office, Jose Ortiz, 9-2
Admission Office will be making his sixth start this year (1-1-2) and the 10th of his career (3-3-2). In his last start, he finished third in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 16. In four graded stakes races in his career, he has posted a 0-1-2 mark. Jose Ortiz has the mount for trainer Brian Lynch. In the mix.