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Juvenile expert Andrew Champagne takes a look at the today's more interesting race at Gulfstream Park

Sunday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park has most of the requirements for a tremendous betting race. We’ve got a field of 12 2-year-old fillies signed on, and several of these runners are making their debuts.

The morning line hints at a race where several of the top contenders could go favored. I hope those early odds hold up, as my top selection could be a pretty juicy price. Let’s take a look!

On The Improve

#3 MS. MALEVOLENCE didn’t do much running in her debut at Ellis Park, after which she went to the sidelines for four months. When she returned earlier this month, she did so for new trainer David Fawkes, and she made a middle move into the stretch before flattening out and finishing fourth.

It’s logical to think she may have been a bit short there given the layoff, and my hunch is that she’ll be more fully-cranked for this event. Irad Ortiz, Jr., has gotten the call, and I think significant improvement would make her tough to beat. She’s 6-1 on the morning line, and that strikes me as an overlay.

The Flashy Firster

Of the debuting runners, the one that will almost certainly take the most money is #4 SEIZE THE EMPRESS, a Todd Pletcher trainee that fetched $210,000 at Keeneland last year. She’s a daughter of Carpe Diem that has been working consistently at Palm Beach Downs, and few in the game are better than Pletcher at having a first-time starter ready to run.

It’s not like the runners with experience in here have set the world on fire, so I can get behind backing a firster. She makes sense, although the search for value may take you elsewhere.

Prices to Throw In

I’m not the biggest fan of the November 17th race that both #5 AUNT NADINE and #11 PRINCESS CORO exit. I think this spot is far tougher, and if trainer Jorge Navarro had the former ready to run, why is he also saddling #10 BEAM OF LIGHT?

I actually prefer that runner to her stablemate. The recent workouts indicate she’s coming into this race well, and she’s bred to be a runner. I’m also going to use #12 BITE THE STARS, who ran evenly in her first start and should improve with both experience and the cushy outside draw.

How I’ll Play It

I’m keying Ms. Malevolence and Seize the Empress on top of exactas and trifectas that use Beam of Light and Bite the Stars underneath. I’ll also key Ms. Malevolence in separate exactas. If she’s in the mix, I want to score.

2 units: Exacta key, 3,4 w/3,4,10,12

1 unit: Trifecta key, 3,4 w/3,4,10,12 w/3,4,10,12

1 unit: Exacta key box, 3 w/4,10,12

Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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