PICK: Race 10 @ Gulstream
3 units: Win, 9
2 units: Exacta box, 1,9
There isn’t a shortage of excellent races on Saturday’s 14-race card at Gulfstream Park. I could’ve picked any number of races for 3-year-olds at any number of conditions, distances, or surfaces, but for this article, I’ll focus on the Grade 2 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies going a one-turn mile on the main track.
This event goes as the 10th on the program, and it attracted a field of nine. There’s plenty of talent on hand, and the race also hits me as an exciting one from a betting perspective while also carrying ample room for me to look like a fool. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will, so let’s get to it!
The Beatable(?) Favorite
#6 SPICE IS NICE is 7/5 on the morning line, and I get why. She’s bred to be a tremendous horse, being by Curlin and out of the ultra-classy mare Dame Dorothy, and her debut was scintillating. She sat just off the pace, inhaled the front-runners turning for home, and cruised to the wire clear by a dozen lengths. That race came at this route, so the distance shouldn’t be a problem, and the Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez duo always merits a healthy amount of respect.
Why do I think she’s beatable? Well, this is a solid group, and I’m not convinced she beat a whole lot in her unveiling. Furthermore, she may very well regress off of such a big first-out performance, and if she does, those morning line odds would make her an underlay. For the purpose of vertical wagers, I’m going to try to beat her.
#9 TONALIST’S SHAPE would likely be odds-on if Spice is Nice had passed the race. I’m glad that one’s running, because this filly hits me as the one to beat. She’s 4-for-4 and has won all four starts by daylight, including the Grade 3 Forward Gal last time out. That race was her first since November, so she may have needed it, and any move forward second off the bench would make her formidable.
Tonalist’s Shape is 7/2 on the morning line. Anything close to that, in my opinion, would provide tremendous value. She’s versatile, she goes out for a hot barn, and the outside post gives Tyler Gaffalione plenty of options on the long run up the backstretch. She’s my top pick.
An Intriguing Second-Time Starter
#1 CHART was sharp in her debut last month at Tampa Bay Downs. She may not have beaten much, but she graduated in her unveiling for a trainer whose horses often need a race or two to get going. She’s another bred to be a runner, and she’s been working lights-out at Tampa ahead of a big jump in class.
There are certainly negatives here. The rail draw isn’t ideal, especially given the deeper waters she’ll be swimming in. Having said that, though, her 76 Beyer Speed Figure wasn’t too far off of the 84 number Spice Is Nice got in her debut. It’s not inconceivable to think those numbers could go opposite ways, which means Chart has to be on my tickets.
How I’ll Play It
I may use Spice Is Nice as a back-up in multi-race exotics, but I think there’s money to be made betting against her. Tonalist’s Shape is my key horse. I’ll play her to win, and I’ll also box a small exacta with Chart.