PICK: Race 14 @ Gulstream
2 units: Exacta key, 5 w/4,7,8
1 unit: Trifecta key: 5 w/4,7,8 w/4,7,8
Saturday’s main event at Gulfstream Park is the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, which goes as the finale on a loaded 14-race program. It’s drawn a field of 12 3-year-olds, and Kentucky Derby points are on the line.
This field boasts a runner that will likely be a pretty heavy favorite, and I think he’ll be tough to beat. However, the race shape seems to hint that there may be ways to cash for a nice score even if that one emerges victorious. Let’s take a look!
The Formidable Favorite
#5 DENNIS’ MOMENT was the best bet of a lot of handicappers on Breeders’ Cup Friday. He was bet down to 4/5 in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but lost all chance at the break and was basically eased in the stretch. He’s been off since then, but has been working well and looms large in this spot.
If Dennis’ Moment runs to his races two and three back, it sure looks like the race is for second money. I think he’ll sit off the pace beneath Flavien Prat and be rolling late as those in front of him start to backpedal. The question is, where does the value lie in a race with this type of favorite?
I’m going against #12 CHANCE IT and #6 AS SEEN ON TV, who ran 1-2 in the Mucho Macho Man back in January. The former has never gone two turns, while the latter draws a terrible post for this distance and could lose a ton of ground on the first turn while also being on or near a fast pace. In addition, I want no part of likely fourth choice #11 ETE INDIEN, who was second in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. His post isn’t much better, and he’ll almost certainly be contributing to that early pace.
I want closers, and I think I’ve found a few. I liked #7 COUNTRY GRAMMER a fair bit when he graduated in November, and backers were rewarded to the tune of 9-1 odds on the win end. He’s been away for a while, but the Payson Park work tab looks strong, and I think he’ll be stalking the pace and have first run when things start to fall apart. I doubt he’s fast enough to run with Dennis’ Moment when that one gets going, but there’s real potential for him to hit the board at a price.
I’m going to get pretty crazy with my other two horses. #4 THE FALCON and #8 GEAR JOCKEY are both maidens. On ability, they almost certainly do not have a chance to win. However, they don’t have to win in order for me to cash. Both are closers who will benefit from the likely race shape, and I think there’s a shot one or both of them clunk up for a minor award at a gigantic number.
How I’ll Play It
If Dennis’ Moment does not win, I lose. I’m keying him on top of exactas and trifectas with The Falcon, Country Grammer, and Gear Jockey, and I sincerely hope the race falls apart after the speed horses go at it.