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Saturday's free horse racing picks from handicapper Andrew Champagne comes to us from the late Pick Four sequence at Gulfstream Park.

Saturday Free Horse Racing Picks and Strategy: Late Pick Four Sequence at Gulfstream Park

There are a bunch of places I could go for Saturday’s horse racing preview. However, I’ve settled on Claiming Crown Day at Gulfstream Park, which boasts an 11-race card and dozens of hard-knocking horses that make up the backbone of the sport.

The late Pick Four starts in the eighth, and I’ll attack it with an $18 ticket. Here’s how I’ve put it together.

Race #8

We’ll kick things off with a five-furlong turf sprint that’s drawn some very fast horses. I’m not sold on 3-1 morning line choice #7 BELGRANO, whose form has been solid of late but who has struggled over his career at Gulfstream.

By contrast, #9 XY SPEED is 2-for-2 at this route of ground and exits a win in a $100,000 stakes race at Laurel Park. He’s won seven of nine career starts on the lawn and has enough flexibility to rate just off the speed, which should prove very useful. Of the likely betting favorites, this is the one that hits me as the toughest to beat.

I’ll also use #6 MYSTERY MESSENGER and #10 DISCREET TUNE. The former has taken small steps forward in each of his last several starts and would benefit from a fast pace, while the latter runs for a 22% trainer and is another with plenty of success sprinting on turf at Gulfstream.

Race #9

It’s tough to find a single in this sequence, but my best bet runs in this race. Given my need to spread elsewhere, I’m riding or dying with #8 MILES AHEAD in this seven-furlong sprint.

This gelding clearly loves Gulfstream Park and won the Grade 3 Smile Sprint back in July. His lone poor effort of the season came in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga, and I find it very easy to draw a line through that clunker. His last-out loss came when he broke slowly and had to rally from last. He shouldn’t have that type of trip in this spot, especially with top gate rider Paco Lopez aboard.

RACE #10

I think there’s another logical favorite in the third leg, the Claiming Crown Jewel. He may prove a popular single, but there’s one other runner that hits me as a must-use.

#3 GIROLAMO’S ATTACK has won two in a row since coming back to Gulfstream Park. He’s got plenty of early zip and figures to be prominent right from the jump. Between his affinity for this track and his tactical speed, I think there’s plenty to like, and I certainly can’t leave him off the ticket.

#10 HANALEI’S HOUDINI, though, was claimed out of his last effort by Mike Maker, who does very strong work with new acquisitions. I hate the post position, but I love the two-turn form he’s shown, and he could stand to benefit if the early pace proves to be fast. For that reason, he merits inclusion as well.

Race #11

If you’ve got a strong opinion in the Saturday finale, more power to you. The Claiming Crown Emerald for older turf routers finishes off the program, and I see fit to go six-deep in hopes of finishing off this ticket.

If I had to make a top pick, I’d settle on #8 MAX K.O., who hasn’t run a poor race on turf since coming off a layoff in May. He has three wins and two seconds in his last five starts, and his two-back effort at Kentucky Downs was excellent. Form from that track sometimes doesn’t transfer over, but he’s shown he likes Gulfstream, too, and that’s encouraging.

I’ll also use #1 MID DAY IMAGE, #2 THE LAST ZIP, #6 LOUDER THAN BOMBS, #10 BENELUX, and #11 LIGHT FURY. If you want to hit the “ALL” button, I certainly understand. This is a very difficult race to handicap, and I sincerely hope I’ve gone deep enough.


R8: 6,9,10

R9: 8

R10: 3,10

R11: 1,2,6,8,10,11

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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