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

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

Friday’s card at Gulfstream Park features a nine-race program, and the late Pick Four begins in the sixth. My ticket features two runners that figure to be very popular singles. However, I think you can extract value from that pair of horses, and that’s what my $10 play will try to do. Here’s how I’ve put it together.


We’ll start off the sequence with a maiden optional claiming event for 2-year-old fillies. It’s drawn a field of nine, and I’m going four-deep.

#1 LANIAKEA STORM showed some improvement last time out in her first two-turn effort. She showed some speed on the synthetic track before fading to finish third, but she draws a great inside post position and attracts top speed rider, Luis Saez. I think she’ll have every chance to dictate terms from the jump, and if she does, she could prove tough to catch.

I’ll also use #5 HARD TO IGNORE, #6 CASCADE PARK, and #7 BARBARA. Cascade Park is the 5/2 morning line favorite, and her last-out effort does stand out. However, I think there’s a chance she bounces in this spot. That 69 Beyer Speed Figure was a 19-point jump from the one she earned the second time out. A repeat would make her a major player, but regression would make her vulnerable.


The first of my two singles runs here, in an allowance/optional claiming race for sprinters. No matter how much I may want to, as a value-seeking bettor, I can’t go against a Grade 1 winner that’s somehow eligible for this type of race.

#5 DRAIN THE CLOCK has been rested since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Allen Jerkens at Saratoga. Before that, he won three graded stakes races, including the Grade 1 Woody Stephens at Belmont (where he topped Jackie’s Warrior on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard). His best effort is simply better than that of his competitors here, and for an upset to occur, he’d need to regress significantly while another runner fires a career-best shot.


We’ll go back to the turf for the third leg of the sequence. I think there’s a fair amount of speed signed on for this two-turn event, and as a result, I’ve landed on a closer that figures to benefit from the likely race shape.

#4 TAKE CHARGE RO is my second single of the sequence, and she’s never run a truly bad race on turf. She broke her maiden here back in January, and she did so with a far less friendly setup than the one she’s likely to get here. The layoff doesn’t concern me, especially given her snappy work tab, and Luis Saez lands here when he almost certainly had several options. All of that is good enough for me, and I think she’ll be the one they have to hold off late.


Remember when I said I thought there was still value in this sequence? Here’s why: I don’t like 5/2 favorite #3 NO NANNETTE NO in the Friday finale. This is technically a class drop, but it’s not like she’s been running against world-beaters when an also-ran in maiden claimers up north. I’ll try to beat her.

#5 CAGUA has improved significantly since going to Gulfstream Park’s new synthetic course. Her last two efforts are, by far, the best races she’s ever run. She’s had a few adventurous trips, to be sure, but she’s found what she wants to do, and I think that matters.

She’s far from a single, though, and in fact, I’m going five-deep to try to finish this off. #2 WITHOUT A VIEW, #7 YO YO MON, #10 LA CUMPARSITA, and #12 CHARLOTTES WAY are on my ticket as well. I think the payoff potential goes up significantly if the likely favorite loses, and that this is the way to get a few extra bucks out of a sequence that may look a bit chalky at first glance.


R6: 1,5,6,7

R7: 5

R8: 4

R9: 2,5,7,10,12

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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