Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gulfstream: A Look at the Eighth Race

As noted in a preceding post, Thursday’s eighth and feature race at Gulfstream is a $44,000 allowance at seven furlongs for 3-year-olds and up.

The race has a six-horse field that would be well-suited to an overnight stakes.

“It’s a good group,” said Henry Collazo, the trainer of Bullet Gone Astray who likely will be among the betting favorites along with Looks Good and Phish Fan.

“He (Bullet Gone Astray) is still maturing and getting better physically,” Collazo said.  “I think seven furlongs could be his best distance.”

Bullet Gone Astray is coming off a late-running third place finish on July 2 in the Carry Back (Grade 3), for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs at Gulfstream.

Bullet Gone Astray’s stature is enhanced if you look at “who beat him” in the Carry Back.

Rated R Superstar rallied to win the Carry Back by three-quarters of a length over Awesome Banner.  Bullet Gone Astray finished six lengths behind Awesome Banner,

Bullet Gone Astray came in 7 ¼ lengths ahead of fourth place finisher and nine lengths ahead of sixth place finisher Li’l Meatball.  Both are in Thursday’s field.

Rated R Superstar shipped in from Kentucky with a record that included a second place finish last Oct. 3 in the 1 1/16 mile Iroquois (Grade 3) at Churchill Downs.  Trainer Ken McPeek plans to run Rated R Superstar in the seven-furlong King’s Bishop (Grade 1) at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 27.

Awesome Banner won this year’s seven-furlong Swale  (Grade 2) and six-furlong Hutcheson (Grade 3) at Gulfstream.

Bullet Gone Astray was 33-1 in the Carry Back.  That was partly because of the presence of Rated  R Superstar  and Awesome Banner,

Bettors also noted that Bullet Gone Astray was winless in his previous eleven starts.

Last summer  he won his first two starts—a  maiden race  at Gulfstream and the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes at Mountaineer Park in Chester, W, Va. 

Collazo later tried him at a variety of distances, mostly in stakes.  He has two wins, one second place finish and four third place finishes in 14 starts.

Looks Good was an impressive winner at 6 ½ furlongs in a $30,000 claiming race at Gulfstream on June 25.

Phish Fan has what looks to be controlling speed and the advantage of being outside in post six.

Phish Fan likely will seek the lead, and  Bullet Gone Astray will settle near the  back of the pack. The other four horses, including long shot At the Ready, have shown versatile running styles.

Our prediction: 1. Bullet Gone  Astray; 2. Looks Good; 3. Dream of  Me.

Bullet Gone Astray is in post four.  Marcos Meneses rode him in the Carry Back and has the return mount.

Here is a look at the other horses in the field:
*Dream of Me (post 1) won last year’s $200,000 Dr. Fager Stakes at six furlongs on dirt at Gulfstream. That Aug. 8 race was the first leg of the Florida Sire Stakes Series for 2-year-olds

On Sept. 5, Dream of Me finished fourth in the Affirmed, the Sire Stakes seven-furlong second leg.  He did not race again until the Carry Back, where he appeared to tire in finishing fourth.

Bettors will note that Dream of  Me had a scorching bullet  workout of 34.3 seconds for three furlongs at  Calder this past Sunday.

Juan Leyva has the mount on Thursday for trainer  Anna  Varsi.

*Li’l Meatball was third after a half mile in the Carry Back, 
but faded  to sixth.

He had two wins and two third place finishes in six starts last year.

One victory was in the 6 ½ furlong Juvenile Sprint  on Nov. 7 at the Gulfstream Park West meet held at Calder.
Li;l Meatball took an uncontested lead in that race and won by 1 ¼ lengths over the highly regarded closer Fellowship.

Bullet Gone Astray  finished third, another  neck  behind.
Miguel Vasquez will ride Li’l Meatball for trainer  David Braddy.

*Looks Good (post 3) is a four-year-old colt making his seventh career start.

Last Aug. 8 he finished second in the seven-furlong Jackson Bend stakes at Gulfstream. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount for trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

*At the Ready (post 5) will race for the first time on dirt, following five turf starts, He has two wins in non-stakes races. He has not raced since Jan.2 when he finished seventh in the Palm Beach (Grade 3).

Jose Gallego will ride for trainer Joe Hennessey.

*Phish Fan (post 6) has finished no better than fourth in his last three starts, all at Gulfstream after taking early leads.
Last year, his record at Gulfstream included a fast gate to wire win at seven furlongs on a sloppy track in a $62,500 optional claiming race

Luca Panici has the mount for trainer Leo Gabriel Jr.
--Jim Freer

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