Gulfstream Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, April 4

Race 8 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 4:18 PM Eastern

Lady Panda gets the ground saving rail and has a great stalking style in a race with at least three “need the lead” types (Callie California, Ms Headley and Yolanda’s Pride) likely to set a fast pace which helps her out a lot. I think we can ignore her first five races even though three were excellent. The reason is the only two races relevant to her chances to succeed today where her last two, both since adding blinkers. She rallied for second in the first of the two on 1/31 then on 3/6 next out she rallied from fifth to draw off late, at the same mile trip at this race and under Gaffalione, who rides here. The 90 Equibase figure earned is better than BOTH favorites, Ghostly Beauty and Lookinlikeaqueen and I think she’s a great bet at even half her 10/1 morning line odds.

Hotty Toddy is another with overlay win bet potential, opening at 6/1. She has earned four of five career wins on the Gulfstream Turf, most recently one before last at 8 to 1 with a strong 88 figure. In her only start since, Hotty Toddy closed widest of all late and missed winning by a length and three-quarters. She’s going to be underbet because apprentice Wiseman rides but I’m not concerned as she too gets a hot pace to set up her late charge.

Favorites Ghostly Beauty and Lookinlikeaqueen are legitimate at least insofar as musts to use on exacta and trifecta tickets. Opening at 3/1 and 5/2, respectively, neither offer enough value for win bets. Ghostly Beauty has a 1-4-1 record in 11 turf races including two runner-up finishes in a row under identical conditions with no excuse. Lookinlikeaqueen won her most recent race, on 3/13, at this trip and similar level but was claimed away from Maker and loses Saez (although Jaramillo is competent).

Win: Bet both Lady Panda and Hotty Toddy at odds of 7 to 2 or higher.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Box Lady Panda, Hotty Toddy, Ghostly Beauty and Lookinlikeaqueen.

Box Lady Panda, Hotty Toddy, Ghostly Beauty and Lookinlikeaqueen.


Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:20 PM Eastern

There are a few stakes winners in this classified allowance with a $100K optional claiming price, and a few more who are stakes placed, and a few of those offer value when considering bets. First among those is Mai Ty One On, who has earned over 250K in his career. He’s opens at 12/1 because he is winless in six races this year and last year and perhaps also because his last 11 starts have all been sprints. However, the last time he ran around two turns, in April of 2018, he won here on the Gulfstream Park grass and he was 3 to 1 that day. He won two more races in 2018 and in spite of being winless in seven races since a couple of those have been excellent, including a neck loss under similar conditions in January one race before last. He put in a HUGE best of 46 half mile workout since his last race and his best Equibase figure of 109 stacks up very well with horses at much lower odds so he gets first call when considering who to be on to win and to use on exacta and trifecta tickets.

First Premio may have a class edge on these not only as he’s earned more than 400K but because when last seen in the fall he missed by less than a length in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. I’m not concerned about the six month layoff as he won off a longer, six and one-half month layoff, last January when taking the Colonel Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds. He’s been in steady training and either of a pair of 115 figure efforts last year would be good enough to win if he’s ready to go.

Halladay won a non-graded stakes for three year olds only over the course on December 28 then finished fourth of eight in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes on February in his most recent race. Saez takes over and of course is red hot so that’s a positive factor, as is the colt’s 6 to 1 starting odds. On the other hand, he usually races first or second early and gets the 11 post so Saez will have to pass a few other horses with tactical speed early so as not to lose too much ground into the first turn. Still, the 12/28 win earned a 108 figure and as a fairly newly turned four year old Halladay may not have run his best race.

Colonist is trained by Pletcher as is Halladay, and he opens at the higher odds of the pair at 10/1. He returns from a whopping 17 months off and as a new gelding but the layoff is not a problem as Pletcher has an amazing record with horses coming back from long layoffs, even those of over a year (3 for 9 in the past few years). Like First Premio, if Colonist is ready to return to the form shown in his last campaign in 2018, he can outrun what are likely to be double digit odds.

Win: Mai Ty One On to win at odds of 7 to 2 or more.
Instead of a place bet, we’ll play a back-wheel exacta which is listed below in the exacta section.

First Premio can be bet to win at 7 to 2 or higher.
Halladay can be bet at 9 to 2 or more.
In the event Colonist goes to post at 7 to 1 or higher, a minimum bet may be warranted so we aren’t kicking ourselves later.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Box Mai Ty One One, First Premio, Halladay and Colonist.
ALL over Mai Ty One On. (instead of a place bet).

Box Mai Ty One On, First Premio, Halladay and Colonist.

Daily Double: Mai Ty One On, First Premio, Halladay and Colonist in Race 10 with I’ll Fight Dempsey and Sonneman in Race 11.


Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:52 PM Eastern

I’ll Fight Dempsey was very impressive leading from start to finish and not giving any other horse a chance to run in his 2/29 career debut and may be the one to beat, BUT there is other “early” speed in the race (notably Ralston and Golden Candy) and although it’s likely I’ll Fight Dempsey can run just as well from off the pace, he may not be a good win bet opening at 9/5. Instead, for the win bet I’ll go with Sonneman, who improved nicely last August in career start number two with a second place finish then improved again in October with an eighth to first rally, five wide on the turn. The 87 Equibase figure in the fall as a two year old projects on par with the 95 figure I’ll Fight Dempsey earned in his debut and he’s been working in fine fashion for his comeback.

Win: There’s not a lot of value in win bets so that’s why I prefer doubles from the four contenders in race 10 but if Sonneman is anywhere near 9 to 5 near post time he’s a horse I will bet to win.

Trifecta: Considering I think the two contenders stick out against the rest of the field but also taking into account they are the two morning line favorites, there’s little value in the exacta so we can take a small swing with the trifecta as follows:

$1 trifecta: I’ll Fight Dempsey and Sonneman over I’ll Fight Dempsey and Sonneman over ALL.

Then for $0.50 we can play those two horses to finish first and third, with any other horse in second, as:

I’ll Fight Dempsey and Sonneman over ALL over I’ll Fight Dempsey and Sonneman.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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