Key Races & Bets for Saturday February 5, 2022


Kitten’s Joy Stakes – Race 7 at Gulfstream – Post Time 3:01 PM Eastern

Win contenders are Royal SpiritRed Danger and Grand Sonata.

Royal Spirit is one of two from the Pletcher barn, the other being Grand Sonata, and both have a shot but Royal Spirit opens at the better odds of the pair at 5 to 1 because he’s coming in off a maiden win whereas Grand Sonata just won the Dania Beach Stakes on New Year’s Day. However, Royal Spirit ran better, with a 95 Equibase Speed Figure compared to 85 for Grand Sonata, and even though that win came in a maiden race Royal Spirit finished second in a stakes two before that, the Nownownow at Monmouth. Lopez has been aboard in all three starts since his debut and rides back and this colt has every right to win his second in a row, and his first stakes, in this situation. Grand Sonata has won two of four, the other coming in his second career start in an off-turf race. Gaffalione was up for both wins but not the two defeats and the rail certainly doesn’t hurt. The 3/1 morning line is fair but he did go to post at 6 to 5 last time out.

Red Danger won the Pulpit Stakes in December when last seen in spite of Leparoux losing the crop at the eighth pole so that was quite an effort in a field of 11 when rallying from sixth and still second when Julien dropped the crop. The colt is now three for four on grass and except for his debut in a dirt sprint hasn’t run a bad race so can be counted on for an “A” race good enough to win.

Handicapper Picks

Win betRoyal Spirit at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Red Danger, who opens at 7 to 2, can be bet at 5 to 2 or more but I think just one win bet is warranted here because except for likely odds much lower than his 3 to 1 morning like, Grand Sonata can win as well.


Royal Spirit over Grand SonataCoinageSpeaking ScoutFather Glado and Red Danger

Trifecta: Royal SpiritGrand Sonata and Red Danger over Royal SpiritGrand Sonata and Red Danger over Grand SonataCoinageSpeaking ScoutRoyal SpiritFather Glado and Red Danger


Race 7: Royal Spirit

Race 8: GreatitudeRadio DaysGirl With a DreamDiamond Wow

Race 7: Royal SpiritGrand SonataRed Danger

Race 8: GreatitudeRadio DaysGirl With a DreamDiamond Wow

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Forward Gal Stakes – Race 8 at Gulfstream – Post Time 3:33 PM Eastern

Diamond Wow and Greatitude are win the contenders which are likely to offer the best value for win bets. Radio Days and Girl With a Dream are win contenders as well but best used on double tickets only.

Diamond Wow returns from nearly four months off in a dirt sprint but the way she won her career debut last August, easily by three lengths in a field of 10, suggests that no problem. She won the Our Dear Peg Stakes here at Gulfstream Park and at this seven furlong trip right after that then missed by a head in the Grade 2 Jessamine Stakes (on grass) before taking time off to mature and start her three year old campaign. Maragh was up for her first two races and rides back and the filly is working very well so there is every reason to suspect she’s good enough to win this grade 3 stakes after just missing in a grade 2 last fall and having won at this distance on dirt before that. That and her 9 to 2 starting odds give her slight preference.

Greatitude opens at 5 to 1 which is very high for the only Pletcher runner in this race and in spite of breaking her maiden easily on December 19 on dirt at 3 to 5 odds. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides and the filly won from just off the pace in second at the distance so there are no issues with her needing the lead or the distance and considering Pletcher consistently wins back-to-back about 30% of the time this gal deserves a lot of respect.

Two contenders at lower odds are Radio Days and Girl With a Dream, the former unbeaten in two starts though none a stakes and the latter three-for-five including a win at Fair Grounds in a non-graded stakes in December. They have no knocks except Girl With a Dream ran poorly in her only previous seven furlong try but she’s vastly improved since then. Radio Days has been off two months versus Greatitude and her maiden win, though impressive, came in a six horse field. We should use both on pick 3, double and pick 4 tickets played.

Handicapper Picks

Win BetsDiamond Wow AND Greatitude (either or both) to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

This is a good race in which to proportion our bets accordingly for the best mathematical edge. This can be best accomplished by using a “Dutching Tool” like the one which is free and easy to use at A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.


Greatitude and Diamond Wow over GreatitudeRadio DaysGirl With a Dream and Diamond Wow over GreatitudeRadio DaysGirl With a Dream and Diamond Wow

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Sweetest Chant Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream – Post Time 4:37 PM Eastern

Ocean SafariBattle Charge and Hal’s Dream are the win contenders.

Battle Charge gets slight preference over the other two win contenders because her most recent race, on December 8 at Tampa, was very strong. She stalked in second in the early stages and took over as needed before drawing off. That was her first route and first turf try and she passed both tests with flying colors. She has a very consistent 2-2-1 record in five races and in two of the runner-up efforts she missed by a head. Trainer Hamm has a knack for keeping his horses in form with a nearly 30% back-to-back win rate the past two years and the filly’s last two works at Tampa before shipping over were great. She gets Gaffalione and opens at 5 to 1.

Ocean Safari opens at slightly lower 4 to 1 odds compared to Battle Charge but like that one this filly has done little wrong in her career. She missed in a four horse photo first out in a turf route in her debut then won easily, also on turf, before a more irrelevant third place finish on all-weather. Rested two and one-half moths to mature she returned in the Ginger Brew Stakes on New Year’s Day and rallied from fifth to LEAD with an eighth of a mile to go before settling for second. Castellano rides back and she could be much more fit second off the layoff.

Hal’s Dream offers the best value for win bets among the trio of contenders, opening at 12/1. She returns from two months off in a turf route but that is of NO concern as she won her career debut in a tough turf route (field of 12) at Keeneland last October, rallying from 11th of 12 to win by a nose on the wire under Hernandez, Jr. The jock did not ride back when she tried dirt for the Golden Rod Stakes, where she checked in last of eight, and that’s an irrelevant race anyway since it was on dirt. Back on turf, reunited with Hernandez, and with any kind of effort like that debut last fall, Hal’s Dream has a shot to post the upset win here.

Handicapper Picks

Win betsBattle Charge and Ocean Safari have minimum odds of 5 to 2 for a win bet and I’d bet whichever is the highest odds near post time.

Hal’s Dream should be bet to win at odds of 9 to 2 or more.

This is another race where, when wagering on two horses (or more) for the best mathematical edge, a DUTCHING tool like the one at Amwager, really helps us maximize the value for our win bets.


Box Ocean SafariBattle Charge and Hal’s Dream


Race 10: Ocean SafariBattle ChargeHal’s Dream

Race 11: GaltSimplification

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Holy Bull Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream – Post Time 5:10 PM Eastern

Galt and Simplification are the top win contenders.

Although Galt just earned his first win in his most recent start, the third of his career, he will be my top pick, and a strong one at that, in this year’s Holy Bull Stakes. There are many reasons to think this son of Medaglia d’Oro can win, the first of which is that he is trained by Bill Mott, who has an uncanny ability to know when his recently turned three year olds are the right caliber to compete in Road to the Derby stakes races. When taking blinkers off and running in a dirt route for the first time on December 26, Galt ran tremendously better than he had in his two prior starts. Drawing the same rail position he gets for the Holy Bull, Galt saved ground then came around a pair of runners to rally into a very slow pace in the stretch before drawing off decisively. Admittedly, the 84 Equibase Speed Figure isn’t nearly as fast as the 93 figure likely favorite Mo Donegal earned last December winning the Remsen Stakes, but it was a big improvement off his previous two races and as he’s making his second start following two and one-half months off, Galt is going to move up considerably off the effort. Back to Mott’s record with three year olds early in the year coming off maiden wins and running in stakes races, the Hall-of-Fame trainer saddled Tacitus to win the 2019 Tampa Bay Derby off a maiden win, saddled Modernist to win the 2020 Risen Star Stakes off a maiden win, saddled Candy Man Rocket to win the 2021 Sam F. Davis Stakes off a maiden win, and saddled Hofburg to a runner-up finish in the 2018 Florida Derby. Another reason I expect Galt to run very well in a graded stakes race is he is a FULL BROTHER to two-time Champion Songbird, winner of $4.6 million and nine consecutive graded stakes around two turns in her three year old campaign. As the reason for the big turnaround in form on December 26 is easily identifiable (blinkers off) and as he won without Lasix so racing without the medication is not an issue here, I expect Galt to post the mild upset and throw his name in the ring as a strong contender on the Road to the Derby, staring in the Holy Bull Stakes.

However, in order to win, Galt is going to have to run down Simplification, who enters the race off a wire-to-wire win in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on New Year’s Day with a field high 98 figure. Two races before that, Simplification won a six furlong sprint by a whopping 16 and three-quarter lengths with a 99 figure. Javier Castellano rode the colt to his last win and will be in the saddle again in the Holy Bull. I have no concern about the fact that Simplification is trying two-turns for the first time as (per Race Lens) relatively new sire Not This Time has had six of 18 of his sons or daughters win two-turn races to date, including recent Lecomte Stakes runner-up Epicenter, who had won the Gun Runner Stakes prior to that. As such, Simplification has a big chance to get out on an easy lead and get very brave just as he did last month in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, and no matter how successful Galt might be in closing into a slow pace as he was in his victory at the end of December, it may be too tall of an order in this situation.

Comments about some of the others, who may be competitive but who I believe are a cut below the top two in terms of probability to win – Although most of the others have credentials to be competitive, with the exception of Eloquist, who is overmatched, they are all giving away some physical edge to Galt and Simplification. For example, Mo Donegal has been away from the races since December 4, and a Race Lens query reveals trainer Todd Pletcher possesses a four for 30 record with three year olds in dirt route stakes over the last five years coming back from such a layoff. The same can be said for Tiz the Bomb, who needed a sprint prep race last spring before winning a route.

Handicapper Picks

Win BetsGalt and Simplification at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Exacta or Trifecta (using the same horses below in third which are listed for second):

Galt and Simplification over GaltMo DonegalSimplificationCajun’s MagicTiz the BombWhite Abarrio and Giant Game

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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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