This is our second weekly Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes column for the VSiN.com website as we try to find spot plays each day along with the help of our handicapping friends while the coronavirus pandemic has shut down the majority of the rest of the sports world (I never thought I’d be typing such a sentence).
This is the update for Sunday as we try to end the week on a winning note (with a recap of Saturday’s plays at the end). Unlike Saturday where our panel agreed on several picks, we have three different opinions on Gulfstream Race No. 8. Choose the one who makes the best argument, box the picks or use them to eliminate horses like Richard Dreyfuss (as Jay Trotter) did in the classic “Let It Ride” movie.
Gulfstream Race No. 8 (4:39 p.m. ET/1:39 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #4 Morocco (6/1). “Red-hot jockey Luis Saez picks up the mount for top conditioner Michael Maker in this wide-open $50,000 claimer at a mile and a sixteenth over a firm turf course. The 6-year-old gelding cuts back after leading the likes of Zula Alpha and Somebeyay (who both ran second in graded stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday) in a Grade 2 event at a mile and three eighths. Look for Morocco to get a perfect stalking trip and fire in the lane.”
Duane Colucci likes #9 Ambassador Jim (8/1 morning line). “Ambassador Jim make his second start of the year for the Joe Orseno barn and it’s encouraging that John Velasquez takes the return mount. A slight improvement puts him right there in this $50,000 claiming race.”
Tuley’s Take is on another dropper from stakes company, #2 Dubby Dubbie (20/1 morning line). His last two races were duds, but if you read between the past-performance lines and look at when he drops into the optional claiming ranks, he runs his best races against weaker competition, so he shouldn’t be 20/1 against this bunch. He should be forwardly placed and is live at a price.”
Gulfstream Race No. 9 (5:11 p.m. ET/2:11 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes #6 Believe Indeed (8/1 morning line). “I don’t believe we’ll get 8/1 on this Peter Walder trainee who mostly runs on turf but is equally effective on dirt, including the 78 Beyer Figure earned over this track in December that would win this race if repeated. The work on March 21 shows the horse is fit despite being rank and pulled up two starts back.”
Oaklawn Race No. 9 (6:43 p.m. ET/3:43 p.m. PT)
John Lauro likes #2 New Colossus (4/1 morning line). “High-percentage trainer Karl Broberg runs very few horses at the big circuit tracks, but that’s a sign of confidence for this $62,000 allowance race at Oaklawn. Best bet of the weekend.”
Here are the picks from Saturday with a recap at the end.
Gulfstream Race No. 7 (2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT)
Tuley’s Take is that this is a wide-open ungraded minor stakes race. I have #7 Walk in Marrakesh (6/1) as the most likely winner, but could also see #4 Fujairah (20/1) or #9 Seducer (8/1) stealing it on the front end. I can also make a case for closers #2 Onyx (6/1) and #3 Stunning Sly (12/1). I won’t know who I’m betting to win until I see if any are overlays on the toteboard, but put me down for a 2-3-4-7-9 exacta box and probably a superfecta box (a five-horse, 10-cent super box costs just $12) in case they all hit the board and fill the top four spots.
Gulfstream Race No. 9 (3:34 p.m. ET/12:34 p.m. PT)
With the scratch of my previous top value play, #10 Jakarta (8/1 morning line) along with #3 Souper Escape (20/1), that now leaves #8 East Moon as the top value play in the race. Throw out her last race and she can compete with these as I expect her to be part of the early pace and hopefully she fires fresh off the layoff. She does have a case of seconditis (seven of her 15 starts), so I'll bet to win and place just in case. I'll also use in exotics with #2 Zofelle (9/2) as I regard her as the most likely winner.
Gulfstream Race No. 11 (4:49 p.m. ET/1:49 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #4 Lake Avenue (9/2 morning line). “Named for the popular thoroughfare near famed Saratoga Race Course, Lake Avenue attracts the services of sharp jockey Joel Rosario for perennial top-tier trainer Bill Mott. The 3-year-old filly, who has won two of four starts for more than $200,000, fits well in the over-subscribed Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth. Look for her to break on top and go gate-to-wire. If interested in playing exactas, box her with #5 Spice is Nice (3/1) and #9 Tonalist’s Shape (5/2).”
John Lauro likes a three-horse win parlay that starts with this race. In the 11th race, he likes #9 Tonalist’s Shape (5/2); in the 12th, he likes #9 Zulu Alpha (3/5); and in the 14th, he likes #7 Tiz the Law (6/5). If your book doesn’t allow you to parlay horses from multiple races, you can do it yourself by rolling over your winnings from race to race.
Gulfstream Race No. 13 (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes #2 Hembree (12/1 morning line). “The Appleton is the third race off a layoff for this closer that can compete at this level if not win. Hembree was making up ground late in his last race and should get a good trip under Rosario. I’ll use him in exacta with #7 Social Paranoia (10/1), who broke his maiden by eight lengths over this course and ran very competitive in most of the major 3-year-old turf races last year.”
Gulfstream Race No. 14 (6:36 p.m. ET/3:36 p.m. PT)
Duane Colluci likes #5 Gouverneur Morris (8/1 morning line). “Gouverneur Morris crushed in his prep at Tampa Bay Downs and has solid works for the Todd Pletcher barn heading into this Kentucky Derby prep. He has to beat the solid Tiz the Law from the barn of Barclay Tagg, who is no stranger to the Triple Crown trail as he trained the great Funny Cide.”
Tuley’s Take is that our top two choices -- #4 Soros and #3 Disc Jockey – were scratched, so that leaves #1 As Seen on TV (12/1 morning line but still holding that price as of 2:30 p.m. ET despite four horses being scratched) as the best chance to steal this race on the lead from the rail under red-hot jockey Paco Lopez. Just because this is a major Kentucky Derby prep doesn’t mean that the top contenders are the way to bet, especially this year with the Run for the Roses being pushed back to the First Saturday in September (besides, the change in the schedule gives a shot to these later-developing 3-year-olds to get on the Triple Crown trail). I’ll take #1 As Seen on TV to win and place if he’s at least 10/1 and will also use in exotics with my colleague’s picks of #7 Tiz the Law (7/5) and #8 Gouverneur Morris (8/1), as well as #12 Ete Indien (4/1), winner of the Fountain of Youth.
(Daily recap: All of our plays were at Gulfstream and some made good runs but Tiz the Law was the only one to find the winner’s circle for John Lauro as the favorite in the Florida Derby while his two other picks in a three-horse chalk parlay came up short with Tonalist’s Shape in the 11th and Zulu Alpha in the 12th. In the 7th, Stunning Sky was the only of my five horses to finish as high as fourth. In the 9th, High Moon never fired despite having a decent pace to run at. In the 11th, Ed Sehon’s Lake Avenue was in contention throughout but finished third. In the 13th, Hembree made a huge late move as Duane Colucci predicted, but was only able to get up for fourth. In the Florida Derby, the featured 14th race, Colucci’s and Sehon’s Gouverneur Morris raced midpack and finished fourth while my As Seen on TV showed a little early speed but faded