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Road to Kentucky Week 3

submitted by The Oracle

It’s a beautiful day in South Florida with a fast main track and a firm turf course at Gulfstream Park. Two feature races today, the Grade 2 Hutcheson featuring Travelin Man and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth featuring To Honor and Serve. Both of these races are double point races for today’s contest. The “breakeven” score this week is about 800 points, so the magic total to have a great chance to win the week is 2,000 points. Good Luck!

Race 1: This is a maiden claiming sprint for 3yo at 7f. The easy call for me here was Cho (ML 5-1) who has dominant pace figures and should be lone speed. No chance on getting 5-1 on this obvious pace play.

The Result: Achaemenes (2-1) was an easy winner for Pletcher in a wire to wire score, with Wicky Jones (7/2) up in the final stride for second and Take a Walk (14-1) finished third. Achaemenes was a second time starter dropping into mcl and top trainer. Something went amiss with my selection Cho (2-1) as he didn’t show his early speed and dropped far out of it on the turn.

Maximum Points: Achaemenes 134
Maximum Score: 134
My Score: 0

Race 2: This is a claiming turf route for 4+ fillies and mares. I selected Evening Gown (ML 10-1) based on some good training stats for Fawkes. She should be forwardly placed early and also won her debut so the layoff should be no problem.

The Result: It was a good race to pick a longshot because the heavy favorite was nowhere to be found at the wire. Lady Kafca (9-1) was the winner over You’re Too Wild (13-1) and Lady Loushe (11-1). The winner did have the top lifetime turf speed figure in the field. Nothing from my selection who faded badly at 9-1…

Maximum Points: Lady Kafca 384
Maximum Score: 518
My Score: 0

Race 3: This is an Allowance race at 1m1/8 for 3yo’s. I couldn’t get away from favored Arch Traveler (ML 2-1) in this spot as it appears to be a race that will be dominated by the favorites.

The Result: Arch Traveller (2-1) stalked and scored over closing Nacho Business (2-1) and Washington’s Rules (5/2) was third.

Maximum Points: Arch Traveller 120
Maximum Score: 638
My Score: 120

Race 4: This is a claiming turf route for 4+ at 1m1/16. I selected Slammy Boy (ML 6-1) who has a late kick and should show some improvement in his second start off the layoff.

The Result: Great betting race as Screenplay (7-1) upset the favorite Show the Way J (4/5). Papaw Bodie (5-1) finished third. Screenplay was making his second start off the layoff and had turf victories at 8-1 and 7-1 on form. My selection showed a bit more early speed than usual but didn’t run on at crunch time.

Maximum Points: Strike Impact 250
Maximum Score: 888
My Score: 120

Race 5: This is an Allowance turf route for 4+ at the unusual distance of 1m7/16. I selected Headache (ML 8-1) who may have a class and pace advantage on this bunch and speed at the marathon distances can be under bet at times. The negative is he tries the turf for the first time and his turf pedigree is average.

The Result: Beckham Bend grabbed the early lead and went wire to wire at 9-1 with Sporty (9/2) second and Headache (4-1) third. The speed angle worked but I chose the wrong speed. The winner was making his first start since last August at Delaware and now has 5 wins from 12 starts.

Maximum Points: Beckham Bend 382
Maximum Score: 1,270
My Score: 158

Race 6: This is a maiden special weight for 3yo at 1m. I selected king Alpha (ML 15-1) who makes his second career start for Zito after breaking slowly from the rail in his debut. The Pletcher second time starter San Pablo is strictly the one to beat.

The Result: San Pablo won at 3/5 over Point of Entry (6-1) and Meistersinger (45-1). Point of entry got the most contest points for his second place finish. No run from my pick at 15-1 odds.

Maximum Points: Point of Entry 90
Maximum Score: 1,360
My Score: 158

Race 7: This is an Allowance turf route for 4+ at 1m1/16. I selected Perfect Bullet (ML 15-1) who ships in from Woodbine and returns from a short layoff. He’s a huge longshot getting a trainer switch but the favorites don’t look like anything special.

The Result: Mikoshi (5-1) was just up at the wire in a blanket finish over Deal Making (14-1) and Guys Reward (2-1). Very tough race with all runners within 5 lengths at the wire! Mikoshi hadn’t run since November and had won the prior two times he came back off a layoff.

Maximum Points: Mikoshi 252
Maximum Score: 1,612
My score: 158

Race 8: This is the Grade 2 Davona Dale for 3yo fillies at 1m. I selected Pomeroy’s Pistol (ML 6-1) who has great early speed and defeated the race favorite last time out despite getting into a pace battle. The heavy favorite is Dancinginherdreams, currently the odds-on choice.

The Result: R Heat Lightning was very impressive for Pletcher as she won easily at 5/2 over Dancinginherdreams (6/5) and Pomeroys Pistol (6-1). She turned the tables in her second start off the layoff. Pletcher gets his third win of the day.

Maximum Points: Demarcation 126
Maximum Score: 1,738
My Score: 188

Race 9: This is the Grade 2 Hutcheson for 3yos at 7f. Travelin Man looks like a heavy favorite off his maiden victory. Can’t knock him, plus Pletcher is hot. I selected Little Drama (ML 20-1) who makes his 3yo debut today and is the only other runner in the field that can match the favorite’s pace figures on paper. He’s a bomb but he should be in the mix early at the very least. Leave of Absence was another worth considering as he appeared to be the only late runner in the field and he was ML 12-1.

The Result: Flashpoint (6-1) for Dutrow was very impressive as he sat outside favored Travelin Man (3/5) and won by open lengths. Little Drama (50-1) ran on to be third. He didn’t show the early speed I was expecting but was best of the rest. Great effort by the winner and a great price as the Pletcher horse took all the money.

Maximum Points: Flashpoint 512
Maximum Score: 2,250
My Score: 388

Race 10: This is the featured Grade 2 Fountain of Youth for 3yos at 1m1/8. The favorites look pretty tough in here and I selected Soldat (2-1) who won big over an off track in his last start. Also, trainer McLaughlin has been on fire the past month (12/28). Favored To Honor and Serve makes his 2011 debut for Mott after winning two big stakes in New York last fall. Will he be cranked up today? Beat him to cash.

The Result: Soldat broke sharply and wired the field as the 7/5 favorite. Gourmet Dinner (7/2) rallied for second and To Honor and Serve (8/5) finished third. Moderate pace helped Soldat on the front end but he won it with a touch of class today. The top 3 finishers will likely move on to the Florida Derby.

Maximum Points: Soldat 200
Maximum Score: 2,450
My Score: 588

Race 11: The finale is a maiden claimer on the turf for 3yo’s at 7.5 furlongs. It looks like bombs away in this one so I selected Stormy the Cat (ML 15-1). He has a solid turf pedigree and shows two decent efforts on the turf. Expecting some fireworks here…

The Result: Stormy the Cat got the money at 8-1 over Foolish Tiger (2-1) and Dax (9-1). Bravo did a nice job on the winner not getting stopped in traffic at the top of the stretch when things bunched up. Stormy the Cat had faced Arch Traveler in his prior maiden race on the dirt and that one came back to win impressively in Allowance company today.

Maximum Points: Stormy the Cat 328
Maximum Score: 2,778
My Score: 916

Summary: Soldat looked good winning the Fountain of Youth for McLaughlin, and there was a good mix of medium range prices sprinkled throughout the card. Numerologists who fancied the 5 are laughing all the way to the bank and will be prominently featured on Page 1 of the results. Look for the winning score to be in the neighborhood of 1700 points this week as there were no big bombers to be had. Next week we are at Aqueduct for the featured Gotham Stakes and we try again to solve this elusive equine puzzle.