Horseracing: The Barbara Fritchie at Laurel and The Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream. Let’s Gamble Babes.

Featured, Sports and Bets — February 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm by

Football is done and I just can’t bet on basketball, so now my attention shifts to the ponies.  Of course, my attention never really leaves the horses, it just gets a little more easily diverted with the pigskin in full swing.  It doesn’t hurt that the latest crop of Kentucky Derby hopefuls are now racing through the prep races that will determine the field for that first Saturday in May.  Now is when those Derby preps heat up; the designated prep races are worth more Kentucky Derby qualifying points from here on out.  The first of these bigger and badder prep races is the Fountain of Youth, which is being run Saturday at beautiful Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.  The horses that run well Saturday will then be pointed toward the Florida Derby, and then ultimately Kentucky.  So the Fountain of Youth is kind of a big deal, babes.

Meanwhile, up here in Maryland, the Barbara Fritchie Handicap for older fillies is being run here in Laurel.  The Fritchie was originally scheduled to go two weeks ago, but it snowed like hell and they had to move it.  We can discuss the wisdom of even racing at Laurel in the dead of winter another time, but the racing at Laurel has improved with the influx of casino dough.  Barbara Fritchie is famous for being 95 years old and waving an American Flag at Stonewall Jackson and his troops as they passed her house in Frederick, Maryland.  Of course, she wasn’t really the person who waved the flag, Mary Quantrell was, and of course it’s doubtful that Jackson and his troops even passed by her house, but she was a prominent Marylander so they wrote a poem about her and this incident that never happened.  She also gets a horse race for female horses named after her too;  not bad for an ol’ girl that was probably sick in bed when the Confederates did pass through her town.

Anyway, we’ll be handicapping both of these races for your pleasure and I’ve thrown in two other races at Gulfstream that caught my eye.  It’s going to be 60 degrees and spring like at Laurel tomorrow.  Go bet the horses, Laurel Park is a cool place.

We’ll start in our home state:

The Barbara Fritchie Handicap:

The #1 Centrique and the #3 La Verdad are both coming off of first place finishes while posting career best Beyer speed figures.  Both are out of state invaders, Centrique shipped up from Gulfstream to avoid a battle with Groupie Doll (a wise choice), and La Verdad is coming out of an extremely successful year dominating allowance and optional allowance claiming company in New York.  This is a good spot for both and both are nice horses.  But given their prices, I’m going to try to beat them both.  La Verdad should have some company on the lead, and that extra furlong should hurt her down the stretch.  Centrique will probably save ground from the rail and stalk, but I like the #4 My Wandy’s Girl to stalk a little better from that four hole and wear down the two favorites in deep stretch.  If La Verdad is left alone out front, she’ll probably win.  If Centrique decides to get in a speed duel with La Verdad, I’m golden with the 4.  Anyway of the three ways you cut it, I’m cool with My Wandy’s Girl coming off the pace.  Rajiv Maragh in the saddle and great works add to the appeal.

Now to Gulfstream:

There’s a chance for some isolated thunderstorms during the day and a 40% chance of a thunderstorm in the early evening.  Keep an eye out for track conditions.  I’m guessing and handicapping like the weather will be ok and the track fast, even if they get a storm or two.

Race 6 OC 75k/N1X: 

This is a nice optional claimer with a nice horse entered in the #10 position.  The #3 Constitution and the # 8 Tonalist are the ML favorites here, but I love the #10 Mexikoma.  Mexikoma destroyed a field by 14 lengths in his maiden victory at Delaware Park and he looked great doing it.  In fact he looked so good, his connections entered him in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile.  He finished 6th that day, but only by 3 and 3/4 lengths.  He was mired in traffic in the back of the field after a slow start, but he was game in the stretch and looked good passing other game horses and tired rivals.  It was a nice learning experience, and now he’s had the winter to train.  He’s 5-1 here and he’ll be able to stay clear of trouble on the outside with the masterful Joel Rosario as his pilot.  He’s got the pedigree for distance and Rosario’s agent puts his star rider on primed ponies.  Bingo.

Race 10 Canadian Turf Grade 3:

We are going upset city here with the #12 Abtaal.  There are a ton of nice turf runners here and a legit argument could be made for 8 or 9 of these horses, but with Mr. Online on the rail, and enough similar styled horses to keep him from being on the lead alone, I’ll look for a bomb.  The #12 Abtaal will be my gamble.  Abtaal took a year off after running the turf circuit in France.   He was a group 3 winner at 2 years old and has a nice sire in Rock Hard Ten.  Nice debut at Gulfstream is the perfect prep for this, he came from way wide in that affair to win at the wire.  Look for a big charge late from this intriguing entry.  Put in exacta with the ever consistent #6 Bad Debt.

Race 11 Fountain of Youth Grade 2:

This race is loaded.  There’s talent and potential up and down this bad boy.  But as always, I’m looking for value and talent together.  I want a horse that has legit Derby speed at a price.  So I’ll go with #6 Wildcat Red.  Red blasted the field in the Hutchenson here a few weeks ago and is training real well.  He can stalk or gun for the lead; I like it when horses show that bit of versatility at this age.  His 96 Beyer on this track jumps off the page and he looks all systems go.  General a Rod, Top Billing and the Commissioner will be top contenders.  This should be a great race, with a lot of options, but at 6-1 Wildcat Red is an easy pick for me.



One Comment

  1. spell check gulfstream in the title

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