Race 8: I really don't like the breeding, the draw and the connections of the morning line favorite Wildcat Frankie. His Beyers are gaudy, but his ability beyond 5 1/2 furlongs still can be questioned. Tossing the chalk leaves the door open for many to finish in the top, so I'l spread out with two logical choices and two bombs.
First the Logical choices - Overcommunication toyed with a small field at the Big A in his lone start. What that means, I'm still not sure. But this three-year-old is getting some winter buzz and with a big win he may end up on the trail to the Florida Derby. Soldier Field is one of, I don't know, 20 Derby contenders WinStar Farm has in the barn. Gulfstream doesn't favor his come-from-behind style, but with any kind of speed duel he has a real shot.
The Bombs: Enigmatic has run true to his name - two stinkers with a win at today's distance in between. Take heed of his connections win percentage 40% at track and 35% the last two years with a return on investment of $3.68. Tuvia's Force's human connections have similar big numbers 46% at track and 31% the last two years. This is especially noteworthy since Johnny V. is not off many Pletcher horses as is the case in this race.
The Play: $1 Ex Box 3-4-5-8 for $12.
The Pick Three is filled with two legitimate short-priced favorites and a wide-open closing leg.
Race 9, Grade I GP Turf Handicap: Court Vision is a deserving favorite, but he just doesn't win enough for my liking: three wins from his last 15 starts. The distance is also a question with his one win going 1 1/8 was in the Jamaica Handicap almost a year and a half ago. In this race last year, he couldn't get to the winner and was passed by long shot Just as Well. He goes in the play, but Yates Black Cat is my top choice at a much better price. He exploded for convincing win at the track and distance in his first start of 2010. He also has five wins at Saturday's distance.
Race 10, Grade I Donn: Try as I might, I can't find anyone to beat Quality Road. If he runs back to his Hal Hope race, which was not his best, he wins - easily. Keep it simple, take the single at even money or less.
Race 11, Grade III Suwannee River: This is a wide open turf affair. Let's get right to it. Aaroness is likely to get a good trip and if there's room at the rail turning for home, she's in the mix at 12-1. Astrologie is either a good horse with no luck or a horse that creates her own bad luck. Regardless I'm afraid to leave her off my el cheapo ticket. Indigo North finished behind two next out winners in her first start of the season going a mile at Gulfstream a month ago - that's enough for me to add another long shot to the mix. Lemonette is a mare I like, one that I seem to leave off my ticket when she runs well and bet her heavy when she comes up short. She likes to finish second (10 times from 26 lifetime starts), but gets on the ticket just in case. Tottie goes for underrated trainer Chad Brown. With seven horses likely to be within 2 lengths of each other approaching the wire, Lady Shakespeare is the last of my spread play in the finale.
The Play: $1 Pick Three 2-3/4/1-6-7-8-11-12 for $12. Good luck with your wagers!