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Friday, February 14, 2014

Gulfstream Friday

Aqueduct canceled today, and watch out this weekend too.  It's when we get all this rain/snow and the temperature hovers around freezing that you see the freeze/thaw cycles that has caused problems on the inner track in the past.

In warmer climes, Pletcher hasn't had a winner at Gulfstream since Sunday, but that's only because he hasn't had a starter. The Toddster has won at least one race on each of the last 12 days on which he's had a horse entered; on three of occasions, he won with the only one he had.  Starting from November 30, what Gulfstream considers to be the official start of the meet, Pletcher has a record of 142-45-26-16, a 32% winning percentage.  Next in the standings is Michael Maker, not too shabby himself at 84-25-9-13 (30%).

I wrote about the speed figures for the Donn, those of us at TimeformUS and the Beyer, on the TimeformUS blog.

Pletcher doesn't have a starter until tomorrow, but Maker sends Bernie the Maestro (4-1) out in the 4th today. Last time out, he set a torrid pace in the mile and an eighth Florida Sunshine Millions Classic which was won in facile fashion by Mucho Macho Man.  Today, he cuts back to seven furlongs, a distance at which he is 7-3-3-0 on dirt, and at which he's a nose away from having won his last two in a row.  He'll likely need a stalking trip to avoid getting caught in a duel with Evolution Rocks (9-5), but has done so successfully in the past, and picks up leading rider Castellano, with whom Maker has enjoyed much success of late.

In the 7th, Ayrton (5-1) is an interesting entry for trainer Manuel Azpurua, who has shown signs of life the last couple of days with a winner, a second, and two thirds from six starters, including some live runners at big prices.  This horse added Lasix for a start on January 23, and this is his 4th start since then!  In addition to becoming so prolific, he has shown vastly improved speed in his two turf route tries, the last of which was a good second with a highly competitive TimeformUS speed figure.  His last race, just a week ago, was a curious one, at five furlongs against far better; he trailed all the way around, and it seems almost like a workout. Stretches back out here, and is projected for a nice stalking trip from his inside post.  Valerie'sgreenjet (10-1) is forecast as the leader by Pace Projector; he has shown improved speed and form since returning from a 289 day layoff last fall.

In the 8th, Salamera (3-1) is another horse who has returned in sharp form after a long layoff; this one some 384 days.  Unusually-bred (inbred 2x4 to Valid watch out if there's any moisture left in the track), lightly raced four-year old daughter of Successful Appeal will be making her third start off the layoff for trainer Rodolfo Garcia, 3-0-1 with his last five starters.  She earned the best last-out TFUS speed figure in the field in her last, finishing third in the Florida Millions F&M Sprint behind the streaking Ullapool and My Pal Chrisy, who returned with a bang-up second in an overnight stakes, and Castellano sticks around to ride again.  Best of luck and have a great day.