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Free Gulfstream Park Picks For 23rd Feb
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Free Gulfstream Park Picks For 23rd Feb

With no meaningful prep races on the road to the Kentucky Derby this weekend, we’ll focus our attention on the Grade III Hal’s Hope which is run at 1-mile on the Gulfstream Park main track in Hallandale, Florida. While the weather forecast is currently calling for overnight rain showers, the day looks otherwise sunny with temperatures in the high 70s.

Now let’s find some picks for the action…

Race 11 – The Hal’s Hope (21:58 GMT / 16:58 ET)

This race came up a bit challenging with three of the main contenders coming off layoffs of 8 months or longer. The likely shortest price of those – Quip, hasn’t raced since a disastrous outing in the Grade 1 Preakness where he finished last of 8, 45 lengths behind eventual Triple Crown winner, Justify over a sloppy track. Quip was entered in a race at Fair Grounds last week but his connections decided to keep him in Florida.

While Quip has been working well, I’m not willing to take a short price off such a long layoff. His trainer has bigger plans for him in the future. The same holds true for Tale of Silence, who breaks from the rail. Tale of Silence is lined at 5-1 but hasn’t raced since winning a Grade III race at Belmont Park last May. Tale of Silence’s trainer – Barclay Tagg is known for taking his time with his horses and I have a feeling he won’t be fully cranked for this race.

Breaking Lucky, the 2-1 morning line favorite, owns the best speed figures in the field and has earned over a million dollars. Nobody else in the race has that type of resume and while Breaking Lucky appears to be the one to beat, I will be looking for a rank outsider to upset the applecart in the Hal’s Hope.

Free Picks for The Hal’s Hope:

Prince Lucky @ 9.00 SkyBet
Mr Jordan @ 11.00 SkyBet
Sir Anthony @ 21.00 SkyBet

Race 5 – Allowance Optional Claiming (18:58 GMT / 13:58 ET)

Race 5 is an interesting little Allowance Optional Claiming race which could very well produce some stakes players in the near future. Here I’ll be using Tiz Mischief (6-1 morning line). Tiz Mischief began his career in Kentucky racing at different tracks around the state for shrewd trainer, Dale Romans. After a failed run at the Triple Crown trail and an unsuccessful attempt at turf, Romans ran him in the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes where he finished a game 2nd behind King Zachery at 10-1. Tiz Mischief followed that up with a win off a long layoff at Churchill Downs but the wheels came off in his most recent start as the favorite. His connections still think enough of his quality to keep him in this company and after 5 solid workouts and I think he’s primed for a solid effort. Favored Brasstown looks to be the controlling speed from the rail but his class will be tested here as he’s never faced this caliber of horse.

Free Picks for Allowance Optional Claiming:

Tiz Mischief
Hy Kodiak Warrior
Eye of a Jedi

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Race 10 – Maiden Special Weight (21:28 GMT / 16:28 ET)

Maiden races with loads of first-time-starters are always a challenge to handicap but I see enough evidence to take a chance on Historian (8-1). I typically try to avoid betting on first-time-starters breaking from the inside but Historian is bred to have speed and to win early. Offspring of his sire, Into Mischief have scored in 12% of their debuts while the damsire, Maria’s Mon was a precocious type, winning multiple graded stakes as a 2-year-old. Hailing from the blue-blooded barn of Winstar LLC and the China Horse Club (just like last year’s Triple Crown winner, Justify) with Jose Ortiz – one of the best in the business aboard all support my case to put Historian into the winner’s circle.

The favorite in the race – Where Paradise Lay – looks like a solid horse but he’s also likely to be closer to even money than his 5-2 morning line odds suggest. Additionally, his trainer Stanley Hough is winning at 44% however he’s 0 for 4 with his second-time-starters. With a low % jockey named to ride, I don’t need any more reasons to look elsewhere.

Free Picks for Maiden Special Weight:

Where Paradise Lay

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Race 12 – The Texas Glitter Stakes (22:28 GMT / 17:28 ET)

The Texas Glitter Stakes is a race for three-year-olds run at 5 furlongs on the grass and pits two likely favorites: Yes I Am Free (2-1) and Standup (3-1) against one another for the second time in their young careers. They’re both coming out of the same quickly-run race on January 17th at Gulfstream Park where Yes I Am Free just held off Standup who was closing like an express train.

With more speed signed on including Never Have I Ever (IRE) and Gladiator King, the race looks like it sets up for Standup. Standup comes from the Todd Pletcher barn and is ridden by hall of fame jockey, Javier Castellano. I can easily see a pace meltdown happening with so much speed signed on and Standup closes to pick up the pieces.

Free Picks for The Texas Glitter Stakes:

Standup @ 4.00 BetVictor, SkyBet

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