Saturday’s Florida Derby Day program at Gulfstream Park features a mandatory payout in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and I will take a swing at the expected massive carryover ($4.6 million entering Friday).
Here’s my preview of the action:
#1 Wisely experienced a less-than-favorable trip from post 10 last time and should appreciate the move inside. A fair amount of pace appears to be entered and 3yo colt is bred to be a good one on turf (by Candy Ride and the first foal out of an unraced full sister to a Grade 1 turf winner). He will look to save ground and roll home under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the second grass start. #2 Rhode Island is a half to a pair of turf stakes winners and makes his second career start for Shug McGaughey, who has enjoyed a terrific Gulfstream meet winning at a 21% rate. He adds blinkers and rates as a major contender from just off the pace.
Others can be added to the mix for the Rainbow 6 including #5 C C Rider, #6 Dagwood, #7 Art Collection, #8 Mr. Discretionary and #11 Repair the World.
I’m tabbing #2 Richard the Great for an upset in a tough race. The middle-distance specialist came up a little flat last time after stretching out to 1 1/8 miles and finishing fourth in the Sunshine Millions Classic, but the gelding has indicated his readiness for today with a pair of half-mile works in the four-week interim and I loved his last race at 7-furlongs, a 7 ½-length romp in last summer’s Trinniberg in which he netted impressive BRIS numbers (103 Speed and 105 Late Pace). The only other speed is drawn outside and I’m expecting a favorable forward trip from post 2.
Also want #7 Ready for Rye, #8 Realm and #9 Outplay for the Rainbow 6.
The Honey Fox (G3) is the first of four stakes races and #3 Stormy Victoria enters the one-mile test on the upswing for Christophe Clement, closing powerfully to win the South Beach by about a length (career-best 106 Late Pace rating). With two speedballs to her outside in the starting gate, she’ll receive the right set-up and can finish fastest of all with Tyler Gaffalione, who wins at an outstanding 20% clip on turf from 1,016 starts.
Will add graded stakes winners #2 Lull and #10 On Leave to go three-deep.
A head-scratcher. #8 C.S. Incharge turned a corner when recording a sharp maiden tally at Gulfstream two back and exits a game win in the Suncoast at Tampa. The improving Take Charge Indy filly doesn’t appear to be facing the stiffest competition in her graded bow and I’ll give the Dale Romans pupil a slight edge. The stretch out to a route could favor #4 Cache, who looks poised for a fine showing from off the pace.
Was a little underwhelmed by #3 Take Charge Paula last time but respect her chances with Jose Ortiz picking up the mount. #9 Princess Warrior showed fine class when finishing second in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall and appears headed back in the right direction after offering a strong finish last time versus Grade 3 foes on turf.
A Group 1 turf winner at the 1 ½-mile trip in Argentina, #3 Hi Happy got the chance to acclimate to his Northern Hemisphere surroundings when making four starts for trainer Felipe Souza in California last winter/spring. The 6yo was transferred to Todd Pletcher and returned from a 10-month layoff with a fast-closing third in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1), beaten only a length by the classy Heart to Heart at a 1 1/8-mile distance that was too short for him. Look for him to relish the added ground with a tightener under his belt and the projected pace scenario favors him as Hi Happy figures to keep the lone speed within striking range and get first run on the favorite.
Multiple Grade 1 winner #8 Sadler’s Joy will be used but the one-run closer must avoid leaving himself too much to do in the stretch.
The $1 million Florida Derby (G1) anchors the sequence and I will go with expected pacesetter, #1 Strike Power. Liked how the Speightstown colt stretched out to a route with a second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and the late foal (April 24) appears to be moving forward nicely for trainer Mark Hennig. He can lead wire to wire with further improvement. I’m also expecting a strong showing from #6 Catholic Boy, who should receive the perfect set-up if a speed duels develops up front. These are my two key horses.
#8 Audible stretches out to 9-furlongs after blowing away the competition in the Holy Bull (G2) eight weeks ago and must work out the proper trip from an outside post. The Pletcher pupil remains an imposing presence but looks vulnerable at short odds in my estimation.
Rainbow 6 Tickets
I will play multiple tickets (20-cent denomination) to keep the budget reasonable and leverage some opinions. The first is my main ticket.
Ticket 1: 1,2 with 2,7,8,9 with 2,3,10 with 3,4,8,9 with 3,8 with 1,6 ($76.80)
Ticket 2: 5,6,7,8,11 with 2,7,8,9 with 3 with 4,8 with 3,8 with 1,6 ($32)
Ticket 3: 1,2 with 2,7,8,9 with 2,3,10 with 4,8 with 3 with 8 ($9.60)