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Need some help getting started? Racing analyst Keeler Johnson is ready to share his plays for this week’s contest action:
May 9: Featured Race: Sunshine Forever S.
$1,000 Bonus Cash
To pick the top four finishers in Saturday’s Sunshine Forever S. at Gulfstream Park.
Here’s the thousand-dollar question—what do we do with #12 War of Will (10-1)? Victorious in the 2019 Preakness (G1), the three-time graded stakes winner is by far the most accomplished runner in this 1 1/16-mile grass race. But War of Will regressed significantly during the second half of 2019 and will have to rebound while returning from a six-month layoff, breaking from the far outside post, and racing on turf for the first time since November 2018. No matter how you slice it, War of Will is facing a tough task.
It’s possible War of Will’s talent will be enough to overcome these obstacles, but I’ll lean against him until we see how he’s bounced back from his tough 2019 campaign. Instead, I’ll take a shot with #7 Hawkish (10-1), who has shown flashes of serious talent for trainer Jimmy Toner. A seemingly delicate gelding with a couple of layoffs in his race record, Hawkish can produce a powerful stretch kick on his best day, as he demonstrated when dominating the 2018 Penn Mile (G2) by three lengths.
Though Hawkish hasn’t run since October, he fired a big effort off an even longer layoff in the 2019 Appleton (G3) going a mile at Gulfstream, rallying to finish second by just half a length. Hawkish breezed 5 furlongs in a bullet :59 3/5 over the Palm Meadows turf course last Saturday, so I’ll gamble that Hawkish is ready to fire a big shot in his 2020 debut.
For second place, I’ll use #9 Social Paranoia (3-1), who produced an explosive finish to win the 2020 Appleton (G3) in his first start of the season. #11 Admission Office (5-2) isn’t a frequent winner, but he’s hit the board five times against graded stakes company, most recently when second behind Grade 1 winner Zulu Alpha in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream. Cutting back to 1 1/16 miles should sharpen his late kick and land him on the board once again.
I’ll use War of Will to round out my play:
- 1st: #7 Hawkish (10-1)
- 2nd: #9 Social Paranoia (3-1)
- 3rd: #11 Admission Office (5-2)
- 4th: #12 War of Will (10-1)