Gulfstream Notebook and Lessons on Tracking the Turf
Today we add some handicapping insight from a professional horse handicapper, as learning more about the game and lessons on how to improve is always helpful at the track and in life. Our contributor from the East Coast Handicapping Report has assisted us in the past on these pages by uncovering key information from both the west coast including handicapping notes from Del Mar and Belmont Park racing notebook. Currently, he’s tracking Gulfstream Park, where the Florida Derby is run next weekend on March 31, a race which Always Dreaming won last year before winning the Kentucky Derby.
ECHR provides this insight as you evaluate the races later in a meet. Late in every meet, the turf course begins to favor the front runners. Why is this? Early in a Meet the ground is softer, allowing for a slightly more tiring surface, thus not on the side of front runners. This allows for runners from off the pace to make up ground late.
ECHR noted that of the last 13 races on the Gulfstream turf over the 5/8 distance (5 furlongs), 11 of the runners have been on the lead or within two lengths at the half-mile pole.
ECHR had a top pick in race 1 on #4 Miz Mayhem, who was 2-1 on the morning line in a 6-filly field going 5 furlongs on the turf. Miz Mayhem went off as a heavier favorite when one horse scratched. ECHR analysis noted that Miz Mayhem won in super fashion last time out with nice action from gate to wire, and that the horse which finished 2nd (at 8-1 odds) came back to win as a ECHR top pick March 21 in wire-to-wire fashion at 5 furlongs. Assuming a quick break, a strong effort is expected from Miz Mayhem.
Result: Miz Mayhem went straight to the lead, shook free and to clear command in the stretch by 3 lengths and was wrapped up in the end winning by 4 lengths.
For good measure, race 2 at Gulfstream Park was on the turf and contested at 1 mile. ECHR noted they would try to beat both favorites, one off a 19-month layoff, and neither favorite finished in the top-2. But ECHR landed on Oscura (6-1), who finished 2nd and returned $6.00 and $3.20 while running on the lead the entire way before being passed in the late stretch.
ECHR notes included that 9 of the last 10 winners going the 1 mile distance on the turf have either been on the lead or within 2-lengths of the leader at the half-mile pole.
Understanding how the track is playing and specifically the turf in these races can assist you in not only identifying potential winners, but eliminating horses and especially over-valued ones.
The Gulfstream Park Racing Notebook is compliments of the ECHR – eastcoasthorseracing.com