Races for Friday, Feb. 4, 2022
Friday’s racing slate across the country is very much in flux. A winter storm has already prompted several cancellations, and with that, we’ll head to Florida’s Gulfstream Park. Weather should not be a factor, and the late Pick Four is pretty intriguing.
Who to look at in Friday’s Pick Four at Gulfstream
I’ll attack it with a $12 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.
Race 7 is pretty straightforward
We’ll kick off the sequence with a claiming race for older sprinters. This event houses the first of two singles, and it’s a case where I think the likely favorite will be tough.
No. 5 Straight Shot hasn’t run since April, but if he’s anywhere close to the horse he was in late 2020 and early 2021, the race will probably go through him. He’s run up against some very classy horses, including eventual Grade 1 Met Mile winner Silver State. The drop in class off of such a long break is a concern, but he’s run well fresh on multiple occasions and attracts Luis Saez. Add in that this doesn’t hit me as the toughest race for the level, and I think he’ll be tough to beat.
Spreading in race 8
I have no such strong opinions about the second leg, which will take place on the synthetic track. It’s attracted an eight-horse field, and I’m using half of these runners.
No. 4 Cagua has gotten better with experience and broke through with her first win last time out. Yes, it was against maiden claimers, but she’s taken steps forward since getting to this synthetic track late last year. Additionally, that was her first start with Lasix, which seemed to move her forward considerably. Javier Castellano sees fit to ride back, and I think she’s got a big shot.
No. 5 War of Ages, No. 6 Ready to Film and No. 8 Amazin Queen are also on my ticket. Ready to Film is the lukewarm 3-1 morning line choice, but I don’t think there will be an overwhelming favorite here. With that in mind, I think it’s a race you can spread in without compromising equity on your multirace tickets.
American Icon is the star of race 9
My second single comes here, in an allowance/optional claimer for 3-year-olds. The bigger 3-year-old race comes Saturday in the form of the Grade III Holy Bull, but there’s reason to believe we might see a Kentucky Derby prospect in this one.
No. 3 American Icon is my second single and my best bet of the sequence. He never looked like a loser in his debut, when he went straight to the front and powered home clear by nearly nine lengths. That day’s third-place finisher, Happy Boy Rocket, has since come back to win impressively, and this one has fired three straight bullet drills. Another runner would need to run a career-best race to beat American Icon, and that one may also need to regress, which doesn’t seem likely.
Going against the race 10 favorite
After singling two likely favorites, I’ll need to take a stand somewhere in order to extract some value. I do so in the Friday finale, which has drawn a big field of maiden claimers going long on the turf.
No. 7 Conundrum Queen is the 5-2 morning line choice, but I’m against her. She hasn’t run since March of last year, when she was fifth in a pretty nondescript maiden special weight race. The big drop in class off of such a long break is a red flag I can’t ignore, especially at her likely short price. If she wins, she’ll beat me doing it.
I’m going six-deep, and my tepid top pick is No. 2 What Knot. Her debut wasn’t bad, as she ran fourth despite going two turns at first asking. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially after breaking last in a race with a very slow early pace. She showed some late interest to pass a few horses, and I think she will step forward in her second start.
I’ll also use No. 1 Soupster, No. 4 Foxtrot Seville, No. 5 Cocoa Icing, No. 8 Blue Twirlin and No. 9 Elusive Uncaptured. Foxtrot Seville is 20-1 on the morning line, but I think she has a chance. She’s run several solid races over this turf course and may get some speed to track. At her likely price, she hits me as a must-use that could spice up the sequence in a big way.
Here’s the ticket
R8: 4, 5, 6, 8
R10: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9