Friday, March 30, 2018

Handicapper's Corner: Gulfstream Oaks (G2)

Taking Charge of the Gulfstream Oaks

By: Laurie Ross, IMTBreds

The 1 1/16 mile Gulfstream Park Oaks is one of the last steppingstones to the Kentucky Oaks. Some notable 3YO fillies have used the Grade 2 event to springboard to fame. Only three fillies have pulled off the Gulfstream Park Oaks/Kentucky Oaks double, Davona Dale (1979), Open Mind (1989), and Dispute (1993).  The Gulfstream Park Oaks certainly isn’t without merit, as many fillies have gone on to greatness, despite not becoming Kentucky Oaks winners. Dreaming of Julia, Grace Hall, Devil May Care, can be found on the winning roster. Champion Songbird’s dam Ivanavinalot captured the 2003 Gulfstream Park Oaks. 

This year, a full field of 13 fillies will enter the starting gate for the 2018 Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Main Contenders
DAISY — made a huge four-wide move in the 1 mile 40 yard Suncoast Stakes at Tampa, but ran out of real estate, missing the victory by 3/4 length to C. S. Incharge. The daughter of Blame has a distance-loving pedigree and is making her second start of the season. Trainer John Servis equips the dark bay miss with a shiny new set of blinkers, hoping to get her into the game earlier in the race. The trainer is 22% with that angle. 

TAKE CHARGE PAULA — won the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) but was the beaten favorite in the Davona Dale (G2), after racing farther back than her customary pace-pressing position. The daughter of Take Charge Indy is making her third start off the layoff and gets a jock switch to Jose Ortiz. 

C. S. INCHARGE — is a late bloomer. She hit the board only twice in four starts last year but has won both of her starts this year. She and Take Charge Paula share similar breeding; both are by Take Charge Indy out of Unbridled sire line mares. The Dale Romans trainee breaks from post #8, not a good spot for a filly who likes to be forwardly placed since she’ll be wide into the first turn and use up energy to get a good position. 

Top Threats
COACH ROCKS — finally had her picture taken after six failed attempts. She’s only been out of the money twice in her careers. Sure, she’s jumping from an 8-length maiden score into a contentious Grade 2 race, but the daughter of Oxbow is another late bloomer bred to love two turns. Since her dominating maiden victory, the Dale Romans trainee has been working lights out at Gulfstream. 

MIHRAB — is stuck in the #12 post, but the one run closer should be able to hang back and not lose too much ground after the first turn. Her running style isn’t conducive to a win over the speed-favoring Gulfstream dirt, but she’s stretching out to two turns since her debut, and the daughter of Tiznow will want every inch, and then some. Trainer Graham Motion adds blinkers to Mihrab, perhaps in an effort to get her into the race earlier.  He’s 21% with that angle. 

PRINCESS WARRIOR — switches back to dirt in her second start off the layoff. She owns a single victory, and her claim to fame was a distant second in the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) in her second start. The daughter of Midshipman will break from post #9, not a good spot. Herr pedigree indicates that she may be best as a miler, and she’ll lose some ground on the first turn. Like Mihrab, Princess Warrior is a one-run closer, so perhaps she’s good enough to get a minor placing.

Will we see an exacta for the exciting young sire Take Charge Indy? TAKE CHARGE PAULA, and C. S. INCHARGE could do it. DAISY could spoil their bid. COACH ROCKS is a live longshot and look for MIHRAB to come running late.
#5 DAISY (9-2)
#8 C. S. INCHARGE (6-1)
#12 MIHRAB (12-1)

Plenty of options in a full field.  Two choices, either spread the cash out to cover the fillies most likely to hit the board in hopes of nailing a big score, or keep it simple. I prefer the later, playing some exactas and tossing a few bucks on the live longshots. Tip: ALWAYS box your exotic wagers.
$4 Exacta box: #3, #5, #8, #12, #2  = $80
$2 W/P (4-1 or higher) #2, #12 = $12
$8 dried out slice of pizza and bottle of water.

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