There’s a case to be made for every runner in this competitive optional claimer for 3-year-olds. The most accomplished runner in this field is Return the Ring (#3), who drops in class after finishing a close second in the Jimmy Winkfield last time. He had every chance to get by winner Hello Hot Rod that day and was simply second best. That was a solid performance, but it only earned a 95 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and some others have already run faster. I’m using him, but others are more enticing, especially if they’re better prices.
Some may be intrigued by the pair of 10-length victories recently achieved by Doctor K (#2). However, that 110 TimeformUS Speed Figure he earned last time was achieved with the aid of a significant rail bias. He could be the controlling speed again here, but he’s likely to encounter a fair track and this is a far better field.
I’m similarly skeptical of By George (#5), who was visually impressive breaking his maiden here back in December. However, he also benefited from a rail bias in that victory, and showed none of that ability in his only other appearance at Gulfstream. He figures to be outrun by Doctor K early and it’s unclear if he’s comfortable stalking. I prefer a new face.
JOHNNY SACK (#4) made his debut in a waiver maiden claiming event at Laurel, not in for the tag as a Maryland-bred. The temptation may be to downgrade him based solely on that, but he was actually facing a field of decent quality there and earned a strong 103 TimeformUS Speed Figure for the debut victory. He also ran very well within the context of the race, as he was off a bit slowly and made an early move into contention before taking over. He may need to step forward again to beat winners, but Jeremiah Englehart does well with this move. Over the past 5 years, he is 11 for 32 (34%, $3.28 ROI) with last-out maiden winners making their second career starts in dirt sprints.
Exacta: 4 with 1,2,3,5
Trifecta: 4 with 1,3 with ALL