Once again, we find ourselves at Gulfstream Park for the
weekend's biggest stakes races. Two-weeks ago it was the Sunshine Millions,
KNICKS GO in a sensational performance in last week's $3 million Pegasus
Invitational and the Holy Bull Stakes today.
Horseplayers should know the south Florida track intimately
by now. We've certainly noticed a bias, speed, speed and more speed. It seemed
like every horse that got to the front in the last two-weeks stayed there all
the way to the winners' circle.
Pegasus Invitational champ KNICKS GO went to the front right
out of the gate and never looked back, getting his photo taken and collecting a
fat $1.2 million. Gulfstream track Announcer Peter Aiello told The Player's
Edge Podcast that horses that get out early in routes have an advantage at his
home track, especially those running at 1 1/16 miles, like the Holy Bull.
The race essentially starts on the first turn. From
experience and the eye test from watching race after race at GP, inside speed
tends to benefit when turning left almost immediately after the gates open. Longshot WILLY BOI (PP: 2 ML 10-1) is the
inside horse with the most speed in the Holy Bull's field of nine. The lightly
raced son of UNCAPTURED has two runs on his resume, both 6 furlong wins on
Gulfstream's main track. His half-mile fractions improved noticeably in race
number two compared to his debut. Although sprint speed doesn't always
translate to route speed, WILLY BOI'S early and mid-race pace figures suggest
he'll be the one to catch.
PRIME FACTOR (PP: 6 ML 3-1) won his debut, destroying a
field of nine by 8 ¾ length. He co-piloted to the quarter pole and then said
bye-bye; easy work. Trainer Todd Pletcher put him in the barn following the
December 12th blowout. But don't think he's going to come back to
the track rusty after a little time off. Two bullet workouts out of three puts
the rest of the field on notice. He's sharp and ready to pick up where he left
off, maybe even better.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione probably wants to take AWESOME GERRY
(PP: 9 ML 8-1) to the front of the race. Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. tried his
horse at a route for the first time last out, running 1 mile on Gulfstream
dirt. He led for the first half mile, running a brisk 46 seconds before fading
to third at the wire. To his defense, the colt had some troubles at the
beginning of his trip, breaking out from the five-hole and bumping around a bit
with other horses. Surely, ping-ponging took something from his late legs. If
Gaffalione can get him out straight and fast in the Holy Bull, he could have a
chance as Joseph has won five of his last 15 with horses trying a route for the
On paper, WILLY BOI, PRIME FACTOR and AWESOME GERRY are the
three fastest horses, let's see how they run and if any can duplicate KNICKS GO's
wire to wire win.
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