Gulfstream Park will have a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover Saturday of $1,801,310. The Rainbow 6 sequence will include four turf races, two of them graded stakes – the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) and the $150,000 Marshua's River (G3).
Gulfstream hosts and analysts Jason Blewitt, Acacia Courtney and Ron Nicoletti handicap Saturday's Rainbow 6.
Blewitt's Rainbow 6
It's probably going to take a really talented first-time starter to outrun and beat DIRTY in the opening leg. This colt exits a monstrously tough Belmont maiden race; that field has produced three next-out winners from four to return, including Mask, the awesome-looking winner of last weekend's Mucho Macho Man. Todd Pletcher has Malibu Moon firster MAGNUM MOON (third foal from an unraced dam and half bro to a pair of winners) and is eligible to be super ‘live.'
Things get very tricky and difficult (for me at least) in this capacity-filled second leg. I don't like the outside post for my top pick, CLASSIC MOVE, but I do believe he's sitting on a big effort 2nd off the bench while dropping in class. This race will likely boil down to trip and who gets lucky at crunch time. Gotta spread around defensively.
The first of two graded turf stakes on the program sees me using just two, ABBREVIATE and GIANNA'S DREAM. Gianna's Dream is way more of a high-level commodity, looking at her prior stakes wins and strong second (beaten only a neck) to the classy On Leave in the Grade 3 My Charmer last month. I love all things Juddmonte and their Abbreviate for trainer Chad Brown appears to be sitting on a career-best effort – she'll definitely need one in a strong renewal of the Marshua's River.
Typical Championship Meet dirt claiming race: overflowing field of 16, which is capped at 14 horses. You can probably tell from my five-horse spread that I'm simply hoping to survive this leg. I do want to mention that STARSHIP APOLLO, claimed eight times (yes, eight) over the last 11 months, is a cool, tough seven-time winning veteran.
No matter what happens in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale, it's worth noting the longevity and durability of horses like HEART TO HEART and ALL INCLUDED. Two years ago, they finished first and third in the 2016 Fort Lauderdale – Heart to Heart won that race narrowly. In fact, this is the third straight Fort Lauderdale appearance for Heart to Heart. He's classy, has an insanely solid / high cruising speed and should run huge beneath Irad Ortiz Jr. All Included has leading trainer Todd Pletcher in his corner and got zero help in the pace department in last month's slow-paced Tropical Turf. I think he's sitting on a big run beneath leading jock Luis Saez. Two-deep in the Fort Laudy for me.
Well, the curtain comes down with a full field of 3yo turf horses in race 12. And who better to rest your Rainbow 6 dreams with than trainer Todd Pletcher? Todd sends out heavy 12th race chalk MARAUD and I'm pretty comfortable singling this colt in such a pressure-cooker-type spot. Why? Maraud has got talent and I think he hated the rain-softened ‘good' turf last month in the Pulpit Stakes. Firmer ground is what he needs. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to daydream about my Saturday Rainbow 6 score!
Blewitt's Rainbow 6
Cost – $32
Courtney's Rainbow 6
The Rainbow 6 sequence begins with a three-year-old maiden special weight on the dirt, and all eyes will surely be on Dirty, who comes out of a race at Belmont that produced three next out winners, including Mucho Macho Man winner Mask and impressive maiden winner Navistar. However, I'm going to use some coverage in the first leg with the Todd Pletcher first time starter Magnum Moon as well as Zig Zillion, who ran well at Churchill last out for Ian Wilkes.
Sound Values and Uncle B come out of the same race on December 17, and it's my opinion that the former ran a stronger race and warrants the top spot. While Sound Values is also a bit more consistent, I am using both of these on the Rainbow 6 ticket, as I've found Nicholas Gonzalez runners tend to improve making their second start at Gulfstream since shipping in from Woodbine, and Uncle B fits this mold. I'll also use Abbot, who is stretching out in distance for Christophe Clement and should appreciate the two turns.
In the Grade 3 Marshua's River, Dream Dancing automatically jumps off the page, and is a horse I considered singling. She is a Grade 1 winner, having nosed out the competition after a wide sustained run in the Del Mar Oaks. In addition, she is a perfect 2-for-2 on the Gulfstream turf. I remember watching her during last year's Championship Meet, and always feeling that she had a lot of talent. However, she'll be running against the likes of up and comer Abbreviate as well as the speedy Gianna's Dream, and I'll include both of these on my ticket.
While I like my top two picks in here, this has the look of an “anything can happen” race with some inconsistent lower level claimers. With no fewer than 14 horses entered in the body of the race, I landed on Donegal Hall, who has dirtied up form on paper, but goes out for a sharp outfit in Oscar Gonzalez and, most importantly, gets a turnback in distance to sprinting, where he's most comfortable. Amace was a reclaim for Jorge Navarro and is coming off of a good win last out at Tampa.
The Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale features the fan favorite Heart to Heart making his first start of his seven-year-old season. His speed and class cannot be denied, however I did lean toward another seven-year-old in All Included for the top spot. Heart to Heart should get some pace pressure from Shakhimat to the outside, and it's my feeling that All Included will improve second off the layoff. He's also a local winner, with a victory in the G3 Appleton on his resume. I feel comfortable using these two classy turf runners in this leg of the Rainbow 6.
The Rainbow 6 sequence closes out with an Allowance Optional Claiming race on the turf, and while the favorite will be tough, I do like some prices in here. Maraud was beaten by just ¾ of a length in the Grade 3 Pilgrim two starts back, and while he didn't really show up as the favorite last time out in the Pulpit, it was a race where the winner wired the field and there was moisture in the ground. He should improve today, as should recent maiden winner Time On Target, who was impressive in his only turf race. His debut on the dirt was that same key race at Belmont that produced Mask and Navistar. Finally, I'll use my longshot play of the day in Sand Dancer, who finished up his last race with great energy in a big, competitive field.
Courtney's Rainbow 6
Cost – $64.80
Nicoletti's Rainbow 6
DIRTY is debuting locally for trainer Jeramiah Englehart with blinkers added after vying for the lead and fading to finish 4th in a strong maiden special weight race that produced a trio of next out winners, which includes repeat winner Mask, who won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes in his next start. MAGNUM MOON is a $380,000 son of Malibu Moon debuting for trainer Todd Pletcher with a series of sharp morning workouts at Palm Beach Downs showing. The colt gets Lasix, and has Luis Saez in the saddle.
SOUND VALUES is making the 3rd start of his current form cycle looking to build on what was a solid effort at this level and distance when he dueled from start-to-finish and was beaten less than a length. 8 ABBOT, who was stakes-placed at a mile here during 2016, is stretching out around 2-turns after rallying to finish 3rd in his local return vs similar going 5 furlongs. UNCLE B was well-meant at this level and distance when he broke from Post 11 and rallied to finish 2nd in front of Sound Values last out.
GIANNA'S DREAM is stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth (5-4-0-1) after returning from a layoff to finish 2nd – beaten a neck – in the Grade 3 My Charmer going a mile. DREAM DANCING, a Grade 1 winning daughter of Tapit, is making her first start since finishing a workman-like 7th in the Grade 1 QEII Cup at Keeneland in her last. The 4-year-old, unbeaten on this turf course in 2 tries, which includes a victory in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride last March, has Irad Ortiz Jr in the saddle. ABBREVIATE is making her graded stakes debut for trainer Chad Brown after her 2-race win streak on the Belmont turf ended when she finished a 5-wide 7th in the 6- furlong Autumn Days on the Aqueduct grass.
STARSHIP FRONTIER is dropping to the $6,250 level, and turning back to 6 furlongs, in the first start since finishing a set-the-pace 2nd vs $8,000 claimers going 7 furlongs at Gulfstream West. RUNAWAY BULL is making the 3rdstart at the meeting after tracking the pace and finishing 2nd behind repeat winner Social Roy at this level and distance last out. POLITICAL JUSTICE is dropping to this level, and turning back to 6 furlongs, after setting the pace and weakening at the ¼-pole when 5th vs $12,500 claimers going a mile.
HEART TO HEART, who won the Ft Lauderdale in 2016, and was beaten a length when 4th in the race last January, is back on his favorite turf course (5-4-0-0) after surrendering a late lead when beaten 3 lengths by World Approval in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile. ALL INCLUDED, who does his best running from ‘off the pace', is stretching out after rallying to finish 5th in the 1-mile Grade 3 Tropical Turf last out. Trainer Todd Pletcher has strong finisher Luis Saez in the saddle. SHINNING COPPER is turning back to a mile and a sixteenth after leading every step of the way to win the 9-furlong Grade 3 River City Handicap on a ‘yielding' Churchill course.
TIME ON TARGET is debuting locally for trainer Bill Mott after leading every step of the way – from a tough outside post (12) – to spring a 26-1 upset going a mile and a sixteenth on the Aqueduct turf. The $450,000 son of Distorted Humor can spring the upset if left alone on or near the front ended. MARAUD is stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth after following the well-meant 3rd place finish in the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont with a 3rd place finish here – as the 4-to-5 favorite – in the 1-mile $75,000 Pulpit.
Nicoletti's Rainbow 6
Cost – $64.80
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