GULFSTREAM PARK – THIRD RACE (Post time: 1:26 ET)
This maiden $50,000 optional claiming sprint for older fillies and mares allows Florida-bred runners to enter without being risked for a tag and taking full advantage of that condition is the first-time starter, Evelyn. The Arindel homebred finally makes it to the post very late in her three-year-old season but has done plenty of good work in the a.m. to indicate she’s fit, ready, and talented enough to be a a major player in this six-runner affair. Drawn comfortably outside, the daughter of Distorted Humor from the good sprinting mare Do Somethin breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 seconds under a stout hold while proving best in a team gate work 10 days ago over the Gulfstream Park main track and finished with plenty left. In a field in which the known element looks modest, let’s go with the newcomer in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics and hope to get close to her morning line of 7/2.
GULFSTREAM PARK – SIXTH RACE (Post time: 2:55 ET)
Trainer Todd Pletcher has been blistering hot during the month of December at Gulfstream Park and will be expected to add to his win total in this maiden juvenile filly event over seven furlongs on the main track. Listed at 2-1 on the morning line and likely to go lower, Greatitude outran her 7-1 odds from the rail when finishing third (beaten a neck) in her debut in the mud at Aqueduct last month while earning a Beyer speed figure that is five points better than par for this race. Additionally, the runner-up in the race (Mischievous Diane) returned to graduate easily at the Big A eight days ago to frank the form. Any kind of forward move today – or if she just runs the same race – will make her difficult to beat. Three easy breezes at Palm Beach Downs since arriving in Florida merely adds fuel to the fire.
If you’re looking for an exacta partner or a chance at a price in the win pool, give some consideration to Friendship Road, a homebred first-timer by Quality Road. The Shug McGaughey-trained filly hasn’t produced any fancy times in her morning drills but she’s a good mover with plenty of power and could easily be better than her work tab might lead one to believe. Listed at 6-1 on the morning line but likely to go higher, she figures to be doing her best work from the quarter pole home.