Below is my economical late Pick 5 ticket for a big day of racing at Gulfstream Park on Florida Derby Saturday. As always the ticket is $20 or less. Good luck!
Mean Mary (#6, 3-1) stretched out to 1 1/2 miles last time out and absolutely crushed a similar field at Gulfstream Park. Some horses improve leaps and bounds over a marathon distance and that appears to be the case with this runner. Her Beyer Speed Figures have improved with every start, she has tactical speed to sit a perfect trip, and her jockey, Luis Saez, has been red hot. No need to overthink this race, Mean Mary is a free square to start the sequence.
Lucrezia (#7, 8-1) destroyed an overmatched field at Tampa in her first start around two turns and could be any type. Though she beat a weak field, she was visually impressive and continues to improve. She has been working lights out for the crafty Delacour barn.
Spice Is Nice (#5, 3-1) ran well in her first start against winners after an eye-opening maiden score. This expensive filly has every right to improve around two turns and has the upside to turn the tables on Tonalist's Shape.
Tonalist's Shape (#9, 5-2) has done nothing wrong in 5 career starts and certainly is the filly to beat. She has shown tremendous versatility and a desire to win. Her upside may not be as great as the first two runners mentioned above and she tries two turns for the first time, but this undefeated runner has to be used in all wagers.
Zulu Alpha (#9, 3-5) adores Gulfstream Park and is in the best form of his life. He is 4 for 4 at Gulfstream Park at distances longer than 1 1/8 and has separated himself in a typically crowded division. Gaffalione fits him like a glove and there is no reason why he cannot win his third race in a row at a short price.
March to the Arch (#3, 8-1) loves firm turf, which he will get on Saturday and also is found of Gulfstream Park. He figured to bounce a bit in his last start after running a hard race following a previous layoff, but still ran extremely well and could have won with a better trip. This Grade 2 winner has beaten stronger fields than this and is very live at 8-1.
Social Paranoia (#7, 5-2) is a hunch play with everything going on in the world right now, but he can also really run. He broke maiden by 8 lengths in his only start over this course and put up competitive Beyer Speed Figures while running against the best of his three-year-old turf crop. I like the turnback to a mile for this tactical runner and if he progresses in his first start as a four-year-old, look out.
Sombeyay (#10, 7-2) was aided by a blistering pace in his last start, but he has been ultra consistent over the turf and continues to improve as a four-year-old. Saez will have this runner positioned perfect and he will get first run on the deep closers. He could be tough to beat right back for Pletcher.
Tiz the Law (#7, 6-5) makes a ton of sense in this spot and the biggest drawback will be his very short price. He is undefeated on dry land and has never won by less than 3 lengths on a fast track. His victory over this track in the Holy Bull was his best yet, as he overcame some early trouble to win going away over next out winner Ete Indien. He is strictly the one to beat, but we will try to get creative to make this ticket pay.
Gouverneur Morris (#5, 8-1) has always been highly regarded and the $600,000 purchase will look to put it all together in this race. After breaking maiden easily, his effort in the Breeder's Futurity was much better than it looks. He made a middle move from a wide post into a strong early pace and got run down by a nice horse. He was workmanlike in his comeback score, but that effort should set him up nicely for a peak effort.
Ete Indien (#12, 4-1) has the speed to overcome a bad post and could be tough if he continues his improving pattern. He was soundly defeated by Tiz the Law, but could turn the tables if he is able to clear on the lead. He numbers have gotten better each and every start, no matter the distance or surface.
Candy Tycoon (#10, 20-1) is the knockout horse at 20-1 morning line for Todd Pletcher. He burned a lot of money early in his career, but has suddenly blossomed around two turns. He broke maiden easily and than ran 2nd in the Fountain of Youth despite being shuffled back further than he likes and suffering a wide trip. Expect different tactics for this runner today and he could pull a surprise with a better trip.
$0.50 Pick 5 Ticket: 3 – 5,7,9 – 9 – 3,7,10 – 5, 7, 10, 12 = $18