On Track With Johnny D: Gulfstream is ‘Mandatory’ Saturday

No matter what you’re doing Saturday you’ve got to submit a ticket in Gulfstream’s Rainbow Six. It’s ‘mandatory.’ You know, as in ‘you have to do it.’ Why? Because it’s ‘mandatory.’


We thought we already made that clear.


What’s that, you want a reason? OK, here goes: There’s a giant Rainbow Six pot with enough bread in it to spark more than a few ‘ho, ho, ho’s’ from folks who hit it. Plus, there’s always the pie-in-the-sky ‘single ticket’ theory that suggests you could sweep the pot and then have enough money to rent a top NFL quarterback for a Sunday afternoon’s worth of yard work. Truthfully, though, if the size of your ticket is anything like mine, a single ticket bonanza isn’t likely.


The really important fact about Saturday’s Rainbow Six pot at Gulfstream is that they must give it away. Everything. It’s mandatory. And, if you’ve read this far, you already know what that means: They have to do it. The only question is, ‘Are you going to win a share of it?’


Toward that end we’ve taken a close look at the sequence and offered comments on horses we deem notable. We’ve also suggested a Rainbow Six ticket which you’re invited to judiciously amend. Remember, if you play this ticket exactly as is, when the dust clears Saturday evening, you will not have a single winning ticket. Yours truly will have one too. That’s OK, I don’t mind sharing.


Analysis and Suggested Gulfstream Saturday Raindow Six Ticket

(Analysis compiled before availability of scratches, changes and workout information and is based on a ‘fast’ track and a ‘firm’ turf course.)


Race 6

Kick off this rich Rainbow Six mandatory payout with a Gulfstream staple: a seven and one-half furlong turf test. Always a challenging distance and layout, these races combine the talents of sprinters stretching out and routers backing up. Let’s see if we can pluck out a runner or two to get this big, rich ball rolling in the right direction.


#4 Hero Up has speed. Forgive his last 2 races—overmatched and hounded early. He should make the lead from the inside and has a runner-up finish at about this level. He’s a reach.


#5 Dillon Rocks is one of two from the barn of Mike Maker. He claimed this one two back for $12,500 and now steps him up a few levels. Both of this guy’s wins out of 21 starts came at GP on this turf course.


#6 Memorable is a 3-year-old meeting older for just the third time in a 14-race career. This is a class drop- from what he’s been facing…even though only against fellow sophs. He’s something to consider for those looking to blow the early lid off the Rainbow Six.


#7 Pretendant is sharp off a win at a lower level. He’s also been reported as a first-time gelding. Jockey Paco Lopez and trainer Kelly Breen are 25% overall with much of their success coming at Monmouth each summer.


#9 Souper Highvoltage is interesting. He’s a 3-year-old making his second turf start and first around two turns on grass. He’s shown some ability and this dip in class ought to help him. He’s got speed to be in contention.


#10 Conforto is the other Maker and the more highly regarded as the 2-1 morning line favorite. This guy has some things to like if you can hold your nose and swallow a favorite beaten by more than 16 lengths in his last two races. Jockey Irad Ortiz is up and that shows positive intention. The Maker/I. Ortiz combo is a sparkling 24%. While just 2 for 24 overall, this 5-year-old is 1 for 1 over the GP turf. He was overmatched in his last two at Aqueduct and Maker has had him long enough to know the most effective spot and Ortiz up suggests this might be it.



Race 7

This $25k allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares is a bit of a scramble. There’s no real dominant runner in here and it’s likely many will be close in price. Check out daily double probable payoffs before marking a ticket. You may see some notable ‘steam’ on one or two of these runners. It’s that kind of a race.


#1 Hallawalla makes her first start for trainer Juan Avila here. She formerly raced with Steve Asmussen. This 4-year-old filly made her best starts her first two starts and hasn’t been the same since.


#4 Doll Collection is the 5/2 favorite in here and was a well-beaten second at this level last out to a repeat winner. That race came over a sloppy track and this filly seems to do her best over ‘off’ surfaces. She also took 7 starts to break maiden before that last out effort. She seems vulnerable to us. Blinkers come off today and there is a :59 3/5 work over the track.


#5 Sonar is an interesting piece in here. She’s won 2 of 7 GP starts, was tried in a pair of stakes at 2, won a cheaper state-bred optional claimer, has been third at this level twice, finishing a neck behind favored #4 Doll Collection one race back. She’s been gone since Oct. and has been working forwardly at Ari. We don’t know what track or training center is abbreviated ‘Ari’ in the Daily Racing Form—and we’ve tried to find it. Low profile trainer Juan Alvarado saddles this filly who’s earned nearly $100k. Oh, and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. is up.


#7 Gerri B is 3-1 second choice and she’s got an even running style. She’ll cut back in distance from one mile last out. She fits in here and gets a bit of a class drop from straight allowance races. Jockey A. S. Arroyo is 25% with trainer Kelsey Danner.


#8 Pago Querido has made 3 starts at 3 different tracks, winning at Laurel last out for trainer Michael Stidham. That was a wire-to-wire tally going seven furlongs. A cozy outside box should be fine for top jock Saez aboard in a bit of a pace-less race.



Race 8

This allowance race probably can be narrowed down to 3 or 4 contenders. An improving Brown runner and a stagnant Motion critter bookend a group that ought to be led on a merry chase early by Saez aboard a sophomore Shug.


#1 Greyes Creek is an improving runner from the Chad Brown stable ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. They are 29% as a combo. This 4-year-old colt has posted progressively faster Beyer Speed Figues in each of 6 starts and there’s little reason to expect anything by a solid effort from him in here. He should be running late.


#3 Scraps has plenty of stakes experience and was a close third last out in a 60k state-bred stakes last out. He’s 0-4 this year.


#4 Kingmeister has speed and should command the rail into the first turn. He returns to turf for trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Luis Saez. His only previous turf try was at Saratoga going a mile when he was third. He’ll take this filed as far as possible and the trainer is 21% off layoffs between 61-180 days.


#7 Grand Journey did best last year when he reeled off a string of 3 consecutive wins at GP. He’s won 6 of 11 here on turf. He’s moved back to the level where he was claimed by trainer Mike Maker three races ago. M. A. Vasquez rides and with Maker is a crisp 23%.


#9 Inventing Blame should show a bit of speed outside of #4 Kingmeister and was second last out on turf at Woodbine. The question with this one is the distance where he’s just 1 for 6.


#12 Succeedandsurpass is the morning line favorite at 5/2 and had trouble last out in a Woodbine victory. Graham Motion and Irad Ortiz combine to win at 20%. This colt showed promise at 3 but hasn’t really progress much since. He’s had four trainers over his 12-race career. He’s a contender but not overly attractive at 5/2 from this post.


Race 9

The mile and three-sixteenths $100k Via Borghese Stakes is a cocktail that includes accomplished local talent, a budding up and comer and a few Canadian invaders. Again, some players easily can lean on the top two choices to get through leg 4 of the Rainbow Six. Others might look to go 4 deep in hopes of an upset.


#2 Traipsing set the early pace in her last 2 races—a second and win, respectively. She’s fit and should save ground throughout. She has a win over the GP turf course.


#3 Court Return is a new face in from Woodbine for trainer Josie Carroll. She was second in the Gr. 1 EP Taylor last out and a repeat of that effort would look strong in here. Saez is aboard. This 4-year-old filly took 9 starts to break maiden by more than 8 first out at 4. She promptly won a restricted stakes, finished third in a Gr. 2 and second in a Gr. 1. She’s on the rise.


#4 Cap de Crues combines the talents of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez (19%). This 4-year-old filly has just 2 wins in 18 starts and 7 seconds. She has an even style.


#5 Kelsey’s Cross has 3 wins in 11 starts at GP, all on turf. She unsuccessfully tried graded stakes foes earlier this year.


#8 Always Shopping is the 5/2 morning line favorite off a runner-up effort in the Gr. 3 Dowager at Keeneland going a mile and one-half. Before that the 4-year-old filly won a 75k stakes at GP. She’s the top earner in this field with over $340k—most of that coming on dirt. Top jock Irad Ortiz rides for Pletcher (32% combo). She figures to be just off the early pace. She demands respect but doesn’t look unbeatable.


#9 Great Island, morning line 3-1 second choice, has made just 3 starts—2 wins in 2 starts this year. She’s obviously talented and has upside, but this outside box against this experienced field will challenge her and a potent Gaffalione/Brown combo that hits at a strong 29%.


Race 10

Bit of a tricky Grade 3 Mr. Prospector edition. Those looking to use just a few have solid contenders. On the other hand, folks with an idea toward creating some separation have valid options. As always, budget is the deciding factor.


#1 Lasting Legacy was second in this race last year behind #7 Diamond Oops. ‘Legacy comes off an overmatched effort in the BC Sprint, notably behind #9 Firenze Fire. Those will to really reach deep could include this one while noting that jockey Paco Lopez has 4 wins in the last 5 outings aboard him.


#4 Haikal hails from the Todd Pletcher barn and has top jock Luis Saez aboard. They hit at 23%. This 4-year-old colt hasn’t been out since Feb. and changes barns from Kiaran McLaughlin. He’s a Gr. 3 winner and never off the board in 7 starts. He’s been working every 7 days at Palm Beach Downs with 2 bullets for five-furlong efforts. This is the kind of returning runner Pletcher is dangerous with. Anyone looking for a logical upsetter would want this guy.


#7 Diamond Oops loves Gulfstream Park—5 wins in 8 tries. He’s won 2 of his last 3 starts—was sixth in BC Sprint behind third-place finisher #9 Firenze Fire. This multiple Gr. 2 winner also is 1 for 1 at the distance. He figures as one of the top two choices and probably will be on most R6 tickets.


#8 Sleepy Eyes Todd is an up and comer with 3 wins in his last 5f starts, including the Gr. 2 Charles Town Classic. Last out, in November at Keeneland, he caught a hot pace and stormed home to win nicely. He’s done some of his best work at longer distances but is 1-1 at seven furlongs. A troublesome detail is that he’s had just one reported work since that Nov. 7 Keeneland race—a three-furlong jog around Gulfstream on Dec. 15.


#9 Firenze Fire, 5/2 morning line favorite, seems like the type of late running sprinter that would love 7 furlongs. However, he has just 1 win in 6 tries at the distance. A closer look reveals that two tries at the distance were over ‘off’ tracks he can’t handle and a third was a runner-up effort to Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Mitole. Another was a third in the Gr. 1 Allen Jerkens at Saratoga along and a fourth in the Gr. 1 Hopeful. His lone seven-furlong win was a dominating performance in the Gr. 3 General George at Laurel. He’s a 5-year-old earner of over $2.2 million and deserves respect in this Gr. 3 race.


#11 Zender was fourth in this race last year behind #7 Diamond Oops and #1 Lasting Legacy. He’s won 4 of 11 starts overall, had trouble in his last start, and should be on the lead in a race that lacks much early pace. His trainer is hot with 3 wins and 2 seconds in 14 local starts this meeting.


#12 Mind Control has earned over $1 million and is a Gr. 1 winner. He won the first two starts of 2020 but has been third twice since. On his best day, he fits in here. He really hasn’t gotten back to his best, though. He has a great post and jockey John Velazquez knows him well. He’ll stalk on the outside close up in a pace-less race.



Race 11

This is one of those Gulfstream maiden turf routes that gives horseplayers headaches. Lots of first-time starters add intrigue to a mix that includes a couple of ‘Pletchers’ a ‘Brown’ a ‘Maker’ a ‘Weaver’ and a ‘Casse.’ Bit of estimating (guessing) will be at play to close out the mandatory Rainbow Six.


#1 Girl Dad has come up a bit short in his last two, second and third in NYRA turf races with blinkers. The rail and a mile distance ought to help.


#2 American Tryst has an OK KD turf sprint. Trainer/jock combo Gaffalione/Maker 19%. Forget last out in off turf main track try.


#3 Kentucky Pharoah moves to turf after chasing a very hot pace going a mile at Churchill. Trainer is 0-32 with first-time turf runners.


#4 He’spuregold ran OK at 70-1 to be third first out in a Keeneland maiden turf try over a ‘good’ surface. 10-1 is a decent number. Low profile Michele Nihei barn keeps price solid.


#5 Ultimate Gift is a first-time starter from the powerful Todd Pletcher stable. Luis Saez rides and trainer/jock combo are a sparkling 23%.


#7 Advanced Placement has jockey Paco Lopez for trainer Brian Lynch—a 20% combo. Trainer 12% first out.


#9 Public Information makes first turf start for trainer Chad Brown (32% 2nd out). Irad Ortiz rides (25% combo). This colt’s first start—sprinting on dirt—wasn’t much but he did get some play at 6-1 odds.


#10 Courageously cost $625k as a yearling and goes for trainer Mark Casse—not known for winning first out. Some good turf works at Palm Meadows offer conflicting signals.


#11 Munqad has the far outside box for trainer Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez—a 19% combo. He’s got the most experience in the field and the best Beyer Speed Figures established on the dirt. Pletcher just 15% with first turf runners. The colt’s failed as favorite in last two starts. Johnny V. will use the colt’s early speed from the outside and expect the son of War Front to handle the lawn.


Suggested $.20 Gulfstream Saturday Rainbow Six Ticket ($115.20)


Race 6

9, 10


Race 7

5, 7


Race 8

1, 4, 7, 12


Race 9

3, 8, 9


Race 10

4, 7, 9, 11


Race 11

4, 5, 11


Race On!



On Track With Johnny D: Gulfstream is ‘Mandatory’ Saturday

On Track with Johnny D |