Gulfstream Park's juvenile set embarks on the annual Florida Sire Stakes series for the first time in 2022 on Saturday when the Desert Vixen for fillies and the Dr. Fager for colts and geldings are on the docket. The $100,000 co-features at 6 furlongs go as Races 8 and 10, respectively.
Horseplayers on the 1/ST BET app and at Xpressbet will play for an additional $4,000 in bonus winnings. Take down the late pick 4 at Gulfstream on Saturday and collect your parimutuel winnings plus your share of $4,000, to be split among fellow winning players at 1/ST BET and Xpressbet.
It's too early to tell in terms of class for these summer freshmen. Five of the 10 have won open-company maiden special weights, perhaps the best barometer for now. They are ZELENSKYY STRONG, TURBO, KNOX, AWESOME STRONG and CAJUN HOPE.
The tempo figures to be quick when this many 2-year-olds are stretching out in trip this time of year. ZELENSKYY STRONG, AWESOME STRONG, THIS RUN'S FOR YOU and UNDALAY appear quickest.
Video study is the best measure in a race like this when pace and class aren't clear projections. Three horses stood out to be visually in their recent victories: AWESOME STRONG, TURBO and THIS RUN'S FOR YOU. That's where I'll focus my attention.
AWESOME STRONG got a complete education in his debut victory May 6 over 4-1/2 furlongs. From the rail, he was squeezed back at the start, then advanced to contention quickly, open to find trouble trapped inside on the far turn. Once in the clear, he dusted his open-company MSW rivals in a fast time. While that was 3 months ago, the layoff was necessitated by a lack of races to compete in. His workout tab has been perfect since, clearly aimed for this.
TURBO overcame a tough post 11 over 5-1/2 furlongs in his debut victory when besting open company maidens. His closest pursuer was a well-backed Mark Casse trainee who returned to win a local MSW next out. TURBO since has posted a bullet workout, something you love to see between career starts one and two.
THIS RUN'S FOR YOU bested Florida-breds by 11 lengths in his unveiling after breaking very smartly. Expect that again from the 10-hole Saturday. He was a bit inefficient even in victory, showing some greenness with high head carriage, but dominant, nonetheless. Jockey Miguel Vasquez jumps seats from him to AWESOME STRONG, which is notable.
Others of note here, ZELENSKYY STRONG returns home after a disappointing fifth in Belmont's Tremont Stakes.
Most Certain Exotics Contender:
AWESOME STRONG showed professionalism for the task at hand.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
Experienced juveniles CAJUN HOPE and UNDALAY each have 4 starts already and that could come in handy over a 6-furlong trip new to most of these.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$50 win AWESOME STRONG. $25 exacta part-wheel AWESOME STRONG with TURBO and THIS RUN'S FOR YOU.