Race of the Week: Fred W. Hooper from Gulfstream Park | Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Lead:
Saturday's Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream Park is loaded with stakes action throughout the card. Xpressbet and 1/ST BET have you covered in-depth with the 1/ST Pegasus World Cup Wager Guide, free to access, for the day's trio of marquee events. But you can't solve the late pick four, pick five on Rainbow 6 without the Race 11 Fred W. Hooper, sandwiched amongst the Pegasus World Cup, PWC Turf and PWC Filly & Mare Turf.

Horseplayers with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET can enjoy two super promos Saturday at Gulfstream. There's up to a $20 money-back special on win bets that finish second or third in the Pegasus World Cup, PWC Turf or PWC F&M Turf; as well as $20,000 in Hit & Split promotions on the day's bevy of pick four and pick five offerings.

Field Depth:  
Eleven of the 12 entrants are graded stakes-placed, including Grade 1-placed HEJAZI, EXPRESSMAN, CYCLONE MISCHIEF, GIANT GAME and GILMORE.

HEJAZI and EXPRESSMAN from posts 1-2 in this 1-turn mile should show early foot. There's not a great deal of other obvious pace here, possibly ACCRETIVE and GREAT NAVIGATOR could be coaxed into the mix. This race looks favorable to those near the front.

Our Eyes:
Here are my horse-by-horse notes.

1-HEJAZI (pictured above): Solid morning line favorite will bring west coast speed from the rail while taking on elders for the first time. Strong second in the Grade 1 Malibu for 3-year-olds on Dec. 26 behind Bob Baffert stablemate Speed Boat Beach, who was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. This $3.55 million purchase always has been earmarked to be a good one and has been very consistent around one turn.

2-EXPRESSMAN: Firing bullets in the morning for his first start since May, the one-turn mile distance should suit a comeback bid -- not super-demanding. He won his debut by more than 7 showing he can do big things off just workouts for Todd Pletcher.

3-STEAL SUNSHINE: Only 1-for-7 last year and winless in 5 stakes tries, but has run his best locally and consistently comes with a late run over this track. The mile trip suits him best. How the 4th-place finisher from the Harlan's Holiday Stakes performs here may give us some extra info on the alumni of that race going later in the Pegasus World Cup.

4-CYCLONE MISCHIEF: Last year's third-place finisher in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby has made just one start since a Kentucky Derby disappointment. Legendary rider Frankie Dettori picks up the mount. Note this horse ran perhaps the best race of his career in a one-turn mile at Gulfstream.

5-DREAMING OF KONA: Upset last year's Mucho Macho Man at 19-1 over this same track and distance, but he's 1-for-8 since then. Consistent late season efforts at Gulfstream bring him back to the discussion after chasing outstanding sprinter Sibelius last time.

6-GILMORE: Despite his 0-for-8 stakes mark, he's always in the mix at races this distance or shorter. His runner-up last out to top-class sprinter Sibelius was a positive steppingstone to this race at a furlong farther. Former west coaster has shown he can run in any region over past year.

7-CASTLE CHAOS: On the also-eligible list for the Pegasus World Cup, that's a good sign that the horse is doing as well as he can be right now. Cigar Mile third-place finisher has been consistent with his late run, hitting the board in all 6 starts of 2023. His result here will give us a better line on the Cigar Mile alumni in the PWC.

8-ACCRETIVE: Vosburgh runner-up to superstar Cody's Wish was followed up with a pair of disappointing efforts, making you wonder if that race took something out of him. Trainer Chad Brown's been struggling throughout the Championship Meet to find his stride. This one feels like an underlay price with Irad Ortiz Jr. drawing additional money.

9-GIANT GAME: Curious to see how this route pace player translates back in the one-turn ranks. Since winning the Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows in July, things have mostly come off the rails. Would be an upset to beat these for sure.

10-GREAT NAVIGATOR: No match for a few of these in the Mr. Prospector last time and he's done all his best work at Monmouth, primarily vs. other New Jersey-breds. Tough spot for true longshot.

11-TUMBARUMBA: His last 5 races at a mile or shorter on fast tracks have netted 4 wins and a runner-up among them. Luis Saez has been a good fit and returns in the saddle and don't be surprised if this one outruns expectations for a Brian Lynch barn absolutely clicking this meeting.

​12-SIGNATOR: Just missed behind Pegasus World Cup entrant Crupi last time out in the Queen's County. Deep closer will need a fast pace in order to be most effective, so expect jockey Javier Castellano to let them leave in front of him and begin to drop over in the long run down the backstretch to save ground and come with his run.

Most Certain Exotics Contender:
HEJAZI is 8-for-8 in the superfecta, 7-for-8 in the trifecta and 6-for-8 in the exact lifetime and gets a solid pace advantage with rail speed.

Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
GILMORE could light the superfecta at 15-1 morning line.

Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$60 win TUMBARUMBA. $10 exacta box TUMBARUMBA and HEJAZI ($20). $5 exacta key-box TUMBARUMBA with EXPRESSMAN, STEAL SUNSHINE ($20).