…and sometimes it’s the deciding factor.
The two big turf stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday feature full fields and plenty of betting opportunity. And in my opinion, each race includes a standout from a class perspective that should result in solid favoritism. But in the case of each, can class carry the day?
Capla Temptress enters the My Charmer (Race 9) off of seven consecutive starts against Grade 1 and Grade 2 company. That streak began with her win as a two-year-old in the Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine. She has since lost six in a row, including two losses to Rushing Fall and a defeat over in France, also in a Group 1. On paper, she certainly has a class edge over this field. And with the return to the one mile distance, she’s shortening up after efforts that don’t get the blood pumping. Was it the distance that she didn’t love? Was is the softer course condition in two of the three New York defeats? Or was it merely the company she’s been keeping? Hard to say. But what’s for sure is that she’s getting a break from the big girls in this spot. Will that be enough? The thing about the Grade 3 level is that we often get horses on the improve jumping up from the allowance and listed stakes ranks. And we also get those that haven’t quite been cutting it at the Grade 1 and Grade 2 levels. That’s what we have in the My Charmer. I won’t argue with anyone who wants to single Capla Temptress in the multis, but I’ll likely go two-deep with her and Cherry Lodge just in case that one is able to make the lead and control things on the stretch-out. Once you get beyond Capla Temptress, it’s really wide open.
In Race 11, the Fort Lauderdale, Arlington Million runner-up Almanaar is just pleading with you to draw a line through the two tries at a mile on softer going. He isn’t a miler. And he’s not a marathoner either, which is why they tried to prep him at a mile for the Breeders’ Cup race which they thought gave him the best chance, the Mile, instead of the Turf. I don’t think the experiment worked, and now he gets the extra furlong to make his run over a track where he already has a Grade 1 win. And he darn near won this race nearly two years ago. You might argue and say that a case can be made for others being on par with Almanaar’s class, but I don’t see it that way, and I suspect he’ll be favored. I’ll be using him and others in the multis, including my value play of the day, Inspector Lynley. Almanaar is the most likely winner, but the price on others might be too good to pass up.