Review of Tropical Turf Stakes, at Gulfstream Park, on January 12.

Race 9. Tropical Turf Stakes, GIII on Turf. For  four year-old fillies and mares at 1 mile on turf. Purse $100,000.

Entries:

PP Filly / Mare Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Vici Tyler Gaffalione Michael J. Maker 9/2
2 White Flag Jose Ortiz Christophe Clement 7/2
3 Holiday Stone Luis Saez George Weaver 12/1
4 Doctor Mounty Javier Castellano Shug McGaughey 10/1
5 Mr Freeze Robby Albarado Dale Romans 15/1
6 Heart to Heart Julien R. Leparoux Brian Lynch 4/5
7 Your Only Man Irad Ortiz, Jr. Marcus Vitali 30/1
8 Conquest Big E Paco Lopez Donna Green Hurtak 6/1

Heart to Heart is a top-class turf miler with a 5-for-7 record at Gulfstream Park, so the one-mile distance of the Tropical Turf should suit him perfectly. He’s getting old, and his last two runs of 2018 resulted in disappointing finishes, but he was running over wet turf courses that he might not have cared for, and in both races,  he encountered challenging pace scenarios. He should face no pace challenge post six should help him stay out of traffic in the event of a slow start.

Your Only Man has performed well in three starts at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West. He ran second in Your Only Man’s ,a one-mile starter optional claiming race at Gulfstream on January 1st, in which he rallied well from mid-pack to finish second by just a neck while running the final quarter-mile in less than :23 seconds.

Doctor Mounty, a Graded stakes winner, also fits well here and must be considered for the exotics. He won the Baltimore/Washington Turf Cup (G3T) by a nose at 26-1 three races back. He should be on the board.

White Flag clearly has ability, but his best distance is up to seven furlongs so it’s hard to get overly enthusiastic about going a mile.

Your Only Man finished second New Year’s Day in a very strong starter/optional claiming field that included six stakes winners. His closing kick appears to be good enough in this field to be on the board.

Heart to Heart at 4-5 and obviously the one to beat. Plus, his getting a four pound break in the weights due the way the race was written, over from Doctor Mounty. He is also the controlling speed, provided he breaks cleanly, which is something he doesn’t always do.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Heart to Heart
  • White Flag
  • Your Only Man

 

 

 

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