2023 Inside Information & Fred Hooper Odds & Picks

The undercard of the Pegasus extravaganza at Gulfstream Park on Saturday is full of interest in its own right, with a sprinkle of stardust thanks to the presence of G1 winner Obligatory in the G2 2023 Inside Information. It’s a more blue-collar scene in the G3 Fred W Hooper, as long-absent Miles D takes on course specialists Endorsed and Dean Delivers in a competitive big-field affair

Inside Information

G2, $200,000, 7f dirt, 4yo+ females, 2.27pm ET

There is plenty going on away from the big-money purses at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, with the Inside Information marking the return to action of a class act who has already proved her affinity for this track.

The mare in question is Obligatory (7-5), unbeaten in two here – including the G3 Hurricane Bertie last March – and a G1 player getting a little class relief on her reappearance.

She nailed that G1 tag when getting up late to win a hot version of the Derby City Distaff over this distance at Churchill Downs in May, beating a host of top-level rivals, and she wasn’t beaten that far when third to subsequent Breeders’ Cup winner Goodnight Olive in the seven-furlong G1 Ballerina at Saratoga in August. That’s unimpeachable form, seven furlongs is her perfect distance, and this looks a good spot to start her year.

Her main rivals are less accomplished – for now. Famed (5-1) made her stakes breakthrough at second-tier Remington Park when winning like an odds-on shot should, romping by six and three-quarter lengths over an extended mile on Lasix, but she was entitled to do that and she’ll need a fair bit more here without the meds.

Maryquitecontrary (5-1) has only raced at Gulfstream and has never been out of the first two, going five-for-six and impressing in stakes company latest, driving clear to beat G3-placed Colorful Mischief (6-1) by three and a half lengths over a mile.

This is the obvious next step and the cutback isn’t an issue given her two wins at this distance, although she was beaten three and a half lengths by the far more seasoned Last Leaf (12-1) in a stakes over course and distance in July. That was only her second start, however, and she has come a long way since then.

Almost exactly a year ago Last Leaf finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Diamond Wow (15-1) when they ran three-four in the G3 Forward Gal over course and distance; Last Leaf has done well since then but Diamond Wow is zero-for-four, her fine two-year-old form now a distant memory.

The pace may come from R Adios Jersey (8-1), who went gate-to-wire to win a state-bred stakes over seven furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs on her first start for almost seven months. That was her third state-bred stakes score at Tampa Bay but she doesn’t get Lasix this time and the board looks her best hope.

Canadian raider Miss Speedy (20-1) had a light campaign last year and ended it on a winning note, but she has never won off the all-weather and Woodbine form – especially minor-league performances – rarely translates well below the border.

2023 Inside Information Odds & Betting Prediction

As long as she’s ready to roll first time this looks a perfect spot for G1 winner OBLIGATORY, over her ideal distance with class relief and course form on top.

FamedFlorent Geroux+500
Miss SpeedyLuis Saez+2000
Colorful MischiefIrad Ortiz, Jr.+600
ObligatoryJose L. Ortiz+140
Fire On TimeTyler Gaffalione+2000
Jag WarriorJunior Alvarado+2000
MaryquitecontraryLuca Panici+500
Diamond WowMike E. Smith+1500
Last LeafMiguel Angel Vasquez+1200
R Adios JerseyPaco Lopez+800

Fred Hooper

G3, $150,000, 1m dirt, 4yo+, 3.34pm ET

The Fred W Hooper could be seen as a consolation event for horses left off the invitation list for the Pegasus World Cup, and one of the leading contenders could still get a last-minute chance in the big one by virtue of his place on the also-eligible list.

That’s Endorsed (5-1), whowas a distant fourth in the World Cup 12 months ago but would obviously have a much better chance in this race at a track where he excels. He has only been out of the first four once in eight starts at Gulfstream, and snapped a colossal 23-race losing streak when doing his best work late in an allowance optional claimer here over seven furlongs a month ago. More is needed now but he could get a big bump from that return to the winner’s circle.

The lack of high-grade competition is emphasised by stakes debutant Black Belt (6-1) being joint-third on the morning-line. He comes looking for a four-timer after three wins in claiming grade, the most recent over course and distance when he drew off to win by four and a quarter lengths, and merits this class hike in what looks a soft spot.

The query over Miles D (3-1), who was third in what was essentially a two-horse race for the 2021 G1 Travers, is his long absence from the track. He’s been out for almost a year, since finishing third in the mile-sixteenth G3 Mineshaft at the Fair Grounds on Lasix, and although a layoff is not usually a deterrent for Chad Brown’s horses, this is a tough task.

Dean Delivers (10-1) has only missed the board once in ten starts at this circuit and ran his usual good race here when runner-up in the seven-furlong G3 Mr Prospector, with Prevalence (15-1) a very disappointing seventh. The mile is no issue for Dean Delivers, but Prevalence has completely lost his fine form of last spring and is probably best watched.

Saffie Joseph brings 33 per cent of the field, with four-time course winner Mish (6-1) at the shortest odds. He has yet to win at stakes level, although was G3-placed at Lone Star Park in May, and should move up for finishing third in a mile-sixteenth AOC here on his first start for five months.

Stakes debutant and barnmate Picking Up Pennies (8-1) is on a four-timer after three AOC wins here, the most recent of which saw him beat barnmate Twelve Volt Man (8-1) by a length and a half over today’s distance. The final member of the Joseph quartet is The Reds (12-1), who is zero-for-four in Graded stakes and may not have enough kick to drop back to this mile.

Fred Hooper Odds & Betting Pick

This open heat could produce a surprise and DEAN DELIVERS, who has never run a bad race here, is the choice following a strong effort at this level last time.

Miles DJoel Rosario+300
Noble DramaEmisael Jaramillo+2000
MishEdgard J. Zayas+600
OctaneMike E. Smith+2000
Hoist the GoldScractched
Black BeltIrad Ortiz, Jr.+600
Picking Up PenniesJose L. Ortiz+800
Doc AmsterJavier Castellano+2000
EndorsedLuis Saez+500
The RedsJunior Alvarado+1200
Dean DeliversMiguel Angel Vasquez+1000
PrevalenceTyler Gaffalione+1500
Twelve Volt ManLanfranco Dettori+800

An upset is very possible given the openness of the race, but CITY MAN is firmly on the upgrade and his course-and-distance G2 victory gives him an extra edge.

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