Grade 2 – Purse $250,000 – 1 1/16 miles – Turf – 3-Year-Old and Up Fillies & Mares
Nine go to the starting gates for this competitive Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap, and this looks like a very open contest looking at the card.
From the inside post, the chance of Santin is there for all to see. He is taking a class drop after running in four consecutive Grade 1 contests and although beaten over 7 lengths last time, he has won two of his last four. He has the highest Beyer speed figure in the race (106), and that was achieved two back when winning the Arlington Million.
Smooth Like Strait finished behind Santin in the above race when beaten a length and a quarter. He could well be the speed angle here. He was outclassed last time in the Breeders Cup, and this is a sixteenth shorter than the Arlington Million and he’ll be away from any scrimmaging in behind, so this race tactically puts him in a good spot.
Beyond Brilliant also ran in the same race at The Breeders Cup and finished just in front of Smooth Like Strait, so is another horse with solid claims and he may well be able to grab a slice underneath.
A closer look at his form leads us to the Philip D’Amato-trained Hong Kong Harry who has won four of his five races since moving stateside from the UK. His form in Britain was nothing special but he has improved for the switch and won a Grade 2 last time, and it is interesting to see Flavien Prat taking the reins once again. This one is a definite improver and his last workout over five furlongs went in a minute flat just six days ago. That shows him in top form heading into this.
The Brad Cox barn is always to be feared in Graded Stakes races and he sends out Set Piece for this one. However, he will need to step up his game to even reach the board as he has been easily held by Santin and Smooth Like Strait this year.
If we are trying to find a longshot for exotics then the one that looks interesting is the wide-runner Kentucky Ghost. He cannot match some of these in raw form lines but he has run a 90+ Beyer speed rating in every race he has completed (vanned off once)
There will be plenty of speed here and this son of Ghostzapper has shown that coming from off-the-speed suits and he’ll be one of the ones picking up the pieces late on. A nice one to add to your exotics (boxed exactas and trifectas)
Masteroffoxhounds, Lincoln Hawk and Irideo look out of their depth in this.
Seabiscuit Handicap Odds & Betting Pick
The big improver here is Hong Kong Harry. He is definitely facing tougher foes here as he comes up against genuine Grade 1 horses. However, he is versatile from a speed and stalking perspective and from a good gate draw, can hit the board.
The main selection has to be SANTIN whose Arlington Million win is the best piece of race form on the card. His inside gate draw is not perfect but he should be able to get a decent stalking spot behind the speed and may well be too classy for these late on. Smooth Like Strait and Kentucky Ghost could well be fighting it out for the show spot
|ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
|Mike E. Smith
|Hong Kong Harry (IRE)
|Smooth Like Strait
|John R. Velazquez
|Lincoln Hawk (IRE)
|Hector Isaac Berrios
|Set Piece (GB)
|Juan J. Hernandez
|Ramon A. Vazquez
The Berkeley Handicap
Grade 3 – Purse $100,000 – 1 1/16 miles – All Weather Track – 3-Year-Old and Up
Just the five runners go to post for this Grade 3 handicap, and even though we have a small field due to go to post, it looks like being a competitive race.
The early chalk for this is the Bill McLean trained I’mgonnabesomebody who is priced up at 9/5 on the morning line odds. This gelding looks sure to try and go gate to wire here and has won three of his seven starts in 2022 with another two board finishes to boot.
He is closely matched with another of today’s foes, Freeport Joe from the barn of Gloria Haley. Don’t expect to see this deep closer early on, but with just five runners, he’ll have no excuses and is the 2/1 second favorite at the time of writing.
Freeport Joe has an excellent record at Golden Gate having won seven of his thirteen starts at the track. He beat the favorite two back in an Allowance contest when it was another small field. He managed to get a good stalking spot before coming three wide into the stretch and pulling away to win by more than 4 lengths. He is 5 lbs worse off at the weights, but that may not be enough to stop him from registering another decision over his old foe.
We spoke about the top two in the morning line odds, but this is not just a two-horse race.
Lammas has the inside post today and he was only a length behind the two favorites last time and is another who likes to show speed, so it could be a pace duel up front with I’mgoonabesomebody and this duel could go either way.
Rip City from the Leandro Mora barn has not run at Golden Gate previously, but he has a top Beyer speed rating of 94 which matches him up with the main contenders here. He has early speed but does not need to be on the front end and can adopt stalking tactics as well and he’ll do well to clear the favorite from the middle gate.
The outsider of the field is the five-horse Tulsa Tornado, and this one has only had seven runs and broke his maiden tag here at Golden Gate back in September last year. He has mainly been running at sprint distances but does have a couple of route runs to his name, including two back in a $40k Optional Claimer when beaten just half a length.
He now stretches out in trip as well as taking a step up the class ladder, and with a top Beyer speed rating of just 84, he’ll need to step forward to trouble the market leaders here.
Berkeley Handicap Odds & Betting Prediction
The tactics are going to be key in this race and if I’mgonnabesomebody and Rip City get on the speed, then the race will set up nicely for a closer.
The way the race will be run will favor FREEPORT JOE and he is a strong selection to close late in the stretch for the win.
Rip City could well fill the place spot and that will leave Lammas and the chalk to fight it out for the show spot.
By the time we get to post time on Saturday, we could see Freeport Joe take over at the head of the betting.
|ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
|William Antongeorgi III
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