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Chalk Looks Vulnerable in Sam Davis, Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 2/12/2010 4:50:13 PM
  • Who: Thoroughbreds – Rule, Uptowncharlybrown, Munnings, Biker Boy
  • What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Sam F. Davis, The Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship
  • Where: Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream Park
  • When: Saturday, February 13th

Both The Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and The Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship have attracted highly accomplished morning-line favorites. Rule enters the Sam Davis off a pair of two-turn stakes wins at Delta Downs, the most recent being The Delta Downs Jackpot (Grade 3). His earnings ($596,700) exceed those of the rest of the field combined. Munnings is the leading money earner ($617,240) in The Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship, and is the only member of the field with a pair of Grade 2 stakes scores on his resume. Nevertheless, both favorites appear vulnerable on Saturday. Let’s examine why, and identify the alternatives.

Rule has never started at Tampa Bay Downs, nor has he trained over the track. The quirky Tampa Bay Downs surface has been the undoing of many talented shippers. The home-track advantage at this quaint little venue is not to be taken lightly. Also note that Rule’s substantial bankroll virtually assures him a spot in The Kentucky Derby (in the event that it is over-subscribed), so his connections can take their time with him. He won’t be fully cranked for this event. On the other hand, local hero Uptowncharlybrown has won his only two sprint starts here by wide margins, and his running style and breeding both suggest he’ll relish two turns. There’s adequate speed in this field to set up his late kick. You can be reasonably certain that his handlers have him set for a big effort, because he’s in need of graded earnings. I’ll bet #6-Uptowncharlybrown to win at odds of 9-5 or better.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has always been high on Munnings, and his faith in him was rewarded when Munnings posted back-to-back Grade 2 scores going seven furlongs at Belmont last summer. He earned lofty Beyer Speed Figures of 110 and 111 in the process. Munnings has failed in his last three starts, but note that they all came on “off” tracks…he clearly prefers the going “fast”. That should be the case on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The problem is, he’s never raced at Gulfstream, and he’s coming off a break of more than four months. He ran big in his comebacker last year at Churchill Downs, but couldn’t hold off Warrior’s Reward. In a field lacking a ton of speed, I’m leaning toward Biker Boy, who is 3-for-3 going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park. Those wins were by a combined 24 lengths! He’ll be tough to catch. I’ll bet #4-Biker Boy to win at odds of 3-1 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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