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Sunshine of Your Love

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 1/3/2011 10:51:40 AM

‘Sunshine of Your Love’ is a song by super group Cream that was released on the Disraeli Gears album and the song was covered over the years by Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix among others, but the sunshine of the Florida racing season starts this week as Gulfstream opens it doors Wednesday for what promises to be an exciting meeting.

Menus are always big during the holiday season and Gulfstream has a good array for bettors to feast on this season.

They will offer a 50-cent Pick 5 with only a 15% takeout. Early and late 50-cent Pick 4s are on the slate along with a 10-cent Pick Six.

This kind of thinking really opens up the action for bettors that don’t have huge bankrolls.

One gauge of how fast runners are really performing this year can be figured out by comparing Beyer pars to last season’s numbers.

On dirt the male bottom rung maiden claimers will usually average a Beyer between 65 and 73. As class in maidens improved, maiden special weight winners shoot to 87. The cheapest claimers at Gulfstream start at 6 grand and go to $75,000 in open company. The spectrum ranges from 75 to the slugs to 20 points higher to the $75,000 sellers.

The key to comparison is to find runners at the very same level this year and to eliminate or leave in horses that have achieved similar Beyers.

Overall, the numbers on the turf can be a bit misleading as so many horses either take to the surface or they don’t. The other thing horse bettors should pay attention to is what kind of conditions were evident when certain horses were posting the Beyers?

Was the conventional main track kind toward speed or was there in inside speed bias? Was the weather unusually hot or cold enough to effect how the track played or to skew where the winners were coming from? Or, was one particular style of running extremely effective during the test period?

Like anything else in life, horse bettors must use common sense when trying to differentiate action from one meeting to another but with the proper homework and with the proper tools like year or 2-year-old history of Racing Forms, and the winners able to be unearthed will surely pay for the blood sweat and tears on the kitchen floor.

As far as the human element is concerned, the usual suspects will be in full force but sharp bettors can tag along on some upstarts for value.

Paco Lopez had a break out meeting last year at the Gulf winning the riding title by 16 happy endings.

Elvis Trujillo, Jose Lezcano, Johnny Velazquez and Javier Castellano will win the bulk of the races and all should vie for the title.

Todd Pletcher will again do it with numbers and he’s even money to win the training title over Bill Mott. He saddled 153 horses last year at the stand and watched 35 reach the ‘charmed’ circle.

The claiming ranks will be dominated by very good horseman Peter Walder and Julio Canani’s son Nick.

And all Wesley Ward did last year at Gulfstream is win with 20% of his starters, a lot of them first timers.

They say time is only important if you are in jail, but cagey bettors know speed is the one constant and gamblers should circle any horse this meet that can go 1:09 flat for 6 furlongs, 1:22 or under for 7 furlongs, 1:35 or better for a mile and under 1:49 for a mile and an eighth.

Any final time near those figures and you are talking one sharp horse.

Finally, sharp horse bettors have to be able to evaluate every day’s performance with eyes wide open and not dwell on the immediate wins and losses of the day.

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