It was a big day of racing on Saturday with the running of the Met Mile at Belmont Park the highlight. Vekoma was the winner of the top prize out of a $500,000 purse. The biggest shocker was over in Delaware Park, where Project Whiskey won as a +1200 underdog. The unlikely winner took home the best prize out of a $300,000 purse. There had to be more than a few people who blindly bet Project Whiskey because of the name. That method of handicapping the ponies will work occasionally if you’re lucky. It was by far the most impressive race of Project Whiskey’s career after showing nothing in a prior race at Churchill Downs.
The day after the Fourth of July on Sunday features 12 stakes races in North America, the biggest of which will take place in Toronto at Woodbine in the running of the Fury Stakes. Prairie Meadows is offering three $100,000 stakes races, while Belmont Park has $100,000 on the line in the Kingston Stakes. I haven’t handicapped any of them too extensively, but will get on that after providing my thoughts at Gulfstream Park. We’re looking at three races at Gulfstream on Sunday. Head below for our free Gulfstream Park picks for July 5, 2020.
Post Time: 12:29 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 Mile
We’ll get started with Race 2 at Gulfstream Park on Sunday. Race 2 will feature a mile of racing on the turf for a sizable purse of $45,000. Seven horses are signed up for the event, with Concorde’s Dream and Mony on my shortlist for Sunday. Concorde’s Dream will step into the gate for the third race of his young career.
The colt finished 8th as a first-time runner on April 2 and then returned for a better effort on May 22 to finish 4th. He was in improved form and it caught some people off guard. Concorde’s Dream was the second biggest underdog in the race, but held in there and competed for a $30,000 purse.
Concorde’s Dream will be aiming a little higher on Sunday. The good news is that if he runs well again and gets into the money, then a bigger prize awaits. It’s within reason that we see Concorde’s Dream continue to improve and has another surprise in him. Concorde’s Dream recently completed 4 furlongs with a time of 48.38 seconds in the morning, and then 1:02.83 over 5 furlongs on June 28. He’s certainly a candidate that can get into the top-3 and show.
Mony, who was recently scratched from a start, was pushed back to compete today. This is a pricey horse worth $385,000 that was purchased at auction in March of 2018. He’s been waiting in the wings for a while, and made his much anticipated debut on March 16. Mony ran as expected, finishing 4th in a really tight race. Despite finishing 4th, Money was less than a length away from winning. That race could have easily gone his way.
He made a couple of impressive morning appearances on May 10 and June 13, with times of 1:00.00 and 1:00.80 over 5 furlongs. That kind of form would be enough to compete for a win in Race 2. This isn’t the most difficult event Mony is going to see in his career, and he should be able to respond appropriately with a winning run.
Post Time: 12:58 p.m. EST
A mile on the dirt for a $19,000 purse in Race 3. This will be the second of our second pick of the day at Gulfstream Park. Paynter Fest and Tropicality should be in the mix in this event. Tropicality gets the inside rail out of the gate from the No. 1 post position. She has the talent to win here, but has been awfully inconsistent throughout her 27 race career. Tropicality recorded her most recent win on February 27.
She won over Shanghaisweetheart by 2 lengths in what was regarded as an upset. Since then, though, Tropicality has finished 4th, 6th, 4th so she was unable to build on the win. Those races were in the same class as this event, so tough competition really wasn’t an issue. Having said that, Tropicality has been showing great strides in the mornings and should be in the mix. She completed 4 furlongs with times of 49.60, 47.85, and 50.80 seconds. That 47.85 is particularly impressive.
Paynter Fest should be a tough out for Tropicality to overcome, though. Paynter Fest is in excellent form and has been a threat throughout her 14 races career. She has won three races and has been in the top-3 in 7 of 14 races. In her previous three races, Paynter Fest has been in the top-3 in all of them, including two wins on April 23 and June 7. In April she beat Time to Step in a blowout by 7 lengths, and then won over La Tres Joelle by a half length a few weeks ago. She has been in the top-3 in 4 of her previous 5 races and should perform again today.
Post Time: 1:58 p.m. EST
We head over to the turf for 5 furlongs of racing in Race 5 at Gulfstream Park. This event will feature a decently sized purse of $25,000. Glory Roll, Solarte, and Fiber Optic jump off the page in Race 5. Solarte might have a slightly better chance of winning here than the morning-line indicates. She is 3 for 11 in her career and has stakes experience on her resume. Solarte most recently won on December 12, 2018, so it’s been a while. That was to complete a hat-trick, so all three of her career wins came in quickly one after the other. While it’s been a while since Solarte recorded a win, she’s been competing in tougher races and held up fairly well in some of them.
Solarte has finished in the top-3 in 3 of 4 races, which included 2nd in the Camptown Stakes (Black Type) on September 7, 2019. Since then, Solarte has finished 3rd, 2nd, 5th. Her most recent effort for 5th came at Tampa Bay Downs on May 30. That wasn’t ideal for Solarte and this event is going to be a touch more difficult. That race was for a $16,000 purse. Solarte will compete for a $25,000 purse on Sunday. Glory Roll and Fiber Optic are likely going to give her the most problems.
Glory Roll is 4 for 19 in her career, which dates back to September 28, 2018. She hasn’t discovered the winner’s circle since a win on September 25, 2019. Glory Roll has gone winless in seven straight races, and hadn’t finished in the top-3 until 2nd on June 14. That was against Fiber Optic, who won by a neck over Glory Roll. I was on Fiber Optic in that race and I was obviously happy. Glory Roll wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the front. She was a heavy underdog and was a surprise threat to Fiber Optic.
Fiber Optic is 4 for 9 in her career and enters in great form. She has won 3 of her previous 4 races. All of her recent workouts have been completed under 48 seconds, which is incredibly quick for a horse competing in this class. All three of the wins I just noted have been in this class, with purses around the $25,000 mark. Another impressive performance on Sunday, and expect to see Fiber Optic competing for more money soon. I think that rings true, with Fiber Optic scoring her 5th win in 10 races.