You can have your pick of the litter on Friday across the US on the track. BetOnline has a full card with 13 races on the schedule this afternoon and evening. Pimlico has a big card with 14 races worth $1,377,000 in prize money. I’m not interested in playing Pimlico, but will have a selection for the Preakness Stakes. It’s not going to be a big bet by any means for obvious reasons. We can only hope that we will have a fair race for the Preakness, though.
There is going to be extra scrutiny for Medina Spirit going into the Preakness, but the fact he’s being allowed to race anyway is questionable. Churchill Downs reacted swiftly and suspended Bob Baffert from entering trainees in events in Louisville. It isn’t his home track and we barely see Baffert at Churchill Downs in the summer, so it’s not much of a punishment. We will open the day at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL. Gulfstream Park has ten races on the docket with $359,000 in prize money available. Head below for our free Gulfstream Park picks for May 14, 2021.
Post Time: 1:21 p.m. EST
Our first selection at Gulfstream Park is the feature race in Hallandale Beach. Eight horses will compete for this $65,000 prize. It’s a horse for the inexperienced, with all but one runner making their debut on Friday. Big and Classy and Merlin are on my shortlist for this event.
Big and Classy is making his debut, and I think could be seen as a value pick at 5/1 in Race 2. He hasn’t been any worse than the other rookies in this race on the workout circuit, and is coming from a barn that has success with inexperienced horses. Big and Classy completed 4 furlongs in 48.33 seconds on May 8 for his most progressive workout to date.
He’s been showing improvement since March. Merlin has a race on his resume, and it was an impressive start as a first-time runner. He made his debut on April 16 and placed 2nd Laki Lio by 3 ½ lengths in a $65,000 event. Merlin beat the favorite by a neck, so that was encouraging. His work in the morning has been encouraging as well. He’s the only runner with racecourse experience in this event and should show up well on Friday.
Post Time: 2:33 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Race 4 covers 1 ⅛ miles on the turf for a $19,000 purse. Eight horses are scheduled to run, with Mr. Einstein and Fear the Deer likely willing participants in this one. The thing with Mr. Einstein is that he hasn’t been willing lately, but has the talent to run a much better race. Mr. Einstein has finished 8th, 7th, 8th, 2nd, 5th, 5th in his career.
The one entry that Mr. Einstein showed something in was on March 10 in a $25,000 assignment. He placed 2nd behind Coltonstheadmiral by 1 ½ lengths. Mr. Einstein finished 5th in a $16,000 event and then a $18,800 race most recently on May 2.
There is more for him to give, and if he wants to run today, should be much closer. Fear the Deer has finished 6th, 6th, 2nd, 5th in his career. He placed 2nd behind Dramatic Kitten by 1 ¼ lengths in a $21,000 event on April 11, and then most recently 5th in another $21,000 event after receiving a DQ.
Without the DQ, Fear the Deer finished 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner to place 2nd. He had the lead in the stretch, but lost a duel. Fear the Deer was disqualified for pushing another runner, leading to a drop to 5th. That wasn’t necessary. Fear the Deer was clearly one of the strongest horses without needing to interfere. Down to a $19,000 assignment Friday, Fear the Deer is a worthy contender.
Post Time: 3:58 p.m. EST
Distance:7 ½ Furlongs
In Race 7 we have a $47,000 event covering 7 ½ furlongs on the turf. Nacho Papa and Second Mate should have a strong presence in Race 7. Nacho Papa is 4 for 26 in his career, and is coming off a bold performance to win on April 17.
He beat Karen’s Cove by 1 ¾ lengths in a $20,000 assignment. In his previous six trips, Nacho Papa has gone 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 1st. He’s been showing some consistency, but this is a big step up in class for him. I see Nacho Papa keeping this race close, but Second Mate is going to pose a big threat.
Second Mate has stakes experience, withstakes outings in nine of his previous ten appearances. He’s gone 2nd, 6th, 3rd, 5th in his last four races overall, most recently finishing 5th in the $110,000 Grey Goose Turf Classic Stakes. A big step down in class for Second Mate should do a world of good for him. In one of his easiest assignments in a long while, expect Second Mate to be tough to beat in Race 7.