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Betting a Saturday of Racing: The Holy Bull and Robert B. Lewis Stakes

Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park

Ryan Thompson, via Gulfstream Park, Louisville Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Holy Bull Stakes and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes headline a Saturday afternoon of horse racing on NBC Sports.

Gulfstream Park is home to the $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes while Gulfstream Park is the scene for The Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Each of these stakes races are Kentucky Derby prep races. The other races highlighting the afternoon card are The Sweetest Chant and The Forward Gal Stakes from Gulfstream Park and the Megahertz Stakes from Santa Anita Park.

The day of racing has a little something for everyone – turf races, dirt races, sprints, and routes.

NBC Sports’ John Furlong (@JFurlong616) has taken a look at this weekend’s card and highlighted a couple of races and plays.

THE FORWARD GAL STAKES

GULFSTREAM, RACE 10, POST TIME 4:17PM

The likely favorite is #3 Atomically, off the back of her participation in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November. She ran OK that day, finishing middle-of-the-pack against the toughest field she had faced yet in her career. But we didn’t learn a lot about her that day – how talented is she really? Yes, her 2 career wins were impressive, but they came in Florida-bred restricted races. Is she graded stakes quality? I’m not interested in taking a short price on a filly whose talent is still a question mark. Plus, trainer Todd Pletcher is a favorite among Gulfstream bettors – I could see her taking much more money than she deserves. That would create value everywhere else in the field.

I landed on #8 Red Carpet Ready. She’s been ultra-impressive in her 2 starts, dominating the field by 10 lengths in her career debut, and then backing it up with a strong win in a stakes race last time out. Those victories weren’t handed to her on a plate, either – she ran some fast early fractions and still had enough in the tank to kick away from the field late. I’m not worried about her brief layoff, and judging by her consistent workout pattern, she’ll be fit to fire here. I wouldn’t want to take anything much lower than her 4-1 morning line, though.

THE PLAY:

WIN: #8 Red Carpet Ready, at 7/2 or higher

THE MEGAHERTZ STAKES

SANTA ANITA, RACE 4, POST TIME 4:38PM ET

This is a very competitive turf field, where potentially 3 or 4 horses will be vying for favoritism when the gates open. Many will gravitate to #6 School Dance, off her 2nd-place finish in the G1 American Oaks last time out. She’s been in fantastic form since moving to the West Coast in the fall, and I don’t have any major issues with her. But I think she might take more money than she deserves as many will overrate her performance in the American Oaks – that field was weak for a G1, and it wasn’t that much better than what she’s facing here. Another contender is #1 Bay Storm, who ships in from South Florida. It’s a sign of confidence that trainer Jonathan Thomas ships her across the country to run here, and her tactical speed gives jockey John Velazquez options. I’m not sure she’s a 2-turn horse, though. She’s spent most of her career sprinting, and I think that’s her game. In her 2-turn debut last time out, she ran decent, setting the pace before weakening late over a Gulfstream turf course that has been very kind to pace-setters.

My pick, #2 Hamwood Flier, should also be among the favorites, but I could see her flying (pun intended) slightly under the radar. She opened a huge lead in the G1 Matriarch last time out before getting passed by Regal Glory – last year’s Champion Turf Female – in the stretch and tiring to 4th. That was a stronger effort than it looks, and she’s facing easier company here – one of my favorite handicapping angles is to bet on a horse with early speed who is facing easier competition than they faced last time out. Plus, she picks up the services of jockey Juan Hernandez, who is arguably the hottest jock in the country right now – he’s been riding lights-out the past month out on the west coast.

THE PLAY:

WIN: #2 Hamwood Flier, at 3-1 or higher