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Zerillo: Saudi Cup 2020 & Fountain of Youth Day Odds, Picks, Exotics

Zerillo: Saudi Cup 2020 & Fountain of Youth Day Odds, Picks, Exotics article feature image

Horsephotos/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Smith aboard McKinzie

  • The 2020 Saudi Cup -- the richest event in horse racing -- gets underway at 12:40 p.m. ET following seven other races. There's also Kentucky Derby circuit action with the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park at 6:04 p.m. ET..
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the latest Saudi Cup odds and gives his picks, including a few exotics, for a full day of horse racing.

Saturday is due for a big day of racing, including the first edition of the world’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh.

Additionally, the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail continues to heat up with a loaded Fountain of Youth Day card at Gulfstream Park.

Let me first take you through my picks for the Saudi Cup, and then discuss the final five graded stakes races in South Florida.

Saudi Cup 2020 Odds & Picks

Race 8

12:40 p.m. ET

There’s no shortage of speed in this race, which is run at the relatively unusual distance of nine furlongs (1 1/8 miles) and one turn, rather than the more customary 10 furlongs (1 1/4 miles) distance typically reserved for classic dirt routes.

Dirt races typically go through the American horses, and the morning line odds here reflect that – naming the No. 7 Maximum Security (5-2), No. 8 McKinzie (3-1), No. 10 Mucho Gusto (6-1), No. 14 Midnight Bisou (8-1), and No. 12 Tacitus (15-1) amongst the top choices.

The Belmont stakes-placed No. 6 Gronkowski (30-1) is the only true American longshot – but he’s not a horse that I’m particularly interested in using underneath in exotics.

I will use the aptly-named but British-bred No. 11 North America (30-1) however, a consistent runner who, unlike many other horses in this field, isn’t coming off of a significant layoff.

From the American contingent, Mucho Gusto is the one who has run most recently – winning the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 25, in breakout fashion, following a four-month layoff. He looks to be hitting his ceiling.

From the remaining contenders, I prefer the large No. 3 Chrysoberyl (10-1), who is undefeated (6-0-0) and owns a strong late kick to run down a contested lead.

And it’s difficult not to include the mare, No. 13 Magic Wand (30-1), who has raced recently, placed nine times in 23-lifetime starts and always gives an honest effort.

The American mare, Midnight Bisou, excels around one turn and needs to be included underneath.

And I can’t leave off Tacitus – a royally bred giant who suffered from poor luck throughout his three-year-old campaign. He should improve during his four-year-old season.

But I ultimately think that the Japanese Chryosberyl or one of the three American favorites – Maximum Security, McKinzie, or Mucho Gusto – captures the first Saudi Cup – as the fastest, most consistent, and most improved horses in the field, respectively.

Mucho Gusto offers the most value amongst the American runners and might be coming into his own as a four-year-old – but I’m going to spread some money around in exotics.

Pick: 10 over 7, 8, 3

2020 Fountain of Youth Day (Gulfstream Park)

Race 10 (Davona Dale)

3:59 p.m. ET

Todd Pletcher-trained No. 6 Spice is Nice (7-5) is the deserving top selection, and worth playing across the board, though you need to include the undefeated No. 9 Tonalist’s Shape (7-2) in multi-race wagers.

The No. 7 Bayerness (9-2) rounds out my trifecta, but the No. 1 Chart (10-1) or No. 4 Nikki and Papa (12-1) can also hit the board.

Pick: 6 over 9,7,1

Race 11 (Canadian Turf)

4:30 p.m. ET

A difficult race to handicap for single-race wagering, but I would include the No. 1 Hay Dakota (4-1), No. 4 Hembree (5-1) and No. 5 Somebeyay (9-2) as “A” horses in multi-race wagers.

Race 12 (Gulfstream Park Mile)

5:01 p.m. ET

This dirt race for older horses has a ton of pace, pointing to the late-kicking No. 2 Haikal (10-1) and No. 11 Hog Creek Hustle (12-1) to pull an upset bid.

But I won’t be totally against the No. 3 Phat Man (4-1) or No. 9 Mr. Freeze (7-2) in either single or multi-race wagering.
Pick: 2 over 3, 9, 11

Race 13 (Mac Diarmida)

5:32 p.m. ET

There are four horses that I like in here, and they’re all lined up next to one another.

The No. 4 Sadler’s Joy (7-2), No. 5 Channel Maker (8-1), No. 6 Zulu Alpha (2-1), and No. 7 Admission Office (15-1) will each be included on my tickets, and I’ll eye the upset.

Pick: 7 over 5,6,4

Race 14  (Fountain of Youth)

6:04 p.m. ET 

The No. 5 Dennis’ Moment (2-1) should lay over this field on his best day, but he stumbled badly out of the gate in his most recent start on November 1, and we will see how sharp he is to begin his three-year-old season.

There’s a lot of speed in here, and the outside horses may be compromised – which includes likely contenders No. 10 Shotski (10-1), No. 11 Ete Indian (8-1), and No. 12 Chance It (7-2).

I prefer the No. 6 As Seen On TV (9-2), who should improve with more distance and was herded out in his second-place finish to Chance It last time out.

I’ll also be using Chad Brown’s No. 7 Country Grammer (15-1) underneath, but I think that one of my top two selections wins this important Derby prep.
Pick: 6 over 5,7,11

Below is a sample Pick-5 ticket (starting with Race 10 at Gulfstream), but stay tuned on Twitter for my actual bets for Saturday’s Saudi Cup and Fountain of Youth Day cards.

Sample Pick-5 Ticket

(Bet: $.50, Ticket Cost = $96)

  • Leg 1: 6,9
  • Leg 2: 1,4,5
  • Leg 3: 2,3,9,11
  • Leg 4: 4,5,6,7
  • Leg 5: 5,6

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