Horse Racing Picks for Friday, May 29: Best Bets at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita


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Things continue to heat up around North American race tracks, with several big cards kicking off a strong weekend slate of thoroughbred action.

Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Tampa Bay Downs highlight today’s afternoon lineup, with Charles Town Races, Los Alamitos and Remington Park featured on the evening slate.

Once again, I am keying on the Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park cards, with these top plays at those tracks:

Gulfstream Park

Race 1
Time: 12:45 p.m. ET

I am coming right out of the gate with a marquee play in the opener, backing morning-line favorite No. 6 Cactus Kitten (2-1) in this maiden claimer for fillies and mares.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. climbs in the saddle for trainer Mike Maker, who is sending out his filly for her much-anticipated debut. Cactus Kitten is by champion sire Kitten’s Joy, who is one of North America’s leading stallions.

I have no doubt Cactus Kitten can get the 1 1/8th-mile distance and gets Lasix for the first time, which should only help her in her attempt to notch her maiden score.

I am playing Cactus Kitten and No. 11 Subtle Joy (3-1) on top in my exotics, with No. 1 Naturell (20-1), No. 5 Veer (5-1) and No. 7 Bettin Onna Kitten (9-2) underneath in my exacta and trifecta wagers.

The bets:

  • $7 Win/Place/Show: No. 6 Cactus Kitten (2-1) — $21 Ticket
  • $4 exacta wager: 6/11 over 5/6/7/11 — $24 Ticket
  • $1.50 trifecta wager: 6/11 over 5/6/7/11 over 1/5/6/7/11 — $27 Ticket

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Race 8
Time: 4:21 p.m. ET

I am backing No. 7 Flora Fantasy (7-5) in this Allowance Optional Claiming event for 3-year-olds and older.

Flora Fantasy is seeking her fourth consecutive victory, going out this time for trainer Jorge Delgado. The filly by Cowtown Cat was scooped up by Delgado in the claim box following her most recent win.

Ortiz Jr. is aboard the favorite and I can’t see her having any issues with this group of contenders.

I am using Flora Fantasy on top of my exacta wager with No. 1 How Sweep It Is (7-2), then throwing No. 3 Sayonara Baby (9-2), No. 4 Assume Control (12-1) and No. 5 Merseyside (8-1) on the back end of the play.

The bets:

  • $9 Win/Place/Show: No. 7 Flora Fantasy (7-5) — $27 Ticket
  • $4 exacta wager: 1/7 over 1/3/4/5/7 — $32 Ticket

Favorite Multi-Race Wager at Gulfstream Park

  • Pick 3 (Races 4-5-6): 2,4,6,7 / 1,6,9 / 5,6,7,10,11 ($0.50 Pick 3 = $30 Ticket)
  • Daily Double (Races 1 and 2): 1,5,6,11 / 2,3,8 ($3 Daily Double = $36 Ticket)

LIMITED-TIME OFFER! Bet $300, Lose Nothing: Get your first horse racing bet 100% risk-free at TVG this weekend.


Race 4
Time: 5:05 p.m. ET

I am starting my top plays at Santa Anita off with No. 6 Boonesboro Beauty (9-5) in this claiming race for fillies and mares going a mile in distance.

Jockey Abel Cedillo should be able to work out a perfect trip from the outside post and get his charge rolling down the stretch. Boonesboro Beauty has posted decent Beyer Speed Figures (57-55-68) for this level and she should relish this opportunity.

Play Boonesboro Beauty across the board in your Win-Place-Show wagering and on top of your exotics.

I am boxing her in my exacta with No. 1 KP Whirlwind (5-2) and No. 5 Billy K at 2-1 odds. I am also going to use Boonesboro Beauty and Billy K on top of my trifecta wager, with KP Whirlwind, No. 2 Super Bunny (8-1) and No. 4 Undo’s Treasure (5-1) underneath.

The bets:

  • $5 Win/Place/Show: No. 6 Boonesboro Beauty (9-5) — $15 Ticket
  • $4 exacta box wager: 1/5/6 — $24 Ticket
  • $2 trifecta wager: 5/6 over 1/5/6 over 1/2/4/5/6 — $24 Ticket

LIMITED-TIME OFFER! Bet $300, Lose Nothing: Get your first horse racing bet 100% risk-free at TVG this weekend.

Race 7
Time: 6:41 p.m. ET

This is a tough, five-horse field to handicap, but I like No. 5 Lofty (9-5) to prevail in this 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies.

Trainer Mike McCarthy has the class of the group, with Geovanni Franco getting the mount. Lofty has posted Beyer Speed Figures of 82, 81 and 91 in her last three races, putting her on a different level than her foes.

I am playing Lofty across the board and on top of my exacta-trifecta wagers, along with No. 5 Mean Sophia at 12-1 odds. If the top horses go too fast and the race falls apart late, I expect Cedillo and Mean Sophia will have a shot at picking up the pieces late for the potential upset win.

Play No. 2 Bella Vita (3-1) and No. 3 Lighthouse (2-1) on the back end of those exacta and trifecta wagers.

The bets:

  • $4 Win/Place/Show: No. 4 Lofty (9-5) — $12 Ticket
  • $4 exacta wager: 4/5 over 2/3/4/5 — $24 Ticket
  • $2 trifecta wager: 4/5 over 2/3/4/5 over 2/3/4/5 — $24 Ticket

Favorite Multi-Race Wager at Santa Anita

  • Daily Double (Races 4 and 5): 1,6 / 1,4,6,7 ($3 Daily Double = $24 Ticket)
  • Pick 3 (Races 6-7-8): 2,3,5 / 2,3,4,5 / 2,3,5,6,8 ($0.50 Pick 3 = $30 Ticket)

LIMITED-TIME OFFER! Bet $300, Lose Nothing: Get your first horse racing bet 100% risk-free at TVG this weekend.

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