Horse Racing Picks for Friday, April 17: Best Value Bets for Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park, and Tampa Bay Downs

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Friday horse racing begins at Tampa Bay Downs at 12:24 p.m. ET, at Gulfstream Park at 1:00 p.m. ET, and at Oaklawn Park at 2:05 p.m. ET.

I’ll take you through each of the three tracks and provide my favorite win bets, single-race exotics, and multi-race wagering strategies for the day.

On Friday, the feature races are Races 5 and 9 at Oaklawn, the Rainbow Miss Stakes, and the Rainbow Stakes.


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Tampa Bay Downs

 

Race 1 

Time: 12:24 p.m. ET

I’ll use three horses out of this six-furlong dirt sprint, including the likely pacesetter No. 2 Expediter (6-1), who hasn’t raced since July but has shown good workouts of late and is the only horse in the field to crack a 70 Beyer.

I’ll also use the No. 3 Young American (3-1), who takes a class drop and may have ample pace to set him up late, along with the No. 4 Game Day Drama (5-2), who has shown that he can either be on the lead or sit just off of the pace and still run a good race.

Picks: 2, over 3, 4, 5

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Race 2

Time: 12:52 p.m. ET

The No. 8 Freedom Lass (3-1) is the top selection in this six-furlong race – after leading from the gate to the 16th pole in her last start, and now taking a drop-in class.

There are a couple of interesting first-time starters in this field, however, in the No. 2 Fast Fionnuala (4-1), for a barn that is 7 for 15 at the maiden claimer level, and the No. 3 Hyperloop (9-2) for a barn that is 12 for 66 (18%).

The No. 1 Timeless Di (6-1) should also improve in her second career start, after making her debut on March 25.

Picks: 8, over 3, 1, 2

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Race 3 

Time: 1:21 p.m. ET

This is another six-furlong dirt sprint, and I’ll be using four selections for multi-race purposes: the No. 3 Momento (5-2), No. 4 Lovielee (12-1), No. 5 My Sister’s Keeper (7-2), and No. 6 Karatbars (3-1)

Picks: 4, over 3, 5, 6

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Race 4 

Time: 1:52 p.m. ET

I’ll go three-deep in Race 4, which will go one mile on turf and will include the No. 6 No Regrets (3-1) who should be able to work out a stalking trip and comes off of a bullet workout on March 22; and both the late-kicking No. 3 Fine Spirit (4-1) and No. 10 Travel Agent (7-2)

Picks: 3, over 6, 10, 5

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Race 5

Time: 2:25 p.m. ET

The only two horses in this field with past Beyers higher than 50 are the No. 2 Sir Swaysalot (4-1) and No. 6 Just Shoot Already (3-1), though the No. 3 Not Telling (6-1) ran a 41 in his debut and should improve with the addition of Lasix this time.

The 2 and 6 are my multi-race selections, and potentially an exacta box.

Picks: 2, over 6, 3, 8

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Race 6

Time: 2:55 p.m. ET

The No. 8 Valiant Virtue (3-1) drops in from stakes company and could be the main speed in a race without pace, but he’s also shown the ability to rate behind other horses in the early running.

He’ll likely have to hold off the No. 10 Matty’s Express (7-2), the only horse in here with a 70 Beyer, at some point in the stretch.

The No. 3 Caramelito (12-1) should also come with a late kick but will need to improve in order to beat these foes.

Picks: 8 over 10, 3, 7

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Race 7

Time: 3:26 p.m. ET

My “A” option in this seven-furlong dirt sprint is the No. 9 Sacco and Vanzetti (2-1), who wired a field while setting fast fractions on March 28. However, their barn is 1 for 15 at the current meet and doesn’t boast particularly impressive stats in this type of spot.

My alternative is the No. 11 The Exception (5-2), who rallied from well off of the pace to finish third in his last start and goes out for a trainer winning at a 26% rate in sprints.

Picks: 9, over 11, 1, 8


Race 8

Time: 3:58 p.m. ET

After looking to single in Race 7, we’ll go three-deep again in the final race of the day – another six-furlong dirt sprint – with the No. 3 Kitchen Fire (8-1), No. 6 Zorb (3-1), and No. 9 Town Classic (5-2)

Kitchen Fire gets back to his best surface, and has back class with an 86 Beyer on the main track from November, and Zorb makes his first start since December.

Town Classic is in good form, but also has a propensity to run second – 14 times in 40 lifetime starts – but his 93 Beyer from three starts back indicates loads of potential.

Picks: 3, over 9, 6, 7

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Bets for Tampa Bay Downs, April 17

Favorite Win Bets

  • Race 6: No. 8 Valiant Virtue (3-1)
  • Race 7: No. 9 Sacco and Vanzetti (2-1)

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Sample Multi-Race Wagers 

  • Daily Double (Race 1): 2,3,4 / 8 ($2 Ticket = $6)
  • Pick 3 (Race 1): 2,3,4 / 8 / 3,4,5,6 ($1 Ticket = $12)
  • Pick 5 (Race 1): 2,3,4 / 8 / 3,4,5,6 / 3,6,10 / 2,6 ($0.50 Ticket = $36)
  • Pick 4 (Race 2): 8 / 3,4,5,6 / 3,6,10 / 2,6 ($0.50 Ticket = $12)
  • Pick 6 (Race 3): 3,4,5,6 / 3,6,10 / 2,6 / 8,10 / 9 / 3,6,9 ($0.20 Ticket = $28.80)
  • Pick 5 (Race 4): 3,6,10 / 2,6 / 8,10 / 9 / 3,6,9 ($0.50 Ticket = $18)
  • Pick 4 (Race 5): 2,6 / 8,10 / 9, 11 / 3,6,9 ($0.50 Ticket = $12)
  • Pick 3 (Race 6): 8, 10 / 9, 11 / 3,6,9 ($0.50 Ticket = $12)
  • Daily Double (Race 7): 9, 11 / 3, 6, 9 ($1 Ticket = $6)

Gulfstream Park

Race 1 

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

The No. 10 Harmonic Thunder (5-2) looks like the class of this field in this one mile turf race. Her effort from March 25 (52 Beyer) should be enough to win after closing to finish second by a length on that day.

I’ll bet this daughter of Honor Code to win, and single her on top of some multi-race tickets.

Picks: 10, over 7, 8, 4

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Race 2

Time: 1:34 p.m. ET

Trainer Wesley Ward sends out the No. 7 Golden Pal (7-5) who he hopes to prepare for Royal Ascot this summer.

Ward wins at a 26% clip with juvenile horses, but could face a stiff test from the No. 3 Gatsby (7-2) or No. 4 Peppi (6-1), my “B” options.

Picks: 7, over 3, 4, 5

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Race 3 

Time: 2:07 p.m. ET

I’m not particularly enthusiastic about this race after the scratch to the No. 6 Sensational Ride, but I’ll go three deep with the No. 3 Love Nest (6-1), No. 5 Differential (8-1), and No. 8 Millionaire Runner (9-5).

Picks: 5, over 3, 8, 1

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Race 4 

Time: 2:39 p.m. ET

I like two contenders in this one-mile turf race – the No. 5 Fast Fraction (4-1) for trainer Saffie Joseph, and the No. 7 Garner State Park (7-2) for Todd Pletcher.

I’ll pair them in multi-race tickets, and likely an exacta box too.

Picks: 7, over 5, 8, 1

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Race 5 

Time: 3:11 p.m. ET

This is a deep race on the turf – we’ll take Todd Pletcher’s No. 2 Philly Special (5-2), in addition to the No. 5 Chochou de Boo (9-2), No. 9 Lake Parima (6-1), who should be near the pace, and the No. 11 Show Maid (12-1) as a price.

Picks: 2, over 9, 11, 5

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Race 6

Time: 3:43 p.m. ET

I don’t love this race, but would take three options for multi-race wagering: the No. 5 Do Share (4-1), who has a lot of back class, the lightly raced No. 6 Sniper Shot (6-5), and the No. 7 Royal Squeeze (6-1).

Picks: 5, over 6, 7, 8

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Race 7

Time: 4:15 p.m. ET

My tepid top selection in Race 7 is the No. 11 Sovereign Warrior (9-2), but I’ll also use the No. 3 Reservenotattained (6-1), a new gelding who has the speed to take this group gate to wire.

Picks: 11, over 3, 9, 6


Race 8

Time: 4:46 p.m. ET

The No. 11 Notorious R B G (3-1) stalked the early pace in her career debut at this distance on March 4, before going on to win gamely for jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

She should be able to work out another good trip from an outside post in this five-furlong sprint, and should win if she gets the first jump on the No. 5 Shippy (7-2) who switches over from dirt.

Picks: 11, over 5, 1, 4

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Race 9

Time: 5:17 p.m. ET

Chad Brown’s talented No. 6 Fortin Hill (9-5) only has two career starts, but both were open length victories.

Brown wins at a 31% clip with last out winners, and 28% of the time off of long layoffs (180+ days), so the spot is right. And Fortin Hill has been working well alongside graded stakes company – he looks ready to roll.

Picks: 6, over 1, 2, 7

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Race 10

Time: 5:47 p.m. ET

I’ll close the Gulfstream card with the No. 1 King of Rock (12-1) or No. 12 Magic Street (7-2), who are both lightly raced but coming off of strong recent works.

Picks: 12, over 1, 7, 3

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Bets for Gulfstream Park, April 17

Favorite Win Bets

  • Race 1: No. 10 Harmonic Thunder (5-2)
  • Race 8: No. 11 Notorious R B G (3-1)

  • Race 9: No. 6 Fortin Hill (9-5)

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Sample Multi-Race Wagers 

  • Pick 5 (Race 1): 10 / 3,4,7 / 3,5,8 / 5,7 / 2,5,9,11 ($0.50 Ticket = $36)
  • Daily Double (Race 1) 10 / 3,4,7 ($2 Ticket = $6)
  • Pick 6 (Race 5): 2,5,9,11 / 5,6,7 / 3,11 / 11 / 6 / 1,12 ($0.20 Ticket = $9.60)
  • Pick 5 (Race 6): 5,6,7 / 3,11 / 11 / 6 / 1,12 ($0.50 Ticket = $6)
  • Pick 4 (Race 7): 3,11 / 11 / 6 / 1,12 ($1 Ticket = $4)
  • Pick 3 (Race 8): 11 / 6 / 1,12 ($1 Ticket = $2)
  • Daily Double (Race 8): 11 / 6 ($2 Ticket = $2)
  • Daily Double (Race 9): 6 / 1,12 ($2 Ticket = $4)

Oaklawn Park

Race 1 

Time: 2:05 p.m. ET

The No. 5 Rockthepulpit (3-1) is my top selection, but I’m also intrigued by the No. 4 Slightly Crafty (10-1) who stretches back out to two turns after five sprint races at six furlongs.

Picks: 5, over 4, 3, 7


Race 2

Time: 2:35 p.m. ET

The No. 4 Defender (7-2) runs consistent figures and should come with a late run to put himself in contention – and the No. 1 Honoring Major (9-2) showed he could do the same on March 12, closing from eighth after moderate fractions to win by two lengths.

Picks: 4, over 1, 2, 7


Race 3 

Time: 3:05 p.m. ET

No Bets


Race 4 

Time: 3:35 p.m. ET

We’ll take three contenders out of the fourth race – Steve Asmussen’s No. 7 Elitch (7-2), in addition to the No. 3 Tapitor (6-1), and No. 5 Senor Blanco (3-1)

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Picks: 7, over 3, 5, 6


Race 5 (Rainbow Miss Stakes)

Time: 4:06 p.m. ET

This is a full field of eight state breeds, and I prefer the No. 8 Sekani (3-1) who has a ton of speed and the field’s fastest Beyer – winning by 10 lengths two starts back. But you cannot discount trainer Ronald Moquett, who has won this race the past two years, and his No. 6 Proud Victoria (5-2). The No. 2 The Mary Rose (3-1) lost by a bob last time and should be competitive here, and the No. 5 Choctaw Charlie (7-2) just missed as the odds-on favorite last month.

Picks: 8, over 6, 5, 2


Race 6

Time: 4:36 p.m. ET

The No. 8 First Citizen has the career-best Beyer in this field (83), earned last time out against older rivals. I also like the No. 11 Shacks Way (6-1) for trainer Brad Cox and the triple-crown nominated No. 12 Dreamonmebaby (4-1) who gets some class relief.

Picks: 8, over 12,11, 10


Race 7

Time: 5:06 p.m. ET

The No. 5 Junior Gilliam (4-1) is the one to beat if he can sit closer to the pace than he was last time. But I’ll also use Steve Asmussen’s No. 3 Summer Revolution (3-1), who should also be running late and will have a bit extra steam cutting after back to a one turn race. 

Picks: 5, over 3, 7, 8


Race 8

Time: 5:38 p.m. ET

No bets


Race 9

Time: 6:09 p.m. ET

This is the race of the day, with a $100,000 purse for three-year-old Arkansas breds.

The No. 10 Zaino Boyz (8-5) should be fast out of the gate and on or near the lead. He’s a three-time winner in a race where nobody else has more than one win, and three competitors are still maidens.

My one alternative is the No. 7 Main in the Can (8-1), who was game in the stretch of his second career start and looked good in recent works. He should improve in his third time out on the track.

Picks: 10, over 7, 2, 6

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]


Race 10

Time: 6:38 p.m. ET

The No. 2 Scrutinizer (7-2) has won four of six starts while posting consistent speed figures – he’s a sure contender. The No. 3 Codetowin (9-2) has won five of six and cuts back to his ideal distance.

I also like the No. 8 Irritator (10-1) for trainer Tom Amoss, who wins at a 28% clip when moving from turf to dirt.

And I’m finding it difficult to leave off the No. 4 Ruler of the Nile (4-1) and the No. 11 Midnight Las Vegas (4-1).

Picks: 2, over 3, 8, 4


Bets for Oaklawn Park, April 17

Favorite Win Bets

  • Race 9: No. 10 Zaino Boyz (8-5)

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Sample Multi-Race Wagers (EDIT)

  • Daily Double (Race 1): 4,5 / 1,4 ($2 Ticket = $8)
  • Daily Double (Race 6): 8,11,12 / 3,5 ($2 Ticket = $12)
  • Daily Double (Race 9): 10 / 2,3,4,8,11 ($2 Ticket = $10)

 

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]

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