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Best Horse Racing Bets Today | Gulfstream Park, March 2

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published March 2, 2024
7 min read
Best Horse Racing Bets Today Gulfstream Park March 2

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The road to the 2024 Kentucky Derby continues through South Florida on Saturday, as two of last year’s top juveniles, Dornoch and Locked, make their return to the races as the headliners in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. The $400,000 featured event of the afternoon will close out a card of racing which includes nine stakes races, eight of them graded.  

Note to be outdone by their male counterparts, a field of eight talented Kentucky Oaks hopefuls will do battle in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes earlier in the card. The champion 2-year-old filly of 2023, Just F Y I will be making her seasonal debut in that one. Without further ado, let’s take a look at my favorite wagers from an excellent day of racing at Gulfstream Park.

Race #8 Herecomesthebride Stakes (Grade 3) $200,000 1 Mile Turf - 2:45 pm EST

Led by the top two finishers from the Ginger Brew Stakes earlier this season, a field of eleven sophomore fillies will take to the turf in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Irish-bred Ozara should rule as the favorite in this one. A daughter of Lope de Vega, she was an impressive winner over her top rival Life’s an Audible when last seen in the Ginger Brew. Overall, she has won three of five starts, including two straight stakes scores over the Gulfstream turf.

Meanwhile, Life’s an Audible remains a strong rival. A late-running daughter of Audible, she rebounded off that second-place finish behind Ozara in the Ginger Brew to score a victory in the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant Stakes last month at Gulfstream Park. The Todd Pletcher-trainee has finished first or second in four of her five career turf races.

Beaten last time by Life’s an Audible, the speedy Macanga is another to consider on Saturday. An impressive maiden winner two starts back, the American Pharoah filly should go right to the lead again on Saturday. In a tight call, I will look for Life’s an Audible to pick up the pieces with her late run this time. She is the top pick.

My Play

  • $20 Exacta Box - Life’s an Audible and Ozara = $40

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Race #9 Davona Dale Stakes (Grade 2) $200,000 1 Mile Dirt - 3:17 pm EST

Away since clinching a championship in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last fall at Santa Anita, Just F Y I makes her long-awaited return to the races on Saturday as the one to beat in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

A daughter of the unbeaten champion Justify, the Bill Mott-trained filly was a perfect three for three in her eclipse award-winning season. A maiden winner at Saratoga, she added the Grade 1 Frizette at Aqueduct, before her determined victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 3. 

Chief among her opposition in this one-mile test will be a pair of fillies who are both undefeated in their first two starts. Leslie’s Rose could be the more well liked of the two. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she blitzed her competition in a maiden race at Aqueduct in her debut. More recently, she got the best of the impressive next out winner Gun Song in a Gulfstream Park allowance.

The other unbeaten filly also has a big shot here. Into Champagne was a very impressive debut winner at Ellis Park last summer for trainer Ian Wilkes. Away for more than six months, she rallied to win the Glitter Woman Stakes at Gulfstream Park last time out. With the ability to come from just off the pace, the daughter of Into Mischief will be the top pick to pull off the upset. 

My Play

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Into Champagne over Just F Y I, Leslie’s Rose, and Whocouldaskformo = $30

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Just F Y I, Leslie’s Rose, and Whocouldaskformo over Into Champagne = $30

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Race #11 Gulfstream Park Mile (Grade 2) $200,000 1 Mile Dirt - 4:20 pm EST

Dropping down in class after a mid-pack finish behind National Treasure in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, Il Miracolo may have found a winning spot when he tops a field of eight older males in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile on Saturday.

A chestnut son of Gun Runner, the 4-year-old has kept top company for more than a year for trainer Antonio Sano and counts a win in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones as his biggest career victory. Several solid efforts since that win in August point him out as the class of the race.

Among the others, Tumbarumba and Steal Sunshine were not far apart when first and third in the recent Grade 3 Fred Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream Park and both are stakes winners who have a big shot in this one.

Another threat on Saturday is the Todd Pletcher-trained Wit. A grade stakes winner, he has plenty of back class. The Practical Joke son has found success on both turf and dirt and seems well suited for the one-mile trip. I cannot overlook the sharp form on Tumbarumba, however, in this one. He is the top pick.

My Play 

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Tumbarumba over Il Miracolo, Wit, and Steal Sunshine = $30

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Il Miracolo, Wit, and Steal Sunshine over Tumbarumba = $30

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Race #14 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade 2) $400,000 1 1/16 Miles Dirt - 6:10 pm EST

In the afternoon’s feature event, a pair of the nation’s top juveniles from last year, Dornoch and Locked, will face each other for the first time as they make their sophomore debuts in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

An extremely game-winner of the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct last November, Dornoch could be the slight choice in this Grade 2 affair. A son of Good Magic, and a full brother to Mage, he ran well in all four starts last year for trainer Danny Gargan. He closed out the season with a big maiden win at Keeneland, before scoring over Sierra Leone in the Remsen. 

Already a Grade 1 winner, Locked certainly cannot be ignored in this 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Derby prep. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Gun Runner was also good throughout in four starts at 2. A winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity two starts back, he finished his first season with a rallying third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Two others to consider here are both coming out of the same maiden race. Speak Easy and Victory Avenue debuted against each other and looked like very talented colts when running first and second in a fast 7-furlong affair five weeks ago.  Because of the expected swift early pace, however, Locked will be my choice to rally strongly down the stretch. He is the top pick. 

My Play

  • $50 Win - Locked = $50

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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

287 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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