Ft. Lauderdale Stakes:Son of Ghostzapper Looks to Have the Right Race Set-up on Saturday

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated December 30, 2022
10 min read

Ft. Lauderdale Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park!









L Saez

I Wilkes




S Leon

M Moubarak




J Ruiz

H G Motion




P Lopez

M Maker




J Leparoux

J Sisterson




M Garcia

V Oliver




J Rosario

C Clement




C Sutherland

J Delgado




J Alvarado

W Mott




J Ortiz

M Maker




S Bridgmohan

A Meah




I Ortiz Jr

T Pletcher




T Gaffalione

C Clement

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Ft. Lauderdale Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($56 in total)

$20 Win - Kentucky Ghost = $20

$2 Exacta Part Wheel - Kentucky Ghost over Colonel Liam, City Man, Tango Tango Tango, Pao Alto, Shadow Sphinx and King Cause = $12

$4 Exacta Part Wheel - Colonel Liam, City Man, Tango Tango Tango, Pao Alto, Shadow Sphinx and King Cause over Kentucky Ghost = $18

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Kentucky Ghost (10/1).

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Ft. Lauderdale Stakes

Away from the races for nine months, the Grade 1 winner Colonel Liam will make his return to the races on Saturday when he tops a field of 12 older turf males in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale at Gulfstream.

A failed attempt in the $5,000,000 Dubai Turf (G1) was his last race, but in his last American start the 5-year-old son of Liam’s Map was a convincing winner of the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf. 

That big win at Gulfstream Park was his second consecutive in the rich race and came off a similar layoff. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Colonel Liam has won 6-of-9 overall on the grass and has earned just over $1.8 million in his career.

If Colonel Liam does not return at his best this time, there are a host of horses ready to look for the upset. Chief among them is the New York-bred son of Mucho Macho Man, City Man. 

Trained by Christophe Clement, he has enjoyed his best season to date in 2022. A winner of two straight state-bred stakes, he has also won two open company stakes races in New York this year, including the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at Saratoga. 

Another who should draw attention in the 9-furlong prep for next month’s Pegasus World Cup Turf is King Cause. 

The Creative Cause gelding has never been better and is a narrow loss away from riding a three-race winning streak. A winner in both California and New York in his last three races, he exits a front-running score in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Aqueduct.

Ft. Lauderdale Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Colonel Liam

The class of the race, this millionaire son of Liam’s Map will be very tough if he can bring his “A” game on Saturday. Twice a winner of the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf over this course, you know he has the ability to beat this field, but there are questions. 

Breaking from an outside post on Saturday, he will need to work out a good trip and not get used to much heading into the first turn as he makes his first start in nine months. Adding to the concerns of the layoff, he didn’t run his best when last seen, which came overseas in Dubai. 

If near his best, he will likely win the Ft. Lauderdale, but as a heavy favorite with many questions, I am very willing to take a shot to beat him.

City Man

Don’t let the state-bred races fool you, this New York-bred son of Mucho Macho Man has been keeping good company and has been good enough to win four times in seven starts this year. 

Two of them were in restricted company, but two came in open stakes, including the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at Saratoga. He is not a deep closer, but he does like to come from off the pace for trainer Christophe Clement and that looks a good style to have on Saturday. 

This may be his toughest test yet, but with great form coming in he is a big threat to earn his fifth stakes victory of the year.

King Cause

An impressive two-length winner of the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Aqueduct, this son of Creative Cause is likely to be the third betting choice on Saturday. The first of two from the barn of Mike Maker, he has turned in three consecutive strong races coast-to-coast. 

The question will be what kind of trip he can work out. Last time he proved unstoppable on the lead, but with serious speed in this field, that looks unlikely. He can stalk and win, but others behind him early will probably be tough to hold off.

As good as he is going right now, he is an obvious threat, but I think the race set-up will favor others more.

Kentucky Ghost

With an expected hot early pace this late-running son of Ghostzapper looks to have the right race set-up on Saturday. He doesn’t always fire, but when he does, he is tough to beat. Two starts back, he rolled from well back to beat good horses in a Keeneland allowance.

His last race out at Del Mar was admittedly not good but that was a very tough spot and not the kind of set-up he needed. This should help his odds in this deep field.

Twice a strong closing winner this year, I think the Vicki Oliver-trained runner will bounce back with a good effort. I’m expecting good value with him here and I like his chances as much as anyone. He is the top pick. 

Good Governance

This consistent son of Kingman will be making his first start since switching from the barn of Chad Brown to Anna Meah. That alone makes me worry about his prospects moving forward. 

He’s been extremely lightly raced throughout his career, and despite having some really good performances earlier in his career in graded stakes races, he may have lost a step of late. 

At his very best, he is a threat. But with his soundness a question, and leaving the top turf barn in the country, I cannot support him on Saturday.

Street Ready

Breaking from the rail, the task seems clear for this speedy son of More Than Ready. He will look to be part of the pace early and then see how far he can go. 

Unfortunately, there is plenty of early speed in here, and it will be tough for him to have any sort of breather during the 9-furlong race. 

His recent form, which includes a nice win at Keeneland, and two solid runner-up performances at Saratoga, is good enough to believe he would be a real threat if there was less pace in the race, but as it is, I do not like his chances down the stretch.

Palo Alto

This French import has run three races since coming to America and the barn of Graham Motion. He has yet to win, but he has run well enough to believe that he could break through in the near future. 

His best distance is probably a mile, so the extra furlong here is a bit of a question mark, but if he can display a quick turn of foot rallying into the fast pace, he could pull a surprise on Saturday.

In good hands and having faced solid competition on both sides of the pond, He is a must include in the exotics.

Shadow Sphinx

This experienced son of Pioneerof the Nile has won nine times on the turf in his career. Most recently he has solid back-to-back second-place finishes at Aqueduct for trainer Mike Maker. 

In good form, he is also one of the horses who should benefit from a fast early pace and the distance should suit him. 

This will be his tenth race of the year, but he looks to be going as well as ever. The odds should be attractive, he is one of several in here with a legitimate shot to win. 


This one looks to be the speed of the speed, but with other fast horses in the race, I suspect his task of lasting the entire nine furlongs on Saturday will not be easy. 

He is a consistent horse, who won a stakes race at Monmouth Park two starts back, so if the son of Into Mischief  is not pressured much early he becomes a threat to stick around late. 

I am predicting a demanding early pace here, though, so it is hard for me to like his chances when the real running begins.  

Tango Tango Tango

This stakes winning son of Tourist looks like an interesting longshot on Saturday. He’s been first or second in six of his ten career turf races and generally kept pretty strong company. 

Trained by Jack Sisterson, he has also won his only career start on the Gulfstream Park turf course. His versatile running style should allow him to be a bit off the expected strong pace here. 

With a couple of local preps over the all-weather track, he should be ready to fire back on his preferred surface. I believe he is a longshot who has a legitimate chance to run a strong race in the Ft. Lauderdale.

Carpenters Call

New to the Hall of Fame barn of Bill Mott, this son of Tourist has won half of six career turf starts. Having said that, they all came against lesser competition, and in his last three starts on the grass he has been beaten in graded stakes races. 

His last three races have come on either dirt or all-weather surfaces and he has had mixed results. His turf races are at least good enough to consider him as a longshot here, but there are just too many other horses which I like better to be excited for his chances.


This 3-year-old son of Intello looks to be a big longshot on Saturday. Both of his career wins have come on the Gulfstream Park all-weather track and he is 0-for-2 so far on the grass. 

His effort in the Grade 3 Virginia Derby was not bad, but it only gets tougher as he faces good older horses here. 

With his late run, he could probably pass a few tired horses in the stretch, but anything better than that would be a surprise.

Decorated Invader

This multiple graded stakes winner is on the also-eligible list and will only run in the event of a scratch. If he does draw in, he should not be eliminated. Although his best days seem to be behind him, he has not performed poorly in three starts this year. 

Trained by Christophe Clement, he was a sharp winner of a Woodbine allowance race two starts back. Last time he got little early pace to run into on a yielding turf course when fourth in the Artie Schiller. 

With an expected faster early pace on Saturday, he is eligible to kick in a nice rally and be involved in the exotics.

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How to Watch the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes

  • What: Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (Grade 2)
  • Location: Gulfstream Park
  • Time: Saturday, December 31 -- 4:10 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Purse: $200,000
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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Horse Racing
Betting Picks
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.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
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