Irad Ortiz is the leading jockey at Gulfstream Park this season, but he has no rides at today’s meeting. Luis Saez is second in the standings, while the current leading trainer is Todd Pletcher. Saez and Pletcher join forces with Off Topic in the 16.41 EDT race and Tapit To Ride in the 17.12, which is the ninth and final race on the card. Both horses are leading contenders in their respective races and the double pays about +187.5 with BetOnline. The pair also combine with Ellis Island the 15.39 race.
Saez has had 545 rides and 113 wins at the Gulfstream meeting which started at the end of last November. His strike rate is 21% and he has won over $4 million in purses. His mounts have made the frame in almost 50% of their races. There are no statistics for level-stake betting on his rides to win or place, but that strategy is probably profitable. The 27-year-old Panamanian jockey has been riding in the United States since 2009 and has won 2,395 races in total.
Saez has never won a Triple Crown race, but Pletcher has won three Belmont Stakes and two Kentucky Derbies. He has won trainers’ titles in New York, Kentucky and Florida. Pletcher has had 48 wins from 210 runners at Gulfstream this season. He has won over $2 million in purses, his win rate is 23% and more than half his horses make the places. Horses ridden by Saez and trained by Pletcher at Gulfstream should be noted and they team up in three races on Friday.
Tapit To Ride in the Maiden Claiming race is the combination’s best chance of a winner. It’s a race for horses aged three and older over one mile and 110 yards on a fast surface. There are no winners in the field, but Tapit To Ride has the highest Official Rating. The horse has produced some decent efforts in defeat and drops a level to claiming company. Veer is not far behind the selection on ratings and could be the horse for the forecast or payout places.
Off Topic is the second-highest rated runner in the Allowance claimer for horses aged four and older over one mile on fast dirt. WW Fitzy has a slight edge on the figures but finished sixth on his latest start, though that was in a better race. Off Topic won a decent Allowance race at Belmont Park on his last start 198 days ago. That form reads better, so Off Topic can complete the double for Saez and Pletcher. It could get even better, however, as the team have another fancied runner.
Ellis Island is the second favourite behind Candy Machine in the Maiden Special Weight for horses aged three and older over one mile and 110 yards on dirt. The favourite has an Official Rating of 105, which is 10 higher than Ellis Island. However, Candy Machine raced over six furlongs at the track in his only start and is not certain to get the extra distance. Ellis Island was third over seven furlongs at Gulfstream 41 days ago so could last better over the distance.