Without a doubt, Fort Larned is the most talented horse in the Grade Two Gulfstream Park Handicap. The five-year-old Ian Wilkes-trained horse was dominant in winning the Breeders Cup Classic in November.
However, Fort Larned has been inactive over four months now, and the eight-furlong distance today is much shorter than the 10 furlongs that he's been around. If you were ever going to bet against this talented horse, today would be the day.
Fort Loudon, a four-year-old colt trained by Nick Zito, should be aggressive early and push the pace from fast to blazing. In his last start on February 9, Fort Loudon prevailed at seven furlongs in 1:21.4. The added furlong is a big question mark, especially since this horse is winless in two career starts at the distance.
Swagger Jack is another talented horse who could be a threat in the stretch. With three wins in five career starts at eight furlongs, including two over the main track at Gulfstream, this Martin Wolfson horse will benefit from the early pace.
With early speed everywhere in this race, I'm going to pick Discreet Dancer to win this $300,000 feature at Gulfstream.
Todd Pletcher trains the lightly raced four-year-old colt, but with three wins in four starts over the main track at Gulfstream, I clearly think this is a "horse for the course." In his only start at the distance, Discreet Dancer easily won by over five lengths in 1:36.1.
Discreet Dancer will sit off the early speed, make a move on Fort Larned and win by just over a length in 1:34.2 and pay almost around $10. Fort Larned will use this race to set up another big year.