Race 10 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 30 | Post Time 4:17 PM Eastern Time

Sand Springs Stakes | Purse $100,000 | One Mile on Turf | Fillies and Mares, Four Years Old and Upward

 

Fire Key (2) won a pair of similar $100K stakes on turf last fall, both six furlong sprints, but proved herself competitive at this level in her first two-turn race in a long time, second off a two and one-half month layoff, in January. That was in the South Beach Stakes over this course and she rallied from 12th of 13 early to be beaten a length for the win. That was her first start since taking blinkers off and she ran even better, although fifth, in the higher level Grade 3 Honey Fox Stakes four weeks ago, beaten two lengths at the end but only a half-length from the third finisher, with Valedictorian (5) another three-quarters of a length ahead in second. Considering Valedictorian is 5 to 2 odds to start the betting and Fire Key is 10 to 1, Fire Key is the better best of the pair to be sure.

Mrs. Ramona G (3) is a lightly raced filly with a four for eight record. Removing her only dirt start she’s four for seven including a win in a classified allowance race (just below this listed stakes level) over the course at this one mile trip in January. That was a career-best effort which earned her a 105 figure. Considering the best last race figure in the field belongs to Valedictorian, who opens at 5 to 2, with Mrs. Ramona G opening at 12 to 1 we have another horse with excellent value for our wagering dollars.

Valedictorian (5) doesn’t have many knocks except low odds. She’s 10 for 25 overall and 7 for 16 on turf, three of those wins coming at Gulfstream including in the tougher Grade 3 Suwanee River Stakes in February. She’s rarely off the board so must be given every consideration when making bets in this race, but she’s not a standout by any means with her best recent figures 102, 106 and 107 which just aren’t far superior to a number of other horses in here so even if she repeats them she doesn’t have to win.

Proctor’s Ledge (5) is a very talented filly who has won a pair of grade 2 stakes but is coming back from five and one-half months off and I think that’s too much recency to give away here so I’ll only use her on exacta tickets. Similarly, Quebec (4), who opens at 3/1, has a shot but as she has only won once her last nine races and as that win came in an allowance race, I just can’t endorse her as a win contender.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets: Bet Fire Key (2) to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more. Add a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

Bet Mrs. Ramona G (3) to win at 4 to 1 or more. Add a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

Exacta: Box Fire Key (2), Mrs. Ramona G (3) and Valedictorian (5).

Optional additional exacta plays: Fire Key and Mrs. Ramona G (3) over ALL.

All over Fire Key (2) and Mrs. Ramona G (3)