A quartet of Sunshine Millions Preview grass stakes have been rescheduled for this weekend after wet weather wreaked havoc on Gulfstream Park West a week ago. Saturday’s reshuffled lineup now includes the Sunshine Millions Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf Previews. The Sunday card will include the Filly and Mare Turf and Juvenile Turf divisions. The 1-1/16 miles SM Turf Preview will be our focus and has lured a strong field of 10 looking to prepare for the Jan. 16 Sunshine Millions Day card at Gulfstream Park.
Defending champion GALLEON MAST leads a group of listed stakes winners that also includes SECOND MATE, SCRAPS, MONFORTE and MUGGSAMATIC. This is an evenly matched group on class.
#1 Hero Up – Ridden by Leonel Reyes and trained by Laura Cazares. Just 2 for 15 lifetime, and has been overmatched in races against much lighter competition. Two starts back was probably the best of the career, and it was a 2nd place finish in which he faded late down the stretch. He has the rail and has speed so he will be forwardly placed to be sure, but has little chance of seeing it through from start to finish.
#2 Sassy But Smart – Ridden by Luca Panici and trained by Kendall Condie. A winner last time out with a nice stalking trip, but that was against much weaker. Sassy But Smart just doesn’t stack up to the others in this field based on prior races. I look for this one to be sitting mid pack at best, and maybe even towards the back without ever really making a move forward.
#3 Venezuelan Hug – Ridden by Angel Arroyo and trained by Danny Gargan. This is an interesting colt from the Gargan barn. His start 2 back is certainly good enough to run right with this field. He had 2 races against top tier competition and neither of those went well, but this isn’t top tier competition. He seems to match up well here, and this race could also set up for him. On paper there is decent speed in this race which could set up for his big late closing kick.
#4 Sir Seamus – Ridden by Emisael Jaramillo and trained by Carlos David. Speaking of the speed Venezuelan Hug hopes to get it could come from this horse right here. Sir Seamus in his last 4 starts has gone right to the front. In 3 of those he was able to wire the field, however last time out against a step-up in competition he faded badly and lost by 20 lengths. I think we are looking at something closer to fading out of the race than winning wire-to-wire.
#5 Second Mate – Ridden by Miguel Vasquez and trained by Michael Maker. Came close in this event last year losing by just a neck, but I wonder how much this 7 year old has left especially against horses in better form. Second Mate has run just 2 times in 2020 so far, and neither race was particularly good. I think this is a good time to pass on this horse, as he hasn’t finished 1st or 2nd since June of 2019, a span of 7 races.
#6 Scraps – Ridden by Hector Berrios and trained by Juan Alvarado. He has been completely overmatched by a few other horses in this race already. There is no reason based on those races that a reversal of form is expected. Last time out he was a 6 length loser to #10 Max K.O. and has lost multiple times to #7 Galleon Mast and #9 Muggsamatic. He generally sits way back in the pack, and would have to pass a lot of quality horses on the way, and I don’t see that happening. I like to look for longshots to finish in the top 3, and I can’t even justify that for this horse.
#7 Galleon Mast – Ridden by Paco Lopez and trained by David Fawkes. This is one of your likely favorites here in this race, and he hasn’t won a race since 2019 when he won this exact race. Comes into this race off back to back 3rd place finishes losing both races to a decent turf horse Sailing Solo. He should sit a nice trip mid pack, but I have a hard time believing he can get the job done here. He is certainly deserves a look, but I will try to beat this one.
#8 Monforte – Ridden by Edgar Prado and trained by Ruben Garcida. Another speed horse in here, but of the speed in this race Monforte is clearly the best of the bunch. Monforte is coming into this race in impeccable form. He has won 6 of his last 7 races and the only race he lost it was by a length and he came in 2nd. He also isn’t racing against weak competition, as some of these races are stakes races that are about on level or just under this race. I will say this race drew a little tougher of a field than his previous starts, but he is very live coming into this one. The question will be is how much pressure does he face up front, but if he gets out there alone then this race is likely over.
#9 Muggsamatic – Ridden by Edgar Zayas and trained by Michael Maker. Likely to be the favorite in this race, and deservedly so. His speed figures are above the rest of this field, and he is ultra consistent with putting up the type of races that will beat this field. He should be sitting just off the front runners, as he is not going to let Monforte get too far away here. If Zayas can keep him in the clear and get him ready for a run at the top of the stretch then he will be very tough to beat.
#10 Max K.O. – Ridden by Cristian Torres and trained by Edward Plesa. This is another speed horse, and being drawn all the way outside forces Cristian Torres hand here. With Monforte drawn inside he is going to have to force his way up towards the front of the pack here, and I believe is likely to set up a bit of duel with Monforte. He was able to wire the field last time out, but it was a weak field, and prior to that he had faded to 5th in three straight starts. I think they will be going too fast up front to maintain the run needed to hold off these closers and Max K.O. will unfortunately be part of the pace meltdown.
1: #9 Muggsamatic
2: #3 Venezuelan Hug
3: #7 Galleon Mast
4: #8 Monforte