Caleb’s StableDuel Strategy – 4/30 Golden Gate Fields - DFS Karma
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Caleb’s StableDuel Strategy – 4/30 Golden Gate Fields

With Keeneland wrapping up its spring meet yesterday and Kentucky Derby fever in full swing, don’t overlook the action this weekend in San Francisco! Golden Gate Fields has an excellent 12 race card today with multiple stakes races, highlighted by the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile Stakes. Golden Gate Fields offers turf and all-weather racing rather than dirt racing, so it’s important to look for horses who have had success over the local surfaces. That being said, don’t discount Southern California shippers, as they are usually facing tougher competition and oftentimes wake up at Golden Gate at generous prices. With 12 races to pick from and some small to moderate field sizes, it is increasingly important to pick your StableDuel spots well, as even just one big negative score can dash your hopes of taking home the top prize in today’s contest. With only a $50 buy-in and a guaranteed pool of $50,000, this is a great Derby bankroll building opportunity!

If you’ve been following along with us here at DFS Karma, you already know the gig. You have a mythical $50k budget to pick 10 horses racing today. Each horse has a price, based on it’s morning line odds. Horses who are heavy favorites will cost you more salary to use, but they also generally bring more upside. Longshot horses will be cheaper but do carry some risk. You will either earn or lose points for each horse you’ve selected based on where they finish. The short version is that finishing in the top 5 earns you 10-60 points from 5th to 1st, respectively, plus or minus some points based on the margin of victory. If you finish worse than 5th, however, you lose points based on how much you lost by, so be careful with taking longshots!

Below, I’ve outlined a few horses at varying price tiers who I feel are compelling horses to include in some StableDuel stables.

If you need a refresher on scoring, please refer back to our debut article that goes a little more in-depth, located here.

Looking for other ideas to fill out your stable? Be sure to check out the discord, where we provide core plays and cheat sheets to help you win!

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High Price Favorites

II Bellator $8,500 – Race 6
I’m going with the hometown horse in the California Derby, II Bellator. This colt has really taken a big step forward since being stretched out to two turns, posting two wins from three starts going a route distance. The lone loss came in the El Camino Real Derby, where he had the misfortunate of running into two of the top three-year-old turf horses on the west coast in Mackinnon and Blackadder. With the Derby hopes placed on the backburner, Jose Bautista returned II Bellator to a realistic spot last out and was rewarded with a dominant victory. This horse loves this course and trip, something that can’t be said for the other horses likely to attract money in Cabo Spirit and Worse Read Sanchez. The former was a massive disappointment in the Jeff Ruby Stakes last out, stalking a slow pace and fading badly to be beaten by 10 lengths. While Cabo Spirit is a strong turf horse, it’s difficult to endorse his synthetic form given his one race at Turfway Park. Worse Read Sanchez is actually taking a substantial step up in class today, as he’s been facing exclusively Cal-breds at Santa Anita and was beaten as the even-money favorite last out. II Bellator is a safe pick who offers win upside at a fair price.


Mid Price Plays

Bubbles On Ice $6,500 – Race 7
Bubbles On Ice may get dismissed on the board given her lackluster performance last out, but I think she has a huge chance in this race. She was facing some extremely talented horses when racing in Europe, including Shale, Pretty Beautiful, and The Lir Jet. She won her US debut over the Chad Brown graded stakes winning filly Fluffy Socks, and she ran evenly in her next few starts against some very stiff competition. She was transferred to the McCarthy barn and given some time off before returning to the races last month, and she just raced like a horse who needed a start after the lengthy layoff. McCarthy is a trainer who typically will race his horses into shape, as he does better with horses second and third off the layoff, so I expect Bubbles On Ice to take a big step forward today. There should be ample speed involved to set up her late kick, and I much prefer her to Avenue de France, who was a distant last in a four horse race last out at Santa Anita.


Value Plays

She’s Got a Way $3,000 – Race 8
Race 8 is an interesting handicapping challenge as many horses in this event are trying something for the first time, whether it’s the surface, distance, or facing winners. I’ll acknowledge that My Kentucky Girl is a deserving favorite who looked awfully good in her debut. However, 2/1 is a very short price to take on a horse who has never raced around two turns, never raced on synthetic, and now faces winners for the first time. She wasn’t exactly respected at the window that day, being sent off at 20-1, and she arguably caught a closer-biased track at Santa Anita that day. I prefer to take a price in this race, and She’s Got a Way fits the bill. This filly should arguably have won each of her last three starts if not for some bad racing luck. She had a miserable trip last out, repeatedly checking early and again in the turn while bumping into another horse and losing momentum. Two back, she stumbled out of the gate and then was forced to steady heading into the turn. She’s Got a Way runs like a filly who should improve with added ground, so I like the stretch out to a mile. Peter Eurton is a remarkable 30% (10/30) with a $4.15 ROI when going two sprints to a route over the last three years, making She’s Got a Way a big player in this race at a generous price.



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