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Free Picks for Tampa Bay Downs - 5/2/20

Race 9 Claiming $17,000 Purse 10 three-year-old fillies, with the possibility of also eligible Miss Dawn joining the race, are slated to run this one-mile turf race. While there are several capable horses in the field, three really stand out to me. #5 Matinee Girl has not raced since coasting to a wire-to-wire victory where she led by as many as nine lengths before settling for a one-and-one quarter length victory. Matinee Girl has won two of her four outings this year and all three of her career victories have come on the turf with two of those being one-mile races. Antonio Gallardo will be in the saddle for the second straight meet for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and I expect him to try to set the pace. After “placing” in the money just once in her first three career starts, #1 Sugar Fix has two victories and two-second place finishes in five meets this year. Sugar Fix nearly won back-to-back races, for the first time ever, her last time out but after leading as the horses raced down the stretch, she wasn’t able to hold on and finished a gamely second. The Florida bred brown filly has earned both of her wins at this race track, on this particular surface, and at the one-mile distance. #4Strong Gem is another possible contender with the Kentucky-bred filly closing out her previous race (April 15) strong as she moved up from third place -- one and one-half lengths behind the leader -- at the ¾ pole to running away with the victory in the $10,000 claiming victory, by five and one-quarter lengths. Strong Gem, who will have Angel Suarez in the saddle for the first time, has won 40% of her starts at Tampa and 40% of attempts on turf. If #3 Peace Taker is able to get “out of the gate” clean and be among the leaders and harass Matinee Girl as she is the only horse that has shown enough early speed to contest Matinee Girl. Jockey Scott Spieth will ride Peace Taker for the first time and Spieth has done well with the females, finishing in the money in 47% of his career races with them.

Picks: I am going with the #5 to win if she goes off at least 2-to-1. I also like an exacta box of #5, #1. For a more exotic bet, I will key the #5 with the #1,#4 and/or #3. If you believe in the #3 a show $2 bet could be rewarded as she is currently 6-to-1.

Race 7 Claiming (Purse: $14,500) This $10,000 claiming event is for four-year-old and upwards with 10 horses, with an additional four also eligible. There is a lot to like about this race as there are several similar horses.#4 Fox Rox has seemingly gotten back to its winning ways disregarding his last race where he finished a disappointing ninth after emptying out halfway through the race while pressing the issue three-deep. The nine-year-old gelding, who held the lead out of the gate in the previous $16,000 claimer on April 18, has finished in the money in four of his five outings in 2020. Fox Rox has also been spectacular in his limited attempts on the turf having won three times and finishing third twice in six trips which includes registering a win in two of his three starts on the artificial course. #6 Pure Luck entered his previous race, on April 18, having finished in the money in four of his last six races while registering an ESpeed of at least 80 in each of those outings. But the five-year-old gelding dropped well off the pace in the early going of that race and never recovered as he finished eighth, a whopping 26 lengths behind the winner. Jockey Raul Mena will be charged in getting Pure Luck back in form. #1 English Laughter and #9 Enduring Honor are candidates to get a piece of the action in exotic bets. English Laughter is moving up in class after coming off a victory as the overwhelming favorite in a $5,000 claiming event on April 19. The four-year-old Kentucky bred gelding also finished second in the meet prior to the last one.

Picks: I like the #4 to win this one. I also like putting a small value bet on the #1 to show as he is currently at 12-1 odds.

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