If Friday’s ninth race at Gulfstream Park was run in Europe instead of South Florida, the race most likely would have a name attached to it beyond the U.S. designation; a first level allowances/optional claimer.
The talent level is that good. Strong cases can be made for exactly half the 10-horse lineup even if two are coming from the 38% Todd Pletcher shedrow after making debuts that can only described as scintillating.
Luis Saez rode both to victory. Iron Works (7-2) looked like a half-million breaking maiden by four lengths on debut in 1:09 3/5; American Icon (7-5) doubled that margin, winning by 8-1/2 lengths, seven furlongs in 1:23 1/5. Saez opted to stay with this guy.
There not much to separate the favorable impressions that each made. Iron Works stalked a strong pace, awaited his cue, and took the lead when asked with authority. American Icon broke like a bullet, fast but controlled, settled into a good rhythm and separated himself from the group at will.
You choose: Both ran in Halladale, Iron Works on JAN 8, Race 4; American Icon on DEC 26, Race 8. With little to choose between them, we’re opting for the brilliance of the latter and his experience going bit farther.
Taking American Icon to win, no price experiences, boxing the exacta with his mate, and keying him first and second with Iron Works, who picked up some guy named Irad; the experienced Skippylongstocking (10-1). getting Lasix on but blinkers off, and Graphic Detail (9-2), attracting Javier and getting Lasix.
Superfecta players can add In Due Time (8-1), for Team Breen/Paco.