It’s not difficult to find faster horses, or those with with better company lines in Friday’s featured eighth race but it may be harder to find one more well intentioned than Wicked Groove (15-1).
Yes, the odds have much to do with it but wait, there’s more. Wicked Groove impressed with a driven out win on Gulfstream Tapeta, drawing off inside the final furlong.
From there it was off to Tampa, Bay Downs, a surface switch to turf, and a rider change to perennial leader Antonio Gallardo, resulting in a repeat win. Check out her Tapeta win: Gulfstream Park, NOV 20, Race 9.
Now she returns to Hallandale and the Tapeta, and Gallardo is scheduled to ship in with her? He’s not ridden her in today’s surface, is meeting a much tougher grade, and the rider probably gave up a card-full of calls in Oldsmar. BUt there’s still more.
She’s drawn well inside, there appears to be enough speed to ensure a contested pace, and trainer Darien Rodriguez, who’s entered two here, is 34% with repeaters, allowance runners, and 3-for-7 going turf to synthetic.
Going for gusto, taking Wicked Groove to win at 8-1 or greater and quinellas with Hallawalla (5-1) and Grand Ave. Girl (9-2).