Oldsmar handicapper will not need a road map to find the favorite in today’s fifth from Tampa, a full field of preliminary allowance types going one mile on turf; that would be Chad Brown trainee St. Joe Louis (6-5).
Second in all three starts on the Tampa lawn, he is a deserving favorite, a late runner who keeps coming at you late whatever the dynamics. The mini-turnback in trip and switch to Hector Diaz Jr, whose been the barn’s go-to guy here recently, is a good fit style-wise.
But there is another runner exiting the same race, Gate Crew (5-2), that looms a viable alternative at the better price. Of course, that’s what boxed exactas are for.
When you check out the common race/ Tampa Bay Downs, FEB 26, Race 7, the difference in trips will be obvious–subtle but obvious.
No one had a bad trip particularly, the the favorite’s was a pluperfect ground-saver until he tipped out for the drive, where as Gate Crew saved no ground throughout. More than any other factor, ground loss on turf is a bankroll killer.
Given the wide draw, that would be a problem again, except for the fact that speedy Grumley is right beside him one stall inside. Assuming a clean break for both.
Aall Gate Crew need do is jump on Grumley’s hip, allowing excellent position as they curl into the backstretch together. And this time they are at levels, where last time Gate Crew was spotting five pounds.
That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Taking Gate Crew to win at 5-2 or greater and key-boxing exactas with St. Joe Louis and pole sitting Alabama Slammer (8-1), an extra ticket with the favorite.