A solid field of 11 older runners will line up on Sunday in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park led by Will Take Charge, the winner of the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old in 2013.
The winner of the race will take charge of the handicap division, but will it be the D. Wayne Lukas trainee? The colt is making his four-year-old debut and will carry top weight of 123 pounds including his jockey Luis Saez.
The son of multiple Grade 1 winning mare Take Charge Lady, the colt was drilled by a combined 45 lengths in the Triple Crown last spring, but was nearly flawless during the second half of the year.
He ran second in the Jim Dandy (G2) and then won the Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2). His best effort of the year was actually a loss when he missed by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to Mucho Macho Man. He capped off the year with a game win over Game On Dude in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29.
With Game On Dude tossing in a clunker in a fifth place finish in the San Antonio (G2) yesterday at Santa Anita, the winner of the Donn likely will make his way to the top of the handicap division.
While Will Take Charge looks as if he may be the most likely winner, his price is going to be on the light side. There are plenty of viable options to playing the favorite.
Among those is Revolutionary, who was third in last year’s Kentucky Derby. The Todd Pletcher trainee makes his second start off the layoff. Recent stakes winners River Seven and Lea looks capable with their best, and Bourbon Courage ran second in last year’s Donn.
There are a few added reasons to play Gulfstream Park on Sunday. There is a carryover of $528,557.37 in the Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6, and an $8,523.70 carryover on the Super Hi 5.
The Donn will be nationally televised during the debut of the Jockey Club Tour on FOX, the first of nine broadcasts that will televise some of the biggest races this year including the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in March. The telecast will also show the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) on Sunday.
Click here for free past performances for the Donn Handicap from Equibase.
Jockey Club Tour on FOX Schedule:
Feb. 9, 5 p.m. — Donn Handicap (G1), Gulfstream Park
March 29, 1 p.m. — Dubai World Cup, Meydan Race Course
April 12, 4:30 p.m. — Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1), Keeneland
May 11, 4:30 p.m. — Man o’ War Stakes (G1), Belmont Park
July 6, 5 p.m. — United Nations Stakes (G1), Monmouth Park
July 20, 5:30 p.m. — Eddie Read Stakes (G1), Del Mar / TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Saratoga Racecourse
Aug. 10, 5 p.m. — Saratoga Special Stakes (G2), Saratoga Racecourse
Aug. 17, 5 p.m. — Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1), Saratoga Racecourse
Sept. 14, 5 p.m. — Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1), Woodbine
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 12 The Donn Handicap G1 (6:01 ET)
5 River Seven 4-1
2 Will Take Charge 9-5
3 Revolutionary 5-1
9 Bourbon Courage 10-1
Analysis: River Seven is coming off a sharp win over the surface e here in winning the Harlan’s Holiday, earning a near career top speed fig in the effort. He beat three foes that he will face again today. The gelding was making just his second career start on conventional dirt, the lone other try a runner up finish to Uncaptured in the Prince of Wales over the fake stuff at Fort Erie. He has shown he can run on anything, breaking his maiden in the Grey (G3) on poly and earning a career top speed fig over yielding turf in the Labeeb where he won by 10 lengths. He has some tactical speed in a race void of much pace and he should get a good trip from on or more likely sitting just off the pace. He is getting seven pounds from the likely favorite.
Will Take Charge was my early Derby pick after he won the Smarty Jones but went on to get beaten a combined 45 lengths in the Triple Crown races. His second half of 2013 was stellar including winning the Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and he put in a game effort in a nose loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and then won the Clark ‘Cap (G1). The well-bred colt is carrying top weight in here and may not get much pace to run at here. His price is likely going to end up south of his 9-5 morning line which would make him tough to play for the top spot.
Revolutionary won the Withers (G3) and Louisiana Derby (G2) last spring and was a solid third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) despite a less than stellar trip. He was sent to the sidelines after his fifth in the Belmont (G1) and came back with a good-looking score against Alw-3 optional claimers last out here going a mile in his first start off a seven-month layoff. The Pletcher trainee figures to move forward off that effort The main problem is this guy likes to come from far out of it and he may not get much pace to run at. The barn is 23% winners with runners making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
Bourbon Courage was no match for our top pick last out in the Harlan’s Holiday, beaten seven lengths. He finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Will Take Charge two back in the Clark ‘Cap (G1) in a fourth place finish. Last year he reeled off three straight triple digit Beyers including in a runner up finish in this race last year to Graydar. He has a trio of bullet works at Palm Meadows and this guy can be in the mix here with his best and figures to get overlooked on the tote.
WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,3,5,9
TRI: 2,5 / 2,3,5,9 / 2,3,5,8,9
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