Kaigun Looking Tough in McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream Park

The $100,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) on turf highlights an 11-race card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. (Photo credit: © Richardpross | Dreamstime.com)

The $100,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) on turf highlights an 11-race card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. (Photo credit: © Richardpross | Dreamstime.com)

The Mark Casse trained Kaigun leads a field of 12 that will go to the post in Saturday’s $100,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap, one of three graded stakes on the Gulfstream Park card.

Also on the 11-race card on Saturday are the $100,000 la Prevoyante Handicap (G3) for fillies and mares that drew a field of 12 and early on the card the stakes action starts with the $100,000 Sugar Swirl for fillies and mares going six panels on the main track.

The McKnight drew a wide open field led by Kaigun, who ran second in the Red Smith Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct in his last outing. He has not won in six starts this year but has been facing mostly tougher. The gelding is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.

The 3-1 favorite is Da Big Hoss, who will break from the 11 post, one outside of our top pick. The colt was off last and had some traffic trouble in his sixth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) in his last start.

He won five of his first seven starts this year including the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). Trainer Mike Maker claimed him for $50,000 back in June.

The La Prevoyante Handicap closes out at the day in Hallandale and drew a wide open field. The Chad Brown trained Goldy Espony is the 3-1 morning lien favorite and one of three the trainer sends out. The filly took the field gate to wire to win the Long Island Handicap (G3) in her last start at the Big A.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes 13 races covering the action at Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and the stakes races from Santa Anita.

Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:


Gulfstream Park Race 9 The W.L. McKnight Hcp G3 (Post time 4:05 ET)

#10 Kaigun   7-2

#3 Roccia d’Oro   15-1

#11 Da Big Hoss   3-1

#5 War Dancer   4-1

Analysis: Kaigun stalked the early pace and finished with some interest for the runner up spot last out in the Red Smith ‘Cap (G3) at 1 3/8 miles. His lone try at 1 1/2 miles came two back in the Canadian International (G1) over good grounds and he had the lead mid stretch and weakened late to finish fourth, beaten three lengths. He is 0 for 6 this year but has been facing mostly tougher.

Roccia d’Oro makes his third start since coming to the U.S., last out beaten a neck a nose when third against Alw-1 optional claimers. Two back in his U.S. debut at Belmont Park off a five-month layoff he was fourth behind Mr Maybe, who won the Red Smith in his next outing. The colt has a decent pedigree and the most upside among this group and is going to be a decent price.

Da Big Hoss makes his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) where he had some trouble early and picked it up late to finish sixth, beaten 6 1/2 lengths. The Maker barn claimed this guy for $50,000 and he won the restricted John’s Call and the Kentucky Turf Cup (G2). Castellano takes the call but the price may end up on the light side.


WIN: #10 to win at 3-1 or better.

EX: 3,10 / 3,5,10,11

TRI: 3,10 / 3,5,10,11 / 3,55,9,10,11



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