2017 Gulfstream Park Handicap Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida will be the scene of the G2 Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap on Saturday, February 11. Horses four years old and upward will be featured when they take to Gulfstream's dirt track and race one mile for the winner's share of the $350,000 purse.

A field of nine will take to the track in the Gulfstream Park Handicap - race 11 on Gulfstream's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:05 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all nine combatants for this intriguing G2 stakes.

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2017 Gulfstream Park Handicap Entries at Gulfstream Park

Sharp Azteca 5-2 - consistent Jorge Navarro trained colt has four wins and three runner-up finishes in his nine career starts. His best career effort came in May - a win in the G3 Pat Day Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs. He has been OK in four starts since - a good second last time out in the G1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita December 26 followed a win in the minor City of Laurel Stakes November 19, a second in the minor Super Derby Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs August 6 and a fourth in the G2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park in June. Sharp Azteca has been decent so far and shoots for a second graded stakes score at a distance he's won all three career starts. Edgard Zayas has been tabbed to ride the morning line favorite from post 7.

Zulu 3-1 - lightly raced Todd Pletcher trained colt has five career starts with three wins and a second place finish. He made his stakes debut a year ago and finished a good second behind Mohaymen in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes here February 27 and followed that with a twelfth in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes in April before eight months away from the track. He recently returned with a nice win in the minor Tamarac Stakes on this track December 18. He's also posted an impressive Allowance Optional Claiming score by 7 1/4 lengths January 14, 2016 and a maiden score at first asking December 5 - both results at Gulfstream. Zulu hopes for his first graded stakes score and second straight stakes win on a track he's won three of four career starts - with Javier Castellano in the reins of the second betting choice from post 5.

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Tommy Macho 7-2 - has placed in nine of 12 career starts - five wins, a second and three third place finishes. He won the G3 Discovery Handicap by 4 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct to end his 2015 campaign and has been OK in five starts since. Last time out was a terrific 5 3/4 length win on this track in the G3 Hal's Hope Stakes January 14 after a fourth in the minor Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park November 19, a fifth after tiring in the G2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park October 8, eight months away, a good 3 3/4 length win over the terrific Stanford in the G3 Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream in February and a second in the minor Queens County Stakes in December, 2015. Tommy Macho has been competitive nearly every time out and will up to chase his fourth graded stakes score (second straight) from the rail with Luis Saez aboard.

Squadron A 8-1 - Dale Romans trainee has 31 career starts with four wins, seven seconds and five third place finishes. He enters this weekend on a nice two race win streak - the G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes last time out January 1 and an Allowance Optional Claiming November 12 - both on this track. Before that was a fifth and a second respectively in a pair of Allowance races and a seventh in the G2 Churchill Downs Stakes in May. Squadron A arrives in career best form and will try to make it three straight wins (two straight graded stakes) from gate 4 with Florent Geroux in the saddle.

Blofeld 10-1 - defending champion in this race has 10 career start for trainer Todd Pletcher with four wins and a third place finish so far. He was at his best in 2014 when he won the G2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park and the G2 Nashua Stakes. He has just seven starts since. He was last seen in July when he finished fifth in the G2 Monmouth Cup which followed a disappointing seventh in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap June 11, a fourth in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap April 16, a good win in the G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 5 and a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream Park January 27. Blofeld was impressive early in his career but has placed on just one of his last six starts overall. He hopes to return to form from post 3 with Jose Lezcano guiding him.

Awesome Slew 10-1 - Edward Plesa trained colt has nine career starts with three nice wins and three third place finishes. Last time out was a third in the minor Sunshine Millions Classic January 21 after another third behind Stanford and Keen Ice in the G3 Harlan's Holiday Stakes December 17 - both on this track. Before that was a slightly disappointing fifth after setting the pace in the G2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx September 24 and a career best result - a dominating, gate-to-wire seven length win in the G3 Smarty Jones Stakes on that track September 5. He also had a sixth in the G1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park July 31, an OK third in the G3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park June 19 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score on that track May 21. Awesome Slew hasn't been afraid of top company and will be after his second graded stakes win in five starts in decent form. Joel Rosario rides.

Awesome Banner 12-1 - Mark Casse trained colt has placed in 10 of 13 career starts - six wins, three seconds and a third place finish. He won his first three career starts including the G3 Hutcheson Stakes in January, 2016 and the G2 Swale Stakes in February and struggled in his next two graded stakes starts. He picked up his game after that - three wins and three seconds in six starts since including a second in the minor Steel Valley Sprint Stakes at Mahoning Valley November 21, wins in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes and the minor Prized Stakes (both at Gulfstream) and consecutive seconds including the G3 Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream in July. He has been just OK in his last two starts - a third last time out in the minor Sunshine Millions Sprint here January 21 followed a fifth in the G1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita December 26. Awesome Banner searches for his first graded stakes score in just over a year and enters in so-so form - on a track that he has hit the board nine of 10 career starts (6 wins, five stakes). Tyler Gaffalione gets the call from gate 8.

Realm 15-1 - Barclay Tagg trained gelding has two wins, two seconds and four third place finishes in his 10 career starts. He enters on the heels of OK thirds in his only graded stakes races to date - the G3 Hal's Hope Stakes last time out on this track January 14 and the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct November 26. Before that was an impressive Allowance score by 5 1/4 lengths on that track November 5, a second, a sixth and a fourth respectively in Allowance races this past summer. Realm has been OK so far and hopes to make a huge statement and for his fist stakes win. Paco Lopez gets the call from gate 6.

Hy Riverside 20-1 - Antonio Sano trained gelding has five wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 17 career starts. He made his graded stakes debut December 17 and finished a distant fifth in the G3 Harlan's Holiday Stakes on this track and hasn't been much better since. Last time out was another fifth in the minor Poseidon Handicap here January 28 which followed a good win in the minor Sunshine Millions Classic January 21 and yet another fifth in the G3 Hal's Hope Stakes also on this track January 14. He also posted two straight Allowance Optional Claiming scores here in August. Hy Riverside has placed in just one of his last five starts overall (it was a win two starts back) and will be after a first graded stakes score from gate 2. Nik Juarez rides.

2017 Gulfstream Park Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 11 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:05 PM.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Tommy Macho 7-2 Luis Saez Todd Pletcher
2 Hy Riverside 20-1 Nik Juarez Antonio Sano
3 Blofeld 10-1 Jose Lezcano George Arnold, II
4 Squadron A 8-1 Florent Geroux Dale Romans
5 Zulu 3-1 Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher
6 Realm 15-1 Paco Lopez Barclay Tagg
7 Sharp Azteca 5-2 Edgard Zayas Jorge Navarro
8 Awesome Banner 12-1 Tyler Gaffalione Mark Casse
9 Awesome Slew 10-1 Joel Rosario Mark Casse

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