For the thirtieth time, the Miami Mile will be contested. Such a race will be run not in Miami (as it used to be), but will be run at a mile. The Miami Mile serves as the feature of the Saturday April 30th card at Gulfstream Park as the south Florida transitions from its championship meet to a more insular meet. The race goes on the turf, carries Grade 3 status, and carries a purse of $100,000.
The race began in 1987 as the Miami Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap and earned a G3 ranking two years later. The race started off at nine furlongs, but was trimmed to a mile in 1997. Tbe Budweiser portion of the name fell out and soon was replaced with the Mile part. Shortened to the Miami Mile, the race was usually held in the Fall but moved to the Spring in 2009. For a time the race lost its grade, but it was restored in 2002. The race moved from its original venue of Calder (now Gulfstream Park West) which is in Miami - up the Florida coast to Hallandale Beach's Gulfstream in 2015. This year's iteration will be the second time Gulfstream has hosted the Miami Mile.
Only one horse has won this race twice, and he's perhaps the most notable: Simply Majestic (1988-89), who came to Arlington in 1987 for the Secretariat Stakes and also hit the podium in the Breeders' Cup Mile. The Vid (1994) a south Florida stakes namesake, took down a Miami Mile of his own.
Picks & Ponderings this weekend takes to the green to help you make some green. We also preview another turf race - Friday's G3 Bewitch from Keeneland. Be sure to check out Nicolle Neulist's preview of Friday's G3 Bewitch from Keeneland.
This race will be streamed live on Gulfstream Park's website (as is all racing at Gulfstream).
Morning line odds for this race, scheduled for Saturday April 30th, were not available at original publish time. At publish time the rail is set to 36 feet from the zero position. All selections are "turf only".
Updated April 28th with morning lines.
Gulfstream Park -- Race 7 -- Grade 3 Miami Mile Stakes -- One Mile on Turf -- post time 4:26 pm ET
SMOKEM KITTEN caught a quick pace last time, ran down the speed, and set a course record at the unusual 7.5 furlong distance last time at Gulfstream. As there's a kitten in the name - this one has predictable connections: owned and bred by the Ramseys, trained by Mike Maker. Edgar Prado has the call. SMOKEM KITTEN was closer to paces at three but has turned into an off-the-pace type, and his effort last time over this forward-playing course shows he can be tactical and be the "now" horse in this event. There are some horses of the past (2014 Arlington Handicap winner QUIET FORCE, AKTABANAY, CONQUEST TSUNAMI) who may take cash, perhaps keeping the price honest. Quick fractons from CONQUEST TSUNAMI make it likely for SMOKEM KITTEN to duplicate his effort. While it came in an N1X, this G3 didn't lure any monsters from up north or from the local barns. HOTHERSAL may be eligible for the Denny's Early Bird special as an eight-year-old, but he ran well first start of the year off an autumnal vacation. He ran good enough at five panels two back that he was plunged into a listed turf sprint that lured Amelia's Wild Ride and Power Alert - who are quality turf sprinters. Back at the mile distance he goes, and he's five of seven in the money over the local lawn. One off-the-board finish came last time in the Silks Run at five-eighths. He's shown good form over this course and over a similar course - Monmouth's - when chasing Grade One placed Heart to Heart in last summer's G3 Oceanport. If the MIDDLEBURG of 2014 comes to this race, then he can add another G3 win to his arsenal, having taken the Cliff Hanger last August at Monmouth. Good enough to criss-cross the county and cash checks in the G3 Fort Marcy, G2 Monmouth Stakes, G3 Arlington Handicap, and G3 Cliff Hanger - he's appeared to go to the well one too many times in last fall's G3 Knickerbocker. It's the first start since then, and he's spent the winter working at Payson. He also may need a start too, given how over-the-top he looked last Fall.
#2 SMOKEM KITTEN (5/1)
#4 HOTHERSAL (4/1)
#6 MIDDLEBURG (2/1)
Longshot: This time of the year, Gulfstream's turf (or green painted sand, if you believe the Illuminati) tends to play hard and firm. Speed kills. One course that's quite similar to it is Monmouth Park. Creating this reciprocity of courses sometimes can lead to unearthing transferable form. #5 WITH EXULTATION (8/1) may have two clunkers on the Gulfstream course, but one race was when the course played fairly in the winter and another came last time chasing around Force The Pass, Divisidero, and Reporting Star - horses who would be odds-on in this field. Bettors may see the mediocre two-for-record. But in the summer at Monmouth, he was kicking around in upper level claimers and in strong form. Yes, you could have had WITH EXULTATION for $35,000 two back. But he could get the lead if no one wants it, gets a drop in class, and has better form than his at Gulfstream shows.
You can take "Picks & Ponderings" with you anytime, anywhere. You can get Twitter updates @picksponderings for on-scene reports from Hawthorne Race Course. And you can get "Picks and Ponderings" in your e-mail by typing your email address in the box and clicking "Create Subscription." It's a FREE service, and you'll never get any unwanted spam.