01/16/2015 11:44AM

Fornatale: Pair of Gulfstream turf races look intriguing in two Sunday contests


There are two contests in the Daily Racing Form universe Sunday. The first one, a Round 2 event on BCQualify.com, can’t just be entered. You have to win an entry in the Saturday Round 1 event if you want to play in that one.

But also on Sunday there’s another qualifier for the $100,000 Santa Anita Handicapping Challenge on DRFQualify.com. The buy-in is only $80, and two to four players will win full $3,500 entries plus a travel allowance.

A tough field is shaping up for the event. Last weekend’s three qualifiers were Paul Weizer, Sally Goodall, and Dennis Decauwer, all accomplished tournament players. The Santa Anita contest, which will be held March 14-15 at the Great Race Place, won’t just be a chance for players to win their share of $100,000 in cash and prizes; it also will be an opportunity to test themselves against the best tournament players in the country.

To sign up for Sunday’s qualifier, go to https://www.drfqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

Here are the races for both contests:

3:56 Tampa Bay 8

4:03 Gulfstream 8

4:19 Oaklawn 5

4:32 Gulfstream 9

4:55 Tampa Bay 10

5:01 Gulfstream 10

5:14 Oaklawn 7

5:30 Santa Anita 5

5:42 Oaklawn 8

6:00 Santa Anita 6

6:10 Oaklawn 9

6:30 Santa Anita 7

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Four tracks are in play, and the spacing looks pretty good. There aren’t any stakes races, but there are several interesting races to handicap, particularly two turf races at Gulfstream, races 8 and 10.

The eighth race is a maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles. The three favorites likely will be Sacred Luna, who earned a 70 Beyer Speed Figure in her lone start for Christophe Clement; Giant Crystal, who missed by a neck in her second start; and Bugle, who beat Giant Crystal and has been heavily bet in both of her starts. But with a full field of 3-year-olds going this distance at this time of year, it’s really anyone’s ball game.

The 10th race is a first-level allowance for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on grass. Todd Pletcher saddles the likely favorite, I Am Now, who ran a winning race last time but had trouble and finished second. With her credentials, it seems possible that she’ll get overbet in this field of 12 and set things up for a price.