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US racing tips: Tom Collins hopes class-dropper can strike at Gulfstream Park

1 of 1

Star Juancho
8.49 Gulfstream Park
1pt win

Fast Pass
9.52 Gulfstream Park
1pt win

The most common angle to use when punting in non-stakes or Graded races in the US is to look for horses whohave been dropped in grade. Without a handicap system Stateside, horses are pitched into a level of competition and can move up and down the grades at the will of their trainer within reason.

Usually when an experienced sprinter, for example, drops a grade or two they will be strongly fancied to put in a much improved effort. However, the disclaimer with these types of movements is that sometimes horses are dropped to lowly levels for a certain reason, whether that be an injury or poor works.

It's not always easy to decipher whether the move is made for a positive or negative reason, but hopefully it is the former when it comes to Star Juancho, who is dropped down to $17,000 claiming (8.49) level on his first start for trainer Jose Francisco D'Angelo.

D'Angelo wouldn't be one of the most well-known figures in the States but he has made a fantastic start to his training career in the US with 18 winners and 20 places from just 75 runners, and he is striking at 18 per cent this year.

He has picked up this five-year-old since his latest outing, when he was badly checked at the first bend in a $39,000 claimer and left to finish in his own time by rider Paco Lopez.

That was his first outing for two months, and he's had three months off since, but he showed some bright early speed before running into traffic so the form shouldn't be taken literally.

Before that he had finished fourth and ninth respectively in a couple of allowance optional claimers at this track in December. Again, it wasn't the form of old but he wasn't disgraced either time and probably needed them given he hadn't run since May.

His three-year-old form is far superior to anything any of his rivals in this contest have ever achieved and even if he shows a glimmer of that form he will be hard to beat.

The other positives are the fact that D'Angelo has booked Irad Ortiz, he is drawn in gate three with a couple of horses who wouldn't be the speediest in this field drawn inside of him and that his recent works have been as good as ever.

Star Juancho breezed a sharp three furlongs in 36sec flat (fastest of eight workers) at Palm Meadows Training Centre on April 11, before an even better work when fastest of 42 workers over four furlongs on turf ten days ago.

The other runner worth a second look on the card is Peter Walder's Fast Pass, who will break from gate seven in the $48,000 allowance optional claimer (9.52).

This looks a pretty good contest for the grade and there are plenty that will want to grab the early advantage, including the well-drawn Wentz and likely market leader Admiral Lynch.

If a number of these take each other on for the lead then they should set it up for a closer and Fast Pass will be finishing faster than anything else under Miguel Vasquez.

An 11-time winner in his career and prolific at this venue last season, Fast Pass was sent on an extremely uncommon and ambitious trip to Seoul to contest the Korea Sprint in September, and although that didn't work out he returned with a bang when second in a stakes race before winning an starteroptional claimer on New Year's Day.

The Grade 3 World Of Trouble Stakes proved a step too far on his penultimate outing, albeit he wasn't beaten far into fifth, before he bounced back to form after a rough trip last time when second to a runaway winner.

He just hasn't had the right set-up or race to strike the last twice but should get it here and his morning line price of 5-1 is tasty.


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Star Juancho breezed a sharp three furlongs in 36sec flat (fastest of eight workers) at Palm Meadows Training Centre on April 11
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