Weekend Quick Picks 11/8/2014

Down to the Wire will be taking a short break for the holidays, but we'll back back with our weekly previews beginning in January with the Jerome Stakes, which is the first Kentucky Derby prep of 2015. In the meantime, I'll still be previewing a few select races on here each week and, as always, best of luck with your plays.

Gulfstream Park West Race 8 -- #4 East Hall (3/1)
A nice stakes at Gulfstream Park West for this time of the year features fourth place finisher in the Wood Memorial Schivarelli, who won an Allowance race at Keeneland last time out in what was a nice, but not so flashy return to the races and it doesn't help that the only horse to win out of that race did so in a claimer. He also tired late on in the Wood Memorial (admittedly a much tougher race than this), but it's difficult not to question his ability at this distance, as a result. Wildcat Red has struggled as of late and the pace presences of Schivarelli and potentially I'm Steppin' It Up likely compromises his chances. East Hall, on the other hand, has really come into his own in recent months. I saw him in the flesh at Indiana Grand and his win there made an impression on me. He looked fit and well there and that win, combined with the likelihood he'll get a healthy pace to run into makes him the choice. One note is that his record at this track isn't the best, but that was early on in his career and something I'm not overly concerned about given the form with which he enters here.

Gulfstream Park West Race 9 -- #1 Firespike (5/1)
I've been a fan of this runner since his debut and this certainly seems like a nice spot for him to succeed given that he's switching back to the turf, over which he has had three solid performances and he won't be facing the quality here that he did in the G1 Breeders' Futurity. Maker wins at a 23% clip with the dirt to turf move.

Del Mar Race 8 -- #2 Home School (6/1)
An intriguing race over the turf at Del Mar looks to provide for a good betting opportunity. Final Step has been on or within a head of the lead in his last three starts and he figures to be in a similar position here, whereas Home School could get a beauty of a run along the rail just in behind. The latter seems to be very well meant in this spot, as trainer Leandro Mora does very well second off the claim and going sprint to route. That's not to mention Home School was only narrowly beaten by the consistent Home Run Kitten when making a similar sprint to route move last spring. 

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