Noel’s Weekend Winners: Saturday Sprint Strategy at Gulfstream Park

Welcome to Noel Michaels’ Weekend Winners, the place to go for weekend best bets and spot plays from veteran handicapper and tournament-play pioneer Noel Michaels. Check back every week for a couple of highlighted selections designed to help you cash a few bets and make some money.

Noel’s selections have been featured just about everywhere horse racing picks can be found, including in print in the Daily Racing Form, The HorsePlayer Magazine and American Turf Monthly, online at, and, from the paddock on-track at Arlington International Racecourse, and on the air on HRTV, TVG, NYC OTB Extra, NYRA’s Talking Horses, and on broadcast TV on WAVE-3 Louisville, ABC KOLO-8 in Reno, Nevada, and channel 72 Long Island Cablevision.

Noel Michaels’ Weekend Winners is brought to you by, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1.25 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

6 Beginner Betting Tools

  1. Start simple with an easy guide for how to bet on horse racing.
  2. Not sure what that word means? Horse racing terminology is a language of its own. Allow us translate for you.
  3. What the heck is a speed figure? This beginner’s guide to speed figures has everything you need to know.
  4. Betting on horse racing can be intimidating. Team ABR put together some Dos and Don’ts for the new fan getting started betting on racing.
  5. We all make mistakes when it comes to betting on horse racing, here are eight lessons learned from experience.
  6. Figure out how much each bet will cost in advance with our Gambling Calculator, presented by NYRA Bets.

Saturday, March 18

Gulfstream Park hosts a full day of racing action this Saturday with a 12-race card filled with good fields and solid wagering opportunities. Stick around for Gulfstream’s final two races and you will be rewarded with a great chance to make some money in the late Daily Double, which kicks off in Race 11 with the Silks Run Stakes at five furlongs on the turf and concludes with a highly bettable maiden claiming race with an 11-horse field where you can get out for the day with a nice profit. Best of luck and enjoy the day at Gulfstream.

Gulfstream Park, Race 11, $100,000 Silks Run Stakes, 5:35 p.m. ET

The $100,000 Silks Run Stakes is a five-furlong turf sprint that drew a field of 12. The headline attraction in the field is #9 Big Invasion, who was one of the top turf sprinters in the land for much of 2022 for one of the top turf sprint trainers, Christophe Clement. Big Invasion rattled off six turf sprint wins in a row during an unbeatable stretch between February and August 2022, including stakes wins at Gulfstream, Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course, topped by the Grade 3 Quick Call Stakes at the Spa last July. Big Invasion lost his last race and something must have went bad that day because he has been off for the six months since. His connections picked a good spot for the return race, but the odds on him will be understandably low, and if there’s a time to beat this horse, today is probably the day in the return from the sidelines. The horse that can pull off the upset is #6 Yes I Am Free, who has been dynamite in two five-furlong turf sprints here at Gulfstream this season, including a win in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes last time out. Yes I Am Free is loaded with speed, which is very handy in these local turf dashes, but his greatest weapon in a spot like this is his versatility, because he doesn’t need the lead in order to win. The other horse to consider here is #5 Belgrano, who finished fourth behind Yes I Am Free last time but had a troubled trip in that race and was a stakes winner on this turf course in his prior outing in the $100,000 Janus Stakes at five furlongs. With a clean trip and a fast pace set-up today, Belgrano should be dangerous in deep stretch.

The Play: Bet #6 Yes I Am Free (7-2) to win and box him in the exactas and trifectas with #5 Belgrano (6-1) and #9 Big Invasion (5-2). Also start the late Daily Doubles with Belgrano and Yes I Am Free in Race 11, with #2 Always Connected and #5 Heading West in Race 12.

Gulfstream Park, Race 12, maiden claiming, post time 6:05 p.m. ET

Saturday’s Gulfstream nightcap is a maiden claiming race for fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Tapeta Footings synthetic surface. The horse to beat is #2 Always Connected, who cut back in distance to this 5 ½-furlong trip last time out and sprang to life with a runner-up finish with a good effort when prominent throughout the race. She finished 4 ¼ lengths clear of the third-place horse, and today should be graduation day if she can repeat that effort against this field. The main challenger should be #5 Heading West, who has lost badly twice in a row on the grass, but now is entered at the bottom level sprinting on Tapeta, and did show potential sprinting on Tapeta in her career debut three races ago when she was fourth against maiden special weights and beaten only three lengths. That kind of an effort would stack her up pretty nicely against today’s field.

The Play:  Bet #2 Always Connected (3-1) to win and box her in the exacta along with #5 Heading West (5-1).