Starter Allowances are some of my favorite races because I feel people overthink when handicapping, and in this race, the condition states must have run for 7.5K or less in the last two starts, so I want horses that ran well at that level.
#5 Ravens Reflection: The only runner in the field with a win at Oaklawn, and that for me is a big plus on the opening weekend at Oaklawn. This son of Munnings just missed the last time out for 7.5K. in the slop at Delta Downs and is my timid top pick here in the opener
#6 Lovethatcause: Solid jockey trainer combo hit at 23% with over a 400+ sample size. I’m always leery of horses that have four wins but 20 combined underneath placings and taking a short price, and due to connections, I doubt this one drifts up at all. In three of the last four races, he’s running low to mid seventy Beyers and seems to fit this class level well.
#4 Clear the Mine: This eight-year-old is cutting back for the new connection, hard to endorse on top as he was close to a lead that he ran the first quarter in 25.4 tenths. The last win was against the turf, but he can round out the tris bottoms when coming late.
Betting Strategy: use my top two selections as A’s in horizontal wagers and make some exacta wager focusing on Lovethatcause
Lots of speed in the race, so looking for a Midpack stalker or closer in here.
#4 Bluebird Day: Diodoro off the claim is usually a fair play 118 starters 26% and a positive ROI make this one a pretty easy top pick for me. This filly will need to prove she can handle the dirt surface, but being by Bodemister, she should be just fine. David Cohen taking the mount as the usual top rider for Diodoro shows positive trainer intent.
#6 Competitive Fire: This daughter of Competitive Edge is one of the few closers in a race that looks like it could meltdown down the stretch. She has worked well in the morning since the layoff, and her race two back fits well with others in here.
#1 Lucky Every Day: This Filly likes to show speed and ran super, winning her debut. The bad news is that it was six races ago, this will be her first time for a tag for low winning connections, but maybe she is good enough for a slice of the pie.
Betting Strategy: Win bet on top selection at 2-1 or better
#3 Sharecropper: The separation for me between the two Maker runners was that he ran just as well for Maker as he had with Cox in this Colts last race. Albert Stall Jr. thought enough to try this one in a Derby prep previous year, so there is some back class there Geroux jumps aboard and has a positive ROI with Maker in the last two years.
#9 First Rate: I won’t be surprised when the other Maker wins as this son of Honor Code is in a razor-sharp form with four straight in the money finishes coming into the race today. His Beyers fit, and there is a lovely cluster there, so you know he is consistent as well.
#5 Change Direction: excellent juicy 15-1 M.L. here for the Paul Holthus Gelding. The last race was super reliable, having stalked a fast pace and ran a solid Beyer. Trainer Paul Holthus is 3-7 with new trainees in the barn stretching out from sprint to route.
Betting Strategy: I will be using all three selections in horizontals and defensively using Mau Mau as its Diodoro off the claim again and will be playing Change direction in a ladder bet 2W 4P 8S style
A.E. #14 Wicked Street: Hoping this three-year-old filly can draw in as there’s a lot to be desired in this state-bred MSW. She has the best works of all the first time starters, and the Sires lone runner won the first time out. Trainer Randy Morse isn’t that good with firsters 8% last five years compared to a 12% Baseline.
#12 Smarty’s Angel: She had an intriguing debut showing good speed against open company 22.3 for that first quarter, which shows up in red for the Timeform pace figure; just a quick side note I use tenths of a second with DRF formulator when it comes to fractions. She then slowly faded, finishing off the board. This filly took no money in the debut but is also sporting the best last-out Beyer figure for today’s race. A significant negative for me is Al Cates is 2-46 with 2nd-time starters off a 61-180 layoff in dirt sprints.
#8 Arkansas Bling: This Karl Broberg runner ran against presumably weaker MSW at Louisiana downs running third in the debut, but I feel she might be more well-meant today with a positive rider switch from the bug boy Kellenberger to Vasquez. This jockey trainer combo hits at 26% in the last two years.
Betting Strategy: It is probable a pass race for me as many of the trainer’s angles make me nervous about taking a horse too short a price.
#8 Cave Run: In claiming races, I always like to see horses that want to win, and the way I judge that is more wins than underneath placings Six wins and then 4 seconds and two thirds show me this son of Street Sense knows where the wire is. He won for 16K two back and then. He just missed winning an N2X allowance at Remington Park.
#6 Five O One: This seven-year-old ships in from Prarie Meadows but hold an excellent record of 6-9 in the money at Oaklawn with three wins. He has been very consistent of late and did run a nice third in his debut at Oaklawn last year. 12-1 on the morning line is a solid overlay today.
#11 Believeinholidays: This will be a lousy favorite in my books claimed out of last and now drops in class and loves running underneath. This will be a press race for me if he stays the favorite.
Betting Strategy: I will be playing two win bets on my top selections as well as an exacta box 8-6-5. Always remember to check the double prices as well.
#7 Saffa’s day: this three-year-old colt has already won a race but was D.Q. on his debut. Trainer Steve Asmussen then went right into two listed stakes and now drops back in with his friends. The bullet workout on the 12th of January tells it to me all systems go today.
#11 Saqeel: This son of Daaher has improved every race and just missed at a massive 30-1 last time out going a route of ground, now he cuts back to a mile and might have some extra stamina for the stretch run.
#9 He’smyhoneybadger: He ran a very good second first time out for top connections, but it seems to me he will need more pace then he gets today. Look for this one to come running and fill out the exotics.
Betting Strategy: use my top two picks in horizontals and weight them using my third selections in exactas I will also play the #7 at
8-5 or better.
#4 Engage: He’s been facing some of the very best sprinters in the game and now drops in for this N3X allowance and, for me, towers over this field.
#9 Home Base: This six-year-old ran well first off Peter Miller’s claim, then threw in a clunker. I’m Imagining that bullet work last time out should be telling everyone he’s ready to put forth a significant effort.
#3 Little Menace: This colt seems to be back in form for Steve Asmussen as we look further down the pp’s, and we see he can put together 80+Beyers multiple times. He won’t be 30-1 today but could round out exactas or trifectas.
Betting Strategy: Just a win bet on Engage at evens or better and also looking at double pools into and out of this race.
#3 Cowan: This is a horse I always seem to toss, and he runs well every race. His last race in the Springboard Mile was decent, and if he’s ever supposed to win, isn’t it here.
#7 Caddo River: the only other shot I give in this race is this colt who has been improving every race and blew the field away by nine last time at a mile at CD. Geroux is staying aboard, and the lovely workout pattern shows me some positive trainer intent on a horse looking to make a big class jump and win in his first stake race.
Betting Strategy: win bets on my top selection at 2-1 or better or second choice at 5-2 or better
#12 Dont Tell Nobody: This son of Cyber Secret has been in excellent form, winning Oklahoma state-bred stake races, and now finds a nice soft spot where he is still protected, and can’t be claimed
#6 Charlie’sarchangel: He has been in and out of the claiming box the last couple of times. The last time out was on the lead of a slow pace and backed up but did win for 25K two back now gets dropped into a protected spot.
#5 River Echo: Comes back in he new barn of Karl Broberg blew away a field like this last time. here are some reasons im not backing that the previous race was off the turf, and he was 1-9, and there are horses in here that run just as fast Beyers it will be a fade for me in the finale
Betting Strategy: another look at doubles leading into this race and a possible play on my second pick at 6-1 or higher