Oaklawn Park Racing Preview – 2/13/22 – By Eric Solomon

The weekend concludes with a nine race card, highlighted by an optional claiming/allowance feature in the 8th race. There’s an early first post today, with the first race going off at noon local time (1:00 ET), in order to get everyone home in time for that big football game this evening. 

I’ll be covering this exciting meet on the ITM Blog, along with posting some updates and thoughts from time to time on Twitter @EricSolomon718. Feel free to reach out!

 

Race Top Pick A B C Exotics Menu
1 1 1 3 DBL, PK5
2 11 1,7,11 2,4 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 6 6 1,4 2 DBL, PK3
4 7 3,7 DBL, PK3
5 10 2,6,10 DBL, PK3, PK5
6 11 5,6,11 4 DBL, PK3, PK4
7 12 9,10,12 5,11 13 DBL, PK3
8 3 3 1,7 DBL
9

 

 

Race 1:

The opener is a maiden special weight contest at 1 mile and 1/16 for fillies and mares. I think it’s graduation day for Tap for Me (#1), the daughter of Tapit and Groupie Doll. She had a rough trip in her local debut where she was checked twice, once right after the break, forcing her to the back of the field, and again around the ⅜ pole, pretty much guaranteeing her loss that day. She came with a visually striking move off the turn, but her momentum carried her into the middle of the track. She finished 4th beaten four lengths on the wire that day. Even though Groupie Doll was best known for her one turn races, she was very capable of running big efforts at one mile. I think with the pairing to Tapit, this one will have no trouble getting the distance today with this group. The rail post should only help her cause.  On deeper tickets, Martique Miss (#3) will be the one that I’ll use as a saver. She made her way into third in her local return in December last out. She ran an improved race when stretching out last year in her second race off the layoff. If the favorite falters, she’d be the one that would be most likely to pick up the pieces. 

 

Race 2: 

The early Pick-4 starts with a time restricted $8K claiming race that drew a full field of 12, plus an also-eligible. While I think the favorites are definitely live here, I made Bourbon Cowboy (#11) my lukewarm top choice, in hopes of trying to get a little value in the early double. I have to think he’s better than his last where he just didn’t fire. He goes from open $6,250 to restricted $8K claimers, and when comparing the fields, I believe he’s getting class relief here. I’m hoping he can sit a good tracking trip from his outside post and have something left for the stretch drive. Lonely Private (#7) takes a significant drop in class today and, despite his steady figures, he hasn’t been making an impact with the $30K-$20K claiming levels. As a result, I think the drop here, while steep, is logical. He’ll also be a part of the early activity here. His last race here last season was a big time effort. If he can just repeat his efforts in his last three starts, he’ll likely be right there. Ravens Reflection (#1) is the part of the entry that is more desirable to me. He was claimed by Diodoro in December for $10K. He has done well with claiming horses and taking a minor drop in class at this meet. He was a two-time winner at this meet last season , and now he joins a barn that has won 15 times so far at this current meeting. Private Lake (#4) might be one that could be finishing late as some of these might be tiring in the final furlong. He’s probably better at two turns, but he showed he is capable in a sprint. He’s second off the layoff for William Martin, and he’ll have to improve to be a factor. Ingrid Mason brings Its My Bag Baby (#2) in for his first start since July at Arlington. He has a very good record on this course, hitting the board in 5 of 7 tries, winning twice. The rail isn’t ideal for him here, but at 6-1 or better, he’s probably worth including. 

 

Race 3:

I think Mongolian Lotus (#6) could offer some decent value in this $16K open claiming race for fillies and mares. She has 8 wins in 19 career starts and is exiting a common race with many of these where she finished 6th beaten 5 lengths. However, when you go back to watch the video of that race, she was in traffic the entire way around the track, never really having a chance to make any headway. The smaller field and the wider draw should be beneficial for her. She might be better going a little bit longer, but she’s proven capable at the distance and I think she’ll rebound nicely here. Shi O’Shi (#1) is the half of the Wayne Potts entry that I prefer. Geovanni Franco is named to ride both halves of the entry, so it’s likely that one will scratch. Shi O’Shi won the race that Mongolian Lotus is coming out of. She was also in a little tight, but she was able to find some daylight, which she took full advantage of. She’s now second off the layoff and in search of her third straight win. On deeper tickets, Girls a Bullet (#4) was second in that same race, coming over the top with a wide late close. She typically likes to be a little closer to the front end, but she was wise to sit off that hot pace last month. Her last three efforts have been decent and there’s reason and she could also improve in her second start off a brief freshening. Sophie’s Angel (#2) was claimed by Diodoro after winning an open $10K claimer last month. She’s been a productive runner over her career, winning ten times and finishing in the money in over half of her 51 starts. She’s more effective on synthetic than on dirt though, so she might be better suited to use underneath at this level. 

 

Race 4: 

There are some nice Arkansas bred runners that will likely be headed to state bred stakes company as the meet progresses. The lightly raced Gar Hole (#7) has two excellent efforts at this current meet, winning both starts by a combined 9 and ¼ lengths. This is a big step up in class, but he certainly passes the eye test on the track and his speed figures back that up. John Ortiz continues to win races at this meet at a solid clip. He adds lasix today in a race where we’ll see if he’s as good as he’s looked so far. The main threat is Tempt Fate (#3) who has won his last five races on this track (although he was put up via DQ in his most recent win). He won both the Arkansas Breeders Championship and the Nodouble Breeders Stakes here last season and appears ready to fight to retain those titles later on in the meet. He didn’t run last month, where it looks like he had a slight hiccup with his schedule, having a 22 day break in training, missing a race he could have gone in during the middle of January. He’ll be well backed here though, and is hard to leave off any ticket at this level. 

 

Race 5: 

Today feels like the day that Abdan (#6) could finally get the job done, as this is not a very good $12,500-$10,000 maiden claiming race. He was run down late and didn’t really have an answer for Suggested when failing with $10K maiden claimers in December. This is an even softer group today, so I imagine that he’ll go to post at odds lower than his 9-5 morning line. He’s faltered when headed in several starts, so I need to have a few others for coverage here. I made Timeforawoodford (#10) the top pick while dropping in for a tag for the first time. His lone start on the dirt was an off the turf maiden special weight race at Ellis back in August. It wasn’t a great effort, but that was a better group than what he’s facing today. He might be the one best suited to put his head in front of the favorite. Worththemoney (#2) is another one that is making his first start since the summer. He too is dropping in from the maiden allowance level for the first time today. Mac Robertson hasn’t had a great meet, but he does do well with this kind of a drop. He might have enough early foot to soften up the favorite early.  

 

Race 6: 

This is a $50K starter allowance where many of the horses entered competed on January 16th under identical conditions. U S Steel (#11) wasn’t great that afternoon, but he was covered up most of the race and when you go back and watch his good efforts, he’s running the best when he’s in the clear. His last two poor efforts on the dirt came when he was stuck behind horses. The outside draw should fit him perfectly here, and the dull effort last time should increase his pari-mutuel value. Amongst Friends (#6) is an interesting longshot in this race that is cutting back from a pair of two turn efforts at this level. He has some solid efforts when sprinting, and if he can run back to those efforts here, he could be dangerous. He’s 20-1 on the morning line, which would be great value, but I’d feel comfortable taking him at half of that number. Ribbons and Medals (#5) is one that will be rolling late. He could benefit from a solid pace battle on the front end, and the presence of Tango Charlie (#2) and Devil’s Tower (#9) in here might ensure he gets the set up he’ll need. He’s the morning line favorite after a pair of second place finishes in similar races. I don’t love taking a short price on a closer in races like this, since he will be very trip dependent, but I do think if this field stays intact, the conditions for him will be right. On deeper tickets, I’ll throw in Herd Immunity (#4) in hopes that his first local effort was more of an aberration from the norm. He showed a lot of ability in Southern California before Baltas claimed him and brought him out here. There’s definitely more options for him in the condition book with better purses in Arkansas, so I respect the decision to ship off the claim. Baltas’ stable has been doing very well of late at Santa Anita and he has two wins with nine starters out here so far. I’d need to get better than 7-2 to consider playing him in the vertical exotics, because I really didn’t love his effort last time out. However, his resume is strong enough to cover with him on some multi-race tickets. 

 

Race 7:

The last Pick-3 of the afternoon starts with a $30K maiden claiming contest for three year old fillies. This is a total spread race for me, which isn’t ideal, as I do think you’ll want coverage in the 5th and 6th races as well. Raceday Attire (#12) was awful last out when running with $50K maiden claimers. She was a competitive third two starts back at that level, and if she can get back to that race here, she’ll be tough. There wasn’t a visible excuse for her effort last out, so I’ll want to get her at or above her 8-1 morning line. Truebluegirl (#10) debuts for John Prather, who has done very well with his first time starters in maiden claiming races. Her works look like they’d be competitive with these. Fivedconsciencenes (#9) was away slow with maiden special weight types last out. She backed up badly that day, but certainly could have an impact on the drop in class after getting the race under her belt. Lauer’s horses tend to improve in their second time around. Exculpate (#5) is the morning line favorite, likely based on connections (Asmussen and Rosario). I don’t love the price at all, but I’d add her on tickets where coverage could be afforded. Randy Morse sent out a debut winner on Friday with Arkansas breds, and he sends out Gypsy Warrior (#11) for her maiden voyage today. She’s another one that fits off her morning drills . Her pedigree leans turf, which isn’t a choice here, but at this level, she may be able to compete. Romantic Comedy (#13) is another one dropping in after a dull effort with maiden special weight company. The maiden allowances at this meet have been salty, so this is a major drop. She’ll need a defection to compete, but she’s another one that I’d try to include if possible. 

 

Race 8: 

I believe Sun Path (#3) for Cox and Geroux is single worthy in the optional claiming/allowance feature today. She bobbled at the break and had trouble getting position at this level on New Years Eve. She was wide all the way around the track. She made a strong middle move before fading while 4-5 wide on the final turn. She was third in the Honeybee last season and she’s now in her third race of her current form cycle. She has a post edge over her main threat, Willful Woman (#7) and her dull effort last out might increase her value here. Willful Woman keeps knocking on the door, but she hasn’t had a winning move in her last few starts. Both of her career wins came on off tracks, and there’s no rain in the forecast. I’m thinking that at short odds, she’d be better suited for underneath. Turnstone (#1) is a half to Gar Hole who runs earlier in the card with fellow Arkansas breds. She’s been off since the summer, and she’s needed a race before she’s been at her best in the past. However, she is making her first start for John Ortiz when coming off the bench, and he hits with 22% of his runners in their first try off the layoff. There could be some upside, but I’d like better than her 9-2 morning line odds. 

 

Race 9: 

The nightcap is a state bred $35K-$30K maiden claiming race for three year olds and up. The younger horses definitely seem to have an edge on their older rivals here. Kilgore (#1) has been sharp in both starts, running a close 6th when moving up to state bred maiden special weight company last out. That field was considerably tougher than this group. Ev’s Sherman, who was third that day, was a game second yesterday when facing older state bred maiden special weight types. Allo Enry (#10) struggled when breaking in the middle of the field last out in state bred company. He’s another class dropper that looks to have an edge over many in here. I think the wider draw will be to his advantage. Degray (#8) makes his first start for John Ortiz this afternoon, and he looks to be the most live of the first timers here. His works are decent and Ricardo Santana taking the mount can only help his cause. Ucantmakethisup (#3) is tough to play as the morning line favorite, but he certainly has some upside in his second career start. He was second in his debut at this level last out. This field is a little deeper than that group, so it is a bit of a rise in class. At 3-1, I won’t be using vertically, but he’d be more interesting if those odds float up.

 

Favorite Bet Today: Early Pick-5 ($45 Ticket, $0.50 Base Wager)

There won’t be much value on her, but I think Tap for Me is the most likely winner on the card in the opener. I’ll single her, expecting that she’ll get a better trip and look for a little value in some of the other races. I do like Mongolian Lotus (#6, R3) quite a bit in the third race at 8-1. I won’t single her on this ticket, but I’ll be doing so in some of the rolling Pick-3’s that start in the second. The second race is a big spread race for me and I’ll include two others in hopes of beating the heavy favorite, Abdan (#6, R5), who has been a money burner up to this point in his career.

 

Ticket:

Race 1: 1

Race 2: 1,2,4,7,11

Race 3: 1,4,6

Race 4: 3,7

Race 5: 2,6,10

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