Oaklawn Park Racing Preview – 2/20/22 – By Eric Solomon

The Sunday program is a nine race card that has a pair of stakes quality allowance sprints in Races 7 and 8. Inside speed has been good over the last few days, and horses closing wide have struggled to get home. Rosario and Geroux are back after a day away, but keep an eye on David Cabera, who is riding very well at the moment. He notched four wins yesterday in their absence and has six mounts, many of which are live this afternoon. 

 

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 3 3,8 4 DBL, PK5
2 1 1,3,8 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 3 3 4,5 DBL, PK3
4 6 5,6 1,8 DBL, PK3
5 7 5,6,7 11 DBL, PK3, PK5
6 9 9 1,2,4 10 DBL, PK3, PK4
7 2 2,6 4 DBL, PK3
8 7 7 4,6 DBL
9 8 2,8,9

 

 

Race 1:

The first race of the day is a $20K maiden claimer for fillies and mares going six furlongs. The morning line favorite is Rattrapante (#8) shipping in from Southern California and now racing for Jerry Hollendorfer. She’s been second in her last two races at this level when sprinting, with both of those races coming at Los Alamitos. Her form outside of Los Al is suspect at best though. Her speed figures are faster than her rivals, so I think she makes sense to keep on the multi-race tickets, but I’ll try to beat her with Milana (#3). She’s had some physical ailments, so they’ve had to stop and start with her a few times in her five career. She was purchased for $160K, but was claimed two starts back for $10K at Delta. She didn’t run for 10 months after that claim and came back here two months ago and was a decent third with $10K maiden claimers. This field isn’t significantly better than that group, and she might have the best early foot in here. On deeper tickets, I won’t completely give up on My Coralena (#4) who I liked last time out at this level going two turns. She tried to set a slow pace on the front end that day, but backed up to finish third. I think stalking the front end is more of her game and there should be some tired runners backing up in the stretch. Trainer Coty Rosin did well with horses cutting back to sprints from routes last year. 

Race 2:

The Early Pick-4 starts with a $10K N3L claiming race going 1 mile and 1/16. I think Opus Equus (#1) makes some sense in here, while making his second start for Wayne Potts. He was claimed for $16K two back when sprinting and ran 5th that day. He moved up to a much tougher $25K N3L claiming level where he never was involved. He takes a significant drop, from the deepest drop in the group, and he goes back to two turns while doing so. He might be a candidate capable of improving here. Sports Fan (#8) is the morning line favorite and another claim and drop type for Diodoro. He’s done fairly well with his horses that are taking minor drops after the claim, and while it’s small, there still is some profit margin with this move. He was flat when facing a significantly better horse (Leading West) in his last start. He’s finished second or third 15 times in his 25 career starts (60%), but has only crossed the line first twice. He’s a player in here, but one that I’d use with a bit of caution. Foxy Ace (#3) was a decent 4th against a field that was a little better than this one at this same condition last month. He was sent to post at 27-1 that day, so I don’t think we’ll get that kind of value on him roday. However, he’s very playable at his 6-1 morning line number, especially with the red hot David Cabrera aboard. 

Race 3:

Arkansas bred fillies and mares go six furlongs in this optional claiming/starter allowance race. This race should set up nicely for Dutch Treat (#3) who is coming in off a score with $16K state bred claimers. He rallied strongly to earn that win last out when racing for Diodro. Broberg claimed him out of that spot and moves him to this protected level. The main contenders here look like they’ll be going at on the front end. I think there’s a good chance that they’ll be softened up. There’s a chance that Richness (#4) and Princess Lilli Bug (#5) are just better than the other six in this race. Richness has been very good in her last two starts, winning both easily. She drops in class slightly here, but there’s not a wealth of conditions for state bred horses, so she’s here entered for the $16K tag. Princess Lilli Bug is an all or nothing type who either wins or finishes up the track. She faced open company last out when she faded to 8th. She was a winner off the shelf two starts back. She hasn’t run the big race that she showed she was capable at Indiana Grand earlier in her career. 2-1 is too short for me, but if her odds float up, she’d be more palpable.  

Race 4:

This is a tricky $50K N2L claiming race for three year olds and up at six furlongs. I don’t really like Outasite (#8) in here off the long layoff, and I really don’t like that Cox opted for this race as opposed to the allowance race on Friday that he was scratched from. However, there’s not a ton of speed signed on and he should be able to grab the early lead. I’ll cover with him as well as morning line favorite, Breaking News (#1). He’s also making his first start in a while, unraced since being disqualified from second place in an allowance race on the Preakness undercard. He runs solid races, but only has one win in 18 starts. I don’t think he’ll get a great pace set up here, and he usually leaves himself with too much work to do. I’ll make Tuggle (#6) the top choice off the Asmussen claim. He was running much better races earlier in 2021, but his last few have been far from his best. When he’s going well, he presses the early pace, so I’m expecting an aggressive ride from Rosario here. Big Nick (#5) has the best early foot outside of Outasite. His speed figures are a bit light, but if Outasite doesn’t go for the lead or if he’s not at his peak yet, Big Nick could inherit the early lead. Horses closer to the front have pretty much had an advantage all meet long in sprint races.

Race 5:

There’s a lot of ways that you can go in this open $20K claimer, so coverage will be important here. I think Leading West (#7) has been very consistent at this meet, and he should be tough in this spot running for Joe Sharp for the first time. He came from out of the clouds when the pace duel was strong up front last out when winning with $16K N3L claimers. He ran two good races with starter allowance company prior to that, where he sat midpack, and made a run at the leaders. Five starts ago at Keeneland, he was a winner when he was with the frontrunners in a slow paced race. He can adapt to whatever happens on the track, which makes him dangerous in my mind. Gagoots (#5) and Bear Oak (#6) are both longer priced horses that are coming out of the same $10K starter allowance race last month. Exulting and Home Run Trick are better horses than what they’re facing today. Neither had a great trip in that last race either. Gagoots was wide on both turns, but he did make a nice move visually into a slow pace before losing some steam. He’s a four year old that is improving and has been much better since moving to the main track. Bear Oak is best when he’s on or near the lead, but he broke inward just a bit at the start last out. As a result, he was completely shut off from getting any early position when Home Run Trick, who has better early foot, came in a bit, and the horse inside of him came out. He was relegated to racing from the back of the pack that day, and was never really a factor. If Travis Wales can engage him early here, he has a much better shot. On deeper tickets, I’ll use the morning line favorite, Roaming Union (#11). 5-2 is a tough price to take, but it’s probably close to where he’ll go off seeing as how he was a two-time winner at Saratoga in his last two starts. He was claimed for $20K by Norm Casse in September and hasn’t run since, which is something I don’t love to see in claiming races. I also don’t love his wide draw, as there are some others inside of him that want the same early position. Cassse does do very well with horses running fresh though, so I can’t completely exclude him. He’s one I’d use as coverage in the multi-race bets, but I’d try to beat vertically. 

Race 6:

Maiden three year olds run with a $75K claiming tag in this 1 mile and 1/16 race. I’m going with Cole Spur (#9) to get the job done here, making his first start off the Moquett claim. He’s been on the front end, but faded late in his last two starts. On paper, it looks like he faded after setting a soft pace last time, but times were definitely slow that afternoon. When you go back and watch the replay, you can see they were running into some significant headwinds down the backstretch, which certainly made his job more difficult on the lead. As the winds picked up that afternoon, the front runners struggled to get home. I’d also argue that Winterwood, the horse that beat him last out, is a better horse than any of these runners, at least at the moment. I think he can clear from his outside post and get the job done. I’m willing to forgive the last start from Blue Norther (#4) who broke sharp, but ended up chasing a sharp early pace with maiden special weight company last out. The runaway winner of that race, Kupuna, is another one who is clearly better than this group. He adds Lasix, and gets Arrieta to ride today. It is a little concerning that Geroux is named to ride the other Cox horse, Battle Call (#10) in his debut. I still prefer Blue Norther, as I thought his debut was sharp. Battle Call will be a backup for me, as post ten is not ideal for a horse making his debut at this distance. Group Eighteen (#2) continues to steadily improve, and could be a threat at this level if some of the others misfire. He came from off the pace to finish in front of Cole Spur last out with $50K maiden claimers. If the odds disparity stays as big as it is on the morning line (5-1 on Cole Spur and 12-1 on Group Eighteen), I think you have to consider him. Icy Blast (#1) drops from maiden special weight company for Asmussen after a tough trip in his debut. He ran in a maiden special weight race on the Lecomte undercard at the Fair Grounds last out, so there were some well-meant runners in that race. Rosario picks up the mount for his second career start, which is a plus. 

Race 7:

This is the first of a pair of stakes quality allowance sprints, and this one figures to be a showdown between two very nice horses, Macron (#2) and Supremacy (#6). I’ll give the slight edge to Macron (#2) coming off a win in allowance company last out. He has inside position which has been a good thing on this course so far this week. He’s in his third race of this current form cycle, so he could be sitting on a bigger effort. One thing to be aware of is that he was gelded since his last start, which suggests it was done for a medical reason. He was purchased for $210K and other than his debut (which was a loss to Mandaloun), he’s never run a bad race, so it’s unlikely he was gelded for performance issues. That’s not a deal breaker for me, but it is something worth keeping an eye on. Supremacy (#6) ran a monster race on the Kentucky Derby undercard, beating a very good horse in Tulane Tryst. He was not heard from for the rest of the year. He returned last month in an allowance race at the Fair Grounds where he was a little bit flat. He improved in his second start off the layoff last year and could be sitting on another big race. There could be a strong pace battle on hand here, so I’m looking for coverage with a horse that could get rolling late. Joe Frazier (#4) is another one that was gelded since his last start. He was rolling late last out, and just missed with a wide surge. That over the top move has not been working well this week, but he loves this distance and might get the right set up. 

 

Race 8: 

Hollis (#7) returns to his favorite track and distance after bouncing in the King Cotton Stakes last out. While I don’t think he’s going to set a new track record again while post a monster 109 Beyer figure again, I do think he can run well enough to get the job done. He’s drawn well for the race he wants to run. Both Chipofftheoldblock (#4) and Boldor (#6) could be the back markers that get the right set up if there is a pace meltdown. Chipofftheoldblock has done well in his career at the 5 and ½ Furlong distance. He didn’t run his best races on wet tracks in his first two starts of the meet. He ran a much better race on dry ground last out. Boldor returned to the main track after seven straight turf sprints. He was the winner of the King Cotton Stakes here last year, so he definitely can handle the main track. He’s in his second race off the layoff, so he should be more fit for this race. Me might be better at six furlongs, but if the race sets up for him, he could get there. 

 

Race 9: 

The nightcap is a $30K starter allowance at 1 Mile and 1/16 for fillies and mares. Legendary Gift (#8) is better at two turns and is coming off a decent performance in open allowance company. His trainer, Timothy Martin, has been cold at this meet, only winning one time in 40 starts at the meet. However, that angle may boost her value off his 6-1 morning line figure. Nisi Prius (#9) cleared the N2L claiming condition with a solid win last time. Her rival drew even with her before she battled back to get the job done. She’s never gone longer than six furlongs, so 4-1 is a little light for a horse doing something new for the first time, while also moving up in class. However, she’s in her third race off the layoff and she should be at her best to try a route for the first time. Ipsum Gratis (#2) beat a soft maiden claiming field in her local debut last out. She drew off to win by over seven lengths, showing that there’s definitely more in the tank for her. She draws well for her first time against winners and could be overlooked on the jump in class. 

 

Favorite Bet Today: Late Pick-5 ($0.50 Base Wager, $48 Ticket)

I think this sequence is playable today, with some wide open races at the start. I think the middle legs could be chalky, so we’ll need value on the spread legs. Hollis (#7, R8) is single-worthy, in a good spot to rebound off a dull effort in the King Cotton Stakes. This is the right distance for him, and the outside draw in the short field is a plus. In Race 7, Macron (#2) and Supremacy (#6) are two very sharp horses that should handle their business. Cole Spur (#9, R6) is a horse that could be a single for me on some backup tickets, and in the Pick-4. However, I’ll try to throw some others in on this leg in hopes of getting some added value. 

The Ticket:

Race 5: 5,6,7,11

Race 6: 1,2,4,9

Race 7: 2,6

Race 8: 7

Race 9: 2,8,9

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