There’s a nine race Friday afternoon program at Oaklawn Park. Leading trainer, Robertino Diodoro and leading rider, Cristian Torres, are well represented with many live runners today. The 8th is the featured race, which is a state bred N2L allowance for fillies and mares traveling six furlongs. The first post this afternoon is 12:35 (CT) with the featured race going off at 4:22 (CT).
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!
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The Friday card starts with a $7,500 N2L claiming race for fillies and mares going six furlongs. Ain’tnosweetie (#4) actually finished in front of Bad Outlook (#5) when they last faced off. Even though Bad Outlook is the 8-5 morning line favorite, and Ain’tnosweetie is listed at 5-1, I think Bad Outlook is the way to go here. She was claimed by Diodoro two back and ran well in her first start for this barn. She had a tough trip, finishing traffic, which impeded her progress. I think she was better than Ain’tnosweetie that day, despite finishing ¾ of a length behind her. I’ll pay the tax in this race and use her on top. Ain’tnosweetie will have to rebound after a dull try last out. She may be worth upgrading on a wet track.
This $12,500 starter allowance race is restricted to fillies and mares that have started for a $12,500 tag in their last three starts. Ipsum Gratis (#6) is the morning line favorite and the in-form horse in this spot. She has two wins in her last four starts and she finished less than a length behind the winner in those other two races. She hit a career top figure in her last race though, and I’m not convinced she can run back to that race. I’ll cover with her on the deeper plays, but I’ll look to Undecoded (#5) to run a better race in her third start of this current form cycle. She passed a lot of horses late to nail the favorite on the wire in a thrilling finish last out at this level. Her speed figure was below her personal par despite the win. Torres retains the mount in a spot where I think she’ll be more fit. I see her running a bigger race this time out. Midnight‘s Girl (#3) is the one that she’ll have to beat in this race. She’s likely going to be on the front end, like she was last time out. She tired a bit in the final stages that day, finishing third. Her last two have been strong enough to be right there with this group.
$32,000-$28,000 N2L claimers will go six furlongs here. I think this race runs through the favorite, Master of Arms (#7). He just missed in his last race with $25K-$20K N2L claimers here last month, in an effort that appeared to signal a return to his better and consistent form that he showed in the spring. He was a voided claim last out, which is a minor concern, but I do like that he’s back on the track three weeks after that race. Claims aren’t always voided due to an issue with a horse, and I trust that a horseman like Ron Moquett wouldn’t be running this horse if something were off. The second choice on the morning line, Victory March (#2) is where I’d back myself up. He’s struggled in his first two starts against winners after breaking his maiden three back with $30K maiden claimers in New Orleans. His local debut was a toss, on a day where he was claimed as the 7-5 favorite, but finished 8th. He came back in allowance company for his new connections and improved, but was still well-beaten. He figures to be more competitive at this level, and if the favorite doesn’t fire, I’d expect him to be the one to get things done.
I see Gozilla (#7) as a bad favorite in this $25K-$20K claiming race. I thought he was flat in his local debut, where he was claimed by Diodoro. While he did have a few nice tries on dirt at the start of his career, I think he’s become a better synthetic horse. Cristian Torres, who typically rides first call for Diodoro is not riding him or anyone else here. While Nik Juarez is a solid jockey, he hasn’t ridden much for this barn. I’ll try Big Nick (#2) on top, in hopes that he can wire this field, which is lacking any other pace threats. His last two have not been great, so there’s hope that he can improve off the Nevada Litfin claim. He moves up in a bit class while finding a field where the other six horses don’t really want to be on the lead. If left alone, he’s a horse than can certainly get brave, and I figure this price will be right to take a chance. Slam Dunk Sermon (#5) is in the best current form and should probably be favored when they start the race. He’s been installed as the 5-2 second choice in this race after a narrow miss with similar. He has been away for almost two months since being claimed, which isn’t something that I love. I think he’s worth using, but I’d watch him in the paddock and on the track to see if there are any clues about his fitness. Windcracker (#6) drops after being declared a nonstarter last time out with better. He was held at the start, thus leading to his tardy break which cost him valuable position, which I thought would benefit him at long odds in that race. He cuts back to a sprint while dropping in class, and his sprint efforts here last season weren’t too shabby. On deeper tickets, Lake Radio (#4) is a class dropper that definitely fits on figures. He’s a consistent runner that has three solid efforts with better fields at this meet. My concern for him is that he doesn’t fit all that well from a pace scenario in this spot. If his odds floated up, I’d be willing to try to look past that. Otherwise, he’ll just be one that I cover with on some deeper tickets.
I’d want some coverage in this state bred $40K maiden claiming contest. Only one of the ten starters has gone two turns on the racetrack. This field is evenly matched, so I’m not really all that interested in taking 8-5 on Boliver (#5) or 3-1 on Storm Strategy (#10), who is the lone runner with route experience. I’ll save both of them for the deeper tickets, while using three longer priced horses on the A line. All in Good Time (#1) looks to have the best speed while breaking from the rail in this race. His first two career races weren’t too bad. He missed most of 2022 though, returning at the end of the year. He hasn’t looked as good in his first three starts at this meet, but he’s facing a relatively soft field with plenty of question marks. If he can get an uncontested lead, he could start feeling brave. Singing Groom (#4) is a Bird Town gelding making his third career start. He didn’t break well last out, but did finish with some interest. He’s been involved in races with strong early tempos in his first two starts and he hasn’t really been in contact with the field. A slower tempo might suit him better. Lake Hamilton (#8) is another third time starter. He’s dropping in for a tag for the first time after a pair of dull efforts in sprint races. He was foaled by a productive broodmare, who has had success when her horses have stretched out from sprint races.
This $50K starter allowance is for horses that have started for $50K or less at least one time and still qualify for the N1X allowance condition. Lucky Boss (#1) may have been able to reinvent himself as a one turn horse on the dirt. He was struggling as a deep closing turf horse before switching back to the main track this fall at Keeneland. He looked very good, coming from off the pace to win at seven furlongs with $30K N2L claimers there. He moved up the conditioned $50K claiming level at Churchill and finished 5th at this distance, but he came with an early wide move that day. Cipriano Contreras claimed him that day and now brings him back in a protected spot after a little rest. I think he’s dangerous in this spot. Pioneering Papa (#4) is one of two sent out by Diodoro and he’s the one that I prefer. He’s coming off a pair of strong efforts in Southern California when running for Mark Glatt. He’s been working well for his new barn, who enlists the services of the leading rider, Cristian Torres.
There’s some significant class droppers in this $20K N3L claiming race for fillies and mares. Sassy Sagey (#5) was not good in $50K starter allowance company last month, but she was a confident winner against $30K-$25K N2L claimers on this oval two starts back. She wants to be involved early and she has inside position on the other speed horses in this race. I think she’s sneaky in this spot. Secret Fix (#7) is another short priced Diodoro runner that looks like she has big chance. She struggled with two good allowance fields in her first two local tries. She did run into Yuugiri two back, who was a next out winner and appears to be stakes bound, targeting the Grade 1 Madison next month. She’s capable on a off track, but she’s better on dry footing. The track was sloppy yesterday, but there should be clear skies to help dry out the course for today’s card.
The featured race is a N2L allowance contest for state bred fillies and mares, sprinting six furlongs. One Way or Another (#6) and Pattern Bet (#7) are the two that are likely to take the bulk of the wagering dollars at the windows. They both make a lot of sense, both running strong races at this level in the past. However, neither filly loves to win races, which does concern me at short odds. I’ll be using both, but I’ll look to a pair of three year olds to beat their elders here. Ms Carroll County (#3) was a much the best winner in her third career start, crushing state bred maiden special weight types last month. She was really good in the slop two back as well, coming up just a length short. I think she has a higher ceiling than most of these, while facing winners for the first time. Mozingo (#10) paired her Beyers in her first two starts at the meet for Tom Amoss. She broke her maiden at first asking back in June at Horseshoe Indianapolis. She’s finished behind a few of these in both of those two races, but I do think she’s eligible to take a decent step forward in this, her third race of her current form cycle.
Three year old fillies wrap up the afternoon in $20K maiden claiming company. This race has several that want to be forwardly placed, but only one runner that have proven she can pass horses. Her Name is Lola (#7) was pace compromised against a better field when facing $30K maiden claimers last time out. She closed well two back after being bothered in the early stages. I think she could be the one gaining while many of her rivals are backing out of it. I’m Beth Dutton (#8) came up empty in her local debut with facing $50K maiden claimers. She showed some tenacity in her debut at Emerald last summer, and I think there might be more to this filly on the drop in class. Pink Ace (#5) is the morning line favorite after some snappy AM drills for Ken McPeek. She was only a $5K purchase, and she finds a modest field for her debut.