The first card of the week does feel like it could wind out being a little chalky, but there’s still some opportunities to take some chances. David Cabrera and Francisco Arrieta continue their battle for leading rider at the meet, with Cabrera holding a two race lead going into the week. The feature today is the 8th race, which is a very interesting optional claiming/allowance sprint for three year old fillies.
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|
|2||2||2||5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|5||7||7||1,3||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|6||2||2,6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The week kicks off with $20K maiden claimers going 1 mile and 1/16. This is not the strongest group for the condition, so it looks like a good spot for Nick Zito to get off the duck for the meet with Jedrek (#6). He’s gradually improved over his first six career tries, most recently finishing third with $30K maiden claimers. He was making his first start since finishing third at this $20K maiden claiming level at Saratoga in July. Uncle Mo’s Cat, who beat him last out, came back to beat winners in his subsequent start, so it feels like today could be the day for this gelded son of Lookin’ at Lucky. There is absolutely no pace signed on this race, which could favor the stretch out sprinter, Bourbon Delight (#3). It won’t be the first time he’s tried two turns, but he seems like a better horse now than the last time that he did. He was third beaten eight lengths in a sprint at this level last out, and I think this field might be softer.
The Early Double ends with another seven horse contest, this one for $30K-$25K N2L claimers at six furlongs. Incorruptible (#2) drops in class after running a decent second to Ernie Banker in starter allowance company last time out. The winner went on to beat a good allowance field here on Sunday. He’s only making his 5th career start today, whereas everyone else with the exception of Blame George (#7) has started nine times or more, only winning one time each. I think he can continue to move forward and be victorious at this level. Hanks (#5) is a bit interesting to me on the drop in class and the cutback in distance. He’s only gone one turn two times in his ten race career, but both of those races were pretty good. He’s underperformed in his first two starts of this year, but when looking at his pedigree, I think sprinting might wake him up.
This $10K maiden claimer highlights the importance of watching replays. Poolside Manners (#1) was keen from the gate in a race at this level last out, gaining the two path after breaking from post 8. While on the front end, her saddle slipped somewhere near the top of the backstretch. Apprentice John Hiraldo was able to keep her together, while still hanging on near the lead. On the turn, while other jockeys started to ride aggressively, he was unable to do so, as his filly slowly wilted toward the back of the field. That race was a total toss for me since she was in contention when she had the equipment malfunction. Had that happened after she started to retreat, I wouldn’t be as bullish on her prospects. I think with her rail post and her early foot, she can wire this field today. This is a cheaper maiden claiming race, so it’s a tough race to put all your eggs in one basket. On deeper tickets, I’ll look to cover with both Mandona (#2) and Desert Glow (#5). Mandona has two starts and she plummets quickly to this bottom level at Oaklawn. She’s stretching out after a pair losses by double digit lengths in tougher company. She probably fits with these. Desert Glow is also stretching out after some sprint races. Her first race over this oval when going six furlongs was better than anything we saw from her at Delta. If she can build off that effort while going longer, she could factor in this race as well.
This is another race in the early sequences that looks like it could lean toward the chalks. Untouched Elegance (#2) drops in class from open $30K-$25K claiming, all the way down to $12,500-$10,500 claiming company. She walked home after getting cooked in an early pace duel last out. She was steadied and relegated to the back of the field without much fight after the incident. Prior to that race, she came in from Southern California, riding high on a three race win streak. I don’t love taking 8-5 on her in this spot, but I do believe that she can rebound at this level in a field where there should be little to no competition for the early lead. Shi O’Shi (#1) is the main danger to the top pick, while making her first start off the Rob Atras claim. She had a two race win streak snapped last out with $16K claiming company. Atras is 0-5 at the meet, but he’s a sharp NY based trainer that wins 26% of the time first off the claim. As per the claiming rules at Oaklawn, she’s here for the rest of the meet, so the minor drop seems to tell me that she might not be NYRA material. However, she could certainly be competitive at this level.
$12,500 N2L claimers sprint six furlongs in the race that ends the Early Pick-5 and starts the Late Pick-5. I think Road Bible (#7) is an interesting longshot on the drop in class for Broberg and Cabrera. He’s a beautifully bred horse that originally sold for $610K at the Keeneland September Sale in 2019. While he never panned out, he’s proven to be a popular claimer, despite his only one career victory. He was shuffled back and wide two back and had a miserable trip last out, checking two separate times. Both of those races came with $20K N2L fields, which were deeper than what he’s facing today. 10-1 might be a pipe dream, but I think he makes a lot of sense here. Violent Pass (#3) was on the front end, dueling in front of the trouble that Road Bible found in that same $20K N2L race two weeks ago. He’s making his third start of the current form cycle, and his only career win came on this oval. He is a logical horse to consider here. Holiday Ticket (#1) was very good when beating a soft $10K maiden claiming field last out, when cutting back to a sprint. He got up in time, in a race where the third place finisher came back to break his maiden in his subsequent try. Diodoro off the claim will almost definitely ensure that he will be well-backed by the public, so I’m not rushing to take a very short price on a horse facing winners for the first time at this level. However, he’s a logical cover in a series of early sequences that could get very chalky.
We have a $40K N3L claiming race to start off the late Pick-4. There’s a pair of class droppers that look to have the advantage here. I’ll give the edge to Dr Jack (#2) who has had a disappointing start to his season. Things started off very promising for him, winning his first two starts and then finishing a close third behind Mandaloun in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth last year. Since then, it’s been a struggle in a variety of races. He was overmatched in his next three starts in stakes company. Since dropping into the allowance ranks, he’s caught two wet tracks and ran a poor race on the synthetic. He drops for a tag for the first time, and finds six rivals, many of them which have been spinning their heels of late as well. I think the class relief and fast track will be the right formula for him to get back on track. Prioritization (#6) drops for a tag after a dull effort with allowance company last out. Prior to that he ran two very good races with starter allowance company on this oval. The wide trip didn’t help his cause last out, and he reunites with Francisco Arrieta, who rode him to victory two back.
I’m on a trio of prices in this $20K maiden claiming race for fillies and mares. Undecoded (#5) at 8-1 on the morning line is the top pick. She was claimed for $10K last out when routing in the mud. James DiVito cuts her back in distance, while changing the rider to Martin Garcia. The blinkers go on in a race where there are some definite speed and fade types that should soften things up on the front end. Simply Beguiled (#4) could be another one that could benefit from a pace meltdown, while cutting back in distance. She made her first start off a seven month layoff back in January when running at this level. She gets another start with the waiver for John Ortiz, so I like the sprinting experiment. She could be flying the fastest of all late. Rio Lady (#3) makes her second career start after debuting with $30K maiden claimers last month. Her performance wasn’t anything to get excited about, but she’s lightly raced. She’s also trained by DiVito, who has great numbers with second time starters. She’s 15-1 on the morning line and could be overlooked in a wide open race.
Brad Cox and Steve Asmussen each send out a pair in today’s featured race, which is an optional claiming/N2L allowance sprint for three year old fillies. Parlance (#6) and Icy Stare Down (#7) finished 4th and 3rd respectively in a similar race here last month. The winner of that race, Lady Scarlet, shipped to Aqueduct and was the winner of the Cicada Stakes there last weekend. Meanwhile, both Com’ On Sweet Luv (#2) and Pipeline Girl (#4) ship in from the Fair Grounds after losing to a well meant filly, Matareya, who could be eyeing up a stakes race like the Beaumont at Keeneland next month. The Fair Grounds race was significantly faster, with Matareya stopping the clock in 1:08:4 for the six furlongs. I’m not a big final time guy, but that’s a serious final time for a six furlong race there, even on days when the track is playing fast. Then you also have Benedict Canyon (#5) and Impulsus (#1), coming out of a common race where they were both trounced by Secret Oath and Matareya when going one mile here in December. In addition to these well-meant fillies, Stanley Market (#3), while moving up in class, is the only two time winner in the field and has two wins in three starts on the main track. Value will be key for me here, and while the Fair Grounds race was faster, I think the Oaklawn race that Parlance and Icy Stare Down are coming out of was deeper. I think Icy Stare Down has a lot of positives going her way today. Florent Geroux is back to ride, and the outside draw should give him options than Johnny V. didn’t have last month when replacing Geroux when he was out of town. Her racing schedule was also affected this winter, when her allowance race in January was canceled due to weather and she scratched from a stakes race in February before landing in that allowance spot. I’d like to get a little better than the 2-1 morning line, but I do think a lot of factors are working in her favor. While many seem to want the early lead, Parlance appears to be the fastest in the early stages, and if she breaks clean, she might be able to establish herself as the primary frontrunner. Being able to get out in front of Pipeline Girl, Benedict Canyon, and Stanley Market, could give her a tactical advantage. I think her last was better than it looks on paper and I like the rider switch to Cabrera. Stanley Market and Pipeline Girl are both horses that I’ll choose to cover with on deeper tickets. Both are coming off career top efforts, so a bounce is a legitimate concern for both. However, that was Pipeline Girl’s first start as a three year old, so growth over the winter from a filly that has never been off the board in a one turn race isn’t unusual. Stanley Market has been a different filly since moving to the dirt. This is a class test, and she failed her last jump in class. However, I do think being a two time winner means something with this group.
Eleven Arkansas bred, $30K maiden claimers close the Thursday program. I think Kilgore (#6) cutting back from a route to a sprint, and returning to state bred maiden claiming company, will be awfully tough to beat here. He drew the inside post in a field of twelve when facing similar here two starts back. He made a run through on the rail, but wilted late. The two turn experiment last month was a failure, however, that was an abnormally fast race for the state bred maiden special weight condition. Cabrera returns to ride after missing this mount with a suspension last time. I think he can graduate today. Forsaken (#2) has had eight chances and keeps coming up short. He’s never run for a tag while facing state bred company, so this is the softest field he’s seen to date. Chris Hartman has been solid all meet long, so anything coming out of his barn right now is worth a look. On deeper tickets, Boston Wally (#10) perhaps named for the Red Sox mascot, might be the most promising of the first time starters here. He’s worked steadily over the course, with his best work to date coming last week.
Favorite Bet Today: Race 4, Pick 3 ($40 Ticket, $10 Base Wager)
On days where there’s smaller fields and the races feel chalky, I try to pick my spots to be aggressive. I think Road Bible (#7, R5) is a good longshot that is dropping in class. He’s well bred and I see excuses for his disappointing efforts. I think there are others that are a little suspect that will take money in that race, so I’ll try him as a single on this ticket. I think the 4th and 6th races will be chalky, and I think my two choices are the most likely winners in both races.
Race 4: 1,2
Race 5: 7
Race 6: 2,6