Oaklawn Park Racing Preview – 3/26/22 – By Eric Solomon

Saturday’s 10 race program is highlighted by the Purple Martin Stakes for three year old fillies. Four runners from the Dixie Belle are back to battle in that race, however, the notable absence is the winner of that race, Happy Soul. Wesley Ward has her tabbed to possibly start in the Grade 1 Ashland next month at Keeneland. 

 

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

 

 

Race 1:

A six horse field starts the day in this $30K-$25K claiming race for fillies and mares, going 1 mile and 1/16. Itsallinthenotes (#4) gets the call in a race where there doesn’t seem to be much early speed signed on. She was the only winner in 2021 for trainer Corey Deatherage, and that came in her first start of this meet back in December, when she pulled off a big upset to win a $100K allowance race at 27-1. She’s run three credible efforts after that race, all against tougher fields. She drops in for a tag and could be a contender to take this group gate to wire. Pretti Xtreme (#5) is coming out of the same last two races that Itsallinthenotes has been in. They’ve traded turns finishing in front of each other. She’s struggled to make an impact in her four career starts on this oval, however, she’s never run at this low of a level here. The last time she competed at this level, she was a winner at Delaware back in 2020. This is her third start off a decent layoff, and she’s historically improved in this race in her form cycle. I don’t love the 2-1 morning line odds, but I think she’s a contender. 

Race 2:

I feel the two morning line favorites from the big barns are vulnerable in this $20K maiden claiming race. Coach Happy (#3) was a $165K purchase at the OBS Sales last year. He debuted in maiden allowance company where he showed a little zip and faded badly. This is a big drop in class after one race, so I’m inclined to think that Brad Cox doesn’t believe much in this guy. Tenth of Gold (#9) had three strong races in pricy maiden claiming company last spring here and at Churchill. He was away since the middle of June and he resurfaced last month in maiden special weight company on this oval. He never ran a step that day, finishing 9th of 10, 22 lengths behind the winner. If he can regain his springtime form from 2021, he’d likely win this race by a pole. However, this is another deep drop in class which is a cause for concern. Of the two, I will include Tenth of Gold, only my tickets as he has good races in his past and he wasn’t a huge purchase to begin with. I’m making Mega Charlie (#4) the top pick though. He typically runs good races on this oval, hitting the board twice in four tries here. His last off the layoff was solid and I think he can run back to that effort here. On deeper plays, I’d consider including both of the Allen Milligan first time starters, Good Bye Charlie (#6) and Goblin (#7). Neither are tearing up the track in the AM, but Milligan does have a good track record with debut runners, especially in maiden claiming races. I’ll watch the tote for clues on both, especially with the Pick-4 that starts here. 

Race 3:

Three year old Arkansas breds go six furlongs in this maiden special weight contest. This is a tricky race because everyone in the field has a decent effort in their running lines, but many also have at least one subpar effort. In addition, five of the seven runners that entered this race were last seen in the snow-filled nightcap race here two weeks ago. I’m not sure how much I trust the form, both good and bad from that effort. I made Chaleco (#2) the top pick here while cutting back to a sprint. His debut was solid when he was the runner up when getting a less than ideal trip. He ran at two turns at this level in an above average race for the condition. He missed the break that day and was never involved. The second place finisher from that race was a runaway maiden breaker in the 3/11 snow race. He’s lightly raced and should turn in a better effort today with a better start. Ev’s Sherman (#6) had two strong efforts on fast tracks and a decent try in the mud when going into the snow race, while facing older foes for the first time. I‘m willing to draw a line through that effort as there appears to be no serious pace presence here. I’m expecting a better race from him. Bettys Cash (#1) rallied clearly into second in his debut against older runners in the snow race. He was flattered a bit when the 7th place finisher came back to win, albeit with maiden claimers, on Thursday. He draws the rail again, but will get to navigate a smaller field today. We’ll see how he performs under typical circumstances. 

Race 4: 

From a wagering perspective, this $8K claiming race is likely going to be bet like a two horse race. American Dubai (#2) is the morning line choice after a narrow loss as the favorite at this level three weeks ago. That race was unusually fast for this level, but from a speed figure perspective, his 86 Beyer figure last out was about what he was running over the summer before his layoff. Secretary At War (#9) has a pair of wins and a pair of second place finishes in his four starts at this meet. He was claimed by Norm Casse for $12,500 with time restricted claimers last out. He might sit the better trip here if some of the other pace factors in this race put the pressure on American Dubai in the first half mile. While some of the others have shown the ability to pop at times, but none are as consistent as these two. 

Race 5:

I don’t see it happening, but if I can get 15-1 on Lngtermrelationship (#4) in this race, I’ll take it. His last two have been poor, so there’s definite risk involved. However, he’s taking a significant drop in class in his second race off the layoff. Cabrera and Moquett are teaming up with some live runners on this card, and I think he’s one of them. Tez (#3) is the deserving morning line favorite, making his first start of the Wayne Potts claim. He’s getting notable post relief, after breaking from post 11 at this level last out and having to go four wide around the first bend. Look for a better effort from him today. Arrival (#6) might not have any real competition for the early lead. He set the pace against a sharper group last out before retreating . He was a respectable third at this level of competition two starts ago. If they don’t press him early, he might have enough to take them all the way today. On deeper tickets, Egomaniac (#2) is worth a look. He faced Stock Deal who was a winner yesterday’s card. He left Illinois in decent form and now makes his third start off the layoff. Both Foxy Ace (#12) and Revenio (#8) beat him last out, but he should sit the better trip over them both here, while also likely going off at longer odds. 

Race 6: 

Multi-conditioned $20K claimers go in the first leg of the Late Pick-5. While three year olds are able to enter this race without the N3L restriction, both three year olds here have only two wins, so this race is a true N3L claiming race. I’m not loving the deep drop in class from All The Diamonds (#9), who was claimed for $50K three starts back. He was off the board in both tries with starter allowance company, I’m on O Dogg (#3) in here, making his third start of this current meet. Toss his first start where he missed the break. He showed improvement in his last start, when facing better. He’s eligible to improve in this race. Special Pryce (#2) is also coming out of that race where he was moving up in class. His first two races were sharp when facing N2L company, getting the job two starts ago. The track should be fast today and I think he’s a rebound candidate who could be a decent price. I’m not sure I get the cutback to a sprint, but Charliecando (#4) is still one that’s worth covering on some deeper plays. He was claimed for $10K last out when finishing third with a softer field. William Martin has had a tough meeting, but he has hit with 12% of his horses that run first off the claim for him. He was very good when winning at two turns three starts ago, so if he can handle the distance, we know he gets over this track well. 

Race 7: 

A nine furlong $40K starter allowance race kicks off the Late Pick-4 sequence. While the distance might be a question mark for some, it won’t be for Decision Maker (#5), who won at 10 furlongs with N1X allowance company at Churchill last November. He tried the turf in the Grade John B. Connally at Sam Houston in January, where he was a non-factor. His last race was a win at this level where he was surging late to get the job done. While I’m not foreseeing a pace meltdown in this race, there is enough early speed signed on to ensure an honest pace for him to close into. Hunka Burning Love (#7) won for the 18th time in his 58 race career three weeks ago when nailing Fort Peck (#2) on the wire with open $30K-$25K claimers. He certainly looked like a horse that was returning to some of his better form from earlier in his career in his last start. Brobert claimed him for $30K back in 2020, and since then, he’s been the trainer of record for 10 of those wins. He was a stakes winner at this distance at Remington Park in 2020. Robber Baron (#6) is a horse that’s mildly interesting in this race, while making his first start for Diodoro. He was in decent form at Golden Gate when running on the Tapeta surface there. He has a sharp effort in a three turn, 1 mile and 1/16 race at Fresno last year, indicating that he can run his race on any surface. 

Race 8:

Uncle Berley (#9) makes sense while dropping into this $75K maiden claiming contest. He finished 6th when debuting against a decent field in maiden special weight company. He tried two turns last out, but had the misfortune of running into Arkansas Derby candidate We The People. He returns to a sprint, and faces a softer group today. Poker Play (#6) makes his debut for Ron Moquett after a series of solid AM drills. He’s a homebred for Gary and Mary West, and the leading rider David Cabrera, sees fit to take the mount for Moquett. Mumayaz (#5) feels like a now or never type horse in this spot. He has the best speed figures of the group, so he definitely fits at this level. He’s been close before, but has failed seven straight times. He’s playable, but if his price drops below his 3-1 morning line, I might try to beat him. On deeper tickets, give a look to Royal Consort (#4) making his first start off the claim for Karl Broberg. He ran an improved race when making his first start since the end of October last month. He could improve in his second start off the layoff. 

Race 9: The $150K Purple Martin Stakes:

The 2nd-5th place finishers of the Dixie Belle Stakes last month are back to face a pair of new faces in the featured stakes race of the week at Oaklawn. There seems to be a similar pace setup in this race as there was in the Dixie Belle, where most of the field wants to be out on the front end. Pretty Birdie (#2) was intent on making the lead and Cabrera rode his race, making Happy Soul chase her while being pinned along the rail. She held the lead, but was never able to to get over to the rail. Happy Soul engaged her at the top of the stretch and pulled away. Both Wicked Halo (#1) and Hypersport (#4) had an excuse for their performance. Wicked Halo was flat footed from the gate, and Hypersport had to check fairly hard after the first furlong. Both of them would typically be on or near the lead, so I’m expecting them to be ridden more aggressively here. All of this should set things up for Como Square (#3) to run them all down late, if she’s good enough. She tried two turns and ran into Secret Oath in the Martha Washington, which didn’t end well. She was third that day, a long way off the winner. She cuts back to one turn, which is where I think she’ll be the most effective. Verylittlecents (#5) is the most seasoned runner in the group and she was closing well late to secure second last out. I think she’d prefer to be closer to the front end, but she still was game in defeat last out. If speed is carrying, I do think Pretty Birdie will run a better race. It’s hard to think that she won’t be under pressure every step of the way, but she is the speed of the speed. She should be more fit in her second try off the layoff. 

Race 10:

An evenly matched field runs in a state bred $25K-$20K N2L claiming race. Most of these horses broke their maidens in state bred maiden claiming races or lower level open maiden claimers. Many have been facing open restricted claimers in their last several races. Both My Little Tipsy (#1) and Depart (#7) are coming out of an open $20K N2L claiming race which is a little tougher than the open $12,500 N2L or the open $10K N2L condition that many others are coming out of. Depart is lightly raced, making only his 4th career start. He got away slow last out and leveled off a four wide bid. Unlike many others, he broke his maiden with open $20K maiden claimers at Lone Star. I like he could be rolling late while facing the softest group of winners he’s seen yet. My Little Tipsy has been competitive with open N2L claimers this meet. He struggled against a much stiffer state bred optional claiming/allowance field two back. Look for an improved effort here. My Dominator (#9) is an interesting longshot in this race that is making his third start off the layoff. His only career win came here with state bred maiden claimers in his debut last year. His form improved while racing at Canterbury over the summer. Based off his speed figures, if he’s able to take another step forward, he could contend at this level. I prefer this trio over any of the recent maiden breakers, including Lord M (#10) and Southern Pecan (#3) who are the two shortest priced horses on the morning line. 

 

Favorite Bet Today: Race 7, Late Pick-4 ($40.50 Ticket, $0.50 Base Wager)

It’s not the most creative ticket, but I think this caveman ticket covers a lot of bases in the late sequence. I like the trio in the last leg, which could produce the biggest price in the sequence. 

The Ticket:

Race 7: 5,6,7

Race 8: 5,6,9

Race 9: 2,3,5

Race 10: 1,7,9

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