Saturday’s 11 race card is highlighted by a pair of stakes races. The 9th race is the Dig a Diamond Stakes, which is for fillies and mares going one mile. The 10th race is the Bachelor Stakes for three year olds, dashing six furlongs. With the larger card, there is an extra Pick-5 wager (Race 3) and an extra Pick-4 wager (Race 5) added to the wagering menu. Some morning rain came through town today, but the forecast calls for clearing throughout the afternoon. First post today is 12:30 (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!
|Race||Top Pick||A||B||C||Exotics Menu|
|2||6||6||8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|3||6||6||5||3||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|5||2||1,2||6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|7||5||5||1||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||3||2,3,9||DBL, PK3. PK4|
Race 2, Asset Basis (#6, 8-1 ML):
One of the things that I like about Oaklawn Park is that the racing office tends to get creative with their condition books, especially toward the end of the meet. That is the case with this maiden special weight race, which carries a purse of only $35K, compared to the $90K that is normally offered. That is because this race is restricted to horses that have started for a $30K tag or less, which means that it is essentially a maiden starter allowance race. Some of the PP’s will have this race designated as a true MSW race moving forward, so that may influence the price of some of these horses next time out. In today’s race, I think Asset Basis makes a lot of sense while cutting back in distance. His first two starts were solid, but he struggled in his third career try. He was claimed and dropped for his next start against an above average $20K maiden claiming field. He was off the board that day, but I like the move to bring him back to a sprint, and the fact that he is wheeled back in a protected spot, while keeping Isaac Castillo, all seems positive to me. I think there is a lot of cheap speed in this race, which should benefit him here.
Race 4, Mischievous Me (#5, 12-1 ML, and True Emotion (#6, 5-2 ML):
This is a race where I see the favorite, I’m Beth Dutton (#7, 8-5 ML), as an extremely vulnerable play. She’s dropping in class, but she has been extremely flat in the final ⅛ of a mile in all of her local starts. She couldn’t be $20K maiden claimers two back, so taking a short price on her with a field where there’s other cheap speed, feels foolish. Mischievous Me had some early trouble in her debut against better. She passed some rivals late, finishing with enough interest to make me believe that she could be a player at this level. Milligan has bad numbers with second time starters, losing his last 31 starts. His last winner with a second time starter came here in February of 2021. That being said, he takes the blinkers off for her second start, which is a move that he hasn’t done with any of those 31 starters, and or 12-1 or better, I could be willing to take that chance today. True Emotion should be the favorite in my eyes, so getting as the second choice does represent some value. She had poor starts in two of three starts, but she still ran credible races. If she gets away clean, I think she can track the cheap speed and finish well here.
Race 7, Dream Streak (#5, 5-2 ML):
I see Dream Streak as one of the more likely winners on this program. She won at this level last out when going two turns, and now she cuts back in distance, which is a winning move for Coty Resin (31% since 2022). She loves the course and she’s finished in the money in 10 of her last 11 starts. She fits the condition to a tee and should be finishing better than her rivals in this spot.
Race 8, Willow Creek Road (#3, 12-1 ML):
There are some talented sprinters in this N1X allowance race, however, I think the state bred runner, Willow Creek Road could upset this field while facing open company for the first time. His two sprint races are strong, winning them both while posting solid speed figures. I didn’t like him as the heavy favorite when going a mile last out against state bred open starter allowance company because he’s bred to be a one turn horse. He was all out, but tired in the stretch that day. I think he can sit off the speed in this race and come with a late charge that could make this race interesting.
Race 9, The $150K Dig A Diamond, Tap Dance Fever (#7, 5-2 ML)
The morning line favorite in this race is Lovely Ride (#4) who is a two-time stakes winner at this meet and she just missed in the Grade 3 Bayakoa two back. Her two wins came in races where she had a relatively easy lead on the front end. With Let’s Cruise (#3) to her inside and stretch out sprinter, Gunning (#5) to her outside, I see her being under more early pressure than she was in her earlier starts. That should set the table for Tap Dance Fever coming in from Tampa after a dominating win at seven furlongs in a handicap last month. She’s won three of her last four starts, with her lone loss coming in the Royal Delta at Gulfstream where she didn’t run with Lasix. She’s in great form right now and should be a tough customer if she takes to the local oval.
Race 10, The $150K Bachelor, Ryvit (#4, 5-2 ML):
Mo Strike (#3), who was the winner of the Grade 3 Sanford, which is the only race the Derby favorite, Forte, lost in his career, makes his return today in this race. The dam is a productive producer of quality runners, but this is not a walkover. I think Asmussen’s Ryvit (#4) is in great form, winning his last two starts easily. I think he gets the right set up here as there should be a strong early pace battle in this one. He was comfortable closing to win going away last time out. That was a good field that he beat that day, so I do feel he can handle the rise in class.
Race 11, Rider’s Special (#3, 30-1 ML):
My longshot play of the day comes in the nightcap, with Rider’s Special for Steve Asmussen and Isaac Castillo. Toss his last where he came back from a layoff in an extremely salty sprint race at this N1X allowance level. He wants to go two turns, and he ran well doing so thee times last year. I expect him to be more fit and I think he can sit off the speed that should be coming from the outer part of the starting gate early on. I don’t he’ll be 30-1 at post time, especially if Mamzooj (#11), who drew poorly and is cross-entered tomorrow, opts to defect today. However, at 12-1 or better, I’d be willing to take a chance with him in this wide open race.