There’s a ten race card today at Oaklawn Park, featuring some competitive races with decent field sizes. After several weeks of four days a week racing, we have only two days this week with there no being no racing on Easter Sunday. The schedule goes back to three days a week for the remainder of the meet. As my time commitments change in the spring, this format with the picks-grid and spot plays are going to be the norm for the remainder of the write-ups as the meet heads into the homestretch. First post this afternoon is 12:35 (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||7||7||2,9||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||1||1||8||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|7||7||5,6,7||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 2: Tap That Dial (#7, 5-1 ML):
This $12,500 maiden claiming race features several professional maidens that often get close, but have yet to be able to seal the deal. I’ll try this son of Dialed In on top in this large field, hoping that getting a fast track for the first time in his career will be enough to put him over the top. He takes a drop in class after running an improved race in his third start of the meet. He was 5th beaten 7+ when facing a sharper group of $30K-$25K maiden claimers two weeks ago. If he can take a small step forward from that effort, I think that will be enough to be victorious here.
Race 4: Dixie Fury (#5, 5-2 ML):
There are three horses in the $50K-$40K N2X claiming race that figure to take the bulk of the wagering attention. However, of that trio, I think Dixie Fury, who is the slight morning line favorite, stands out. He struggled as the favorite in the slop last out, after being forced to go four wide. Toss his race two back when he tried and failed when going two turns for the first time. He was excellent three back when dominating an optional claiming/starter allowance. He was getting better prior to his last two hiccups, where I do think he had valid excuses. I’m suspicious of both Dark Afternoon (#1) and Missin Curfew (#3), so this feels like a good spot to use this son of Tiznow as a single.
Race 6: Mrs. Beans (#1, 9-5 ML):
The late Pick-5 will start with a state bred starter allowance race, and I think this hard-knocking Arkansas bred is the most likely winner on the card. He always runs his race, and that effort wasn’t quite enough against a very good field of open optional $50K/N2X allowance runners last month. He’s run very well against state bred rivals in the past, when he wasn’t facing Gar Hole, who is probably the best Arkansas bred sprinter in training. There are a few horses in this field that step from time to time, but I think his consistency is key at this level. He’ll be singled for me in the first leg of this sequence.
Race 7: Thundershook (#7, 12-1 ML):
I think he’s a live longshot making his first start off the Martin Villafranco claim. This barn does not have great numbers first off the claim, so I do think he’ll remain around his 12-1 morning line figure, assuming there are no significant defectors. He’s been running in route races, mostly at two turns, although some have been going one turn in Maryland and New York. However, his sprints have been really good. His last race at seven furlongs came last January, which was a dominating win at Parx. He’s run six times at this six furlong distance, winning three times, and finishing in the money twice more. He’s in good form, and there’s a decent amount of speed to set up a late bid.
Race 9: Alejandro (#4, 6-1 ML):
I think a lot of the main contenders in the feature today are going to be gunning for the lead, so I opted to look for closers in this race, assuming that the track is playing fair. Jose Ortiz rode this beautifully bred son of Curlin whose grand dam is Rachel Alexandra. He had him too far back and was moving a little too late for the one mile race here with the short stretch. That’s not uncommon to see, especially with a rider who doesn’t typically ride this course. Even though Francisco Arrieta and Steve Asmussen have not combined on a win together yet, I like the rider change here, as Arrieta has been on fire lately, trying to close the gap on the lead that Cristian Torres has in the rider standings.