Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, January 12, 2018
Racing returns to Oaklawn Park on Friday! They’ve got a great 9-race card, packed with 111 entries and plenty of great betting opportunities. The feature race of the day, the Fifth Season Stakes, drew a full field of 12, and will go as race 8. The first race of the day is at 12:35 PM CST, with the Fifth Season going off at 3:49 PM CST.
We’re happy to have myself, site managing editor John Piassek (@theyreoff), providing picks & analysis of all 9 races! Be sure to check out my analysis of the racing at Oaklawn every Thursday, Friday, and holiday!
Race 1: Starter Allowance $8,000, 4yo and up, 6 Furlongs
2- Conquest Hihosilver: Remington Park invader has won or placed in his last three races. Finished second after leading briefly in the stretch in his last race against similar, and appears to be peaking at just the right time.
8- Outrun the Posse: Makes first start since November 17 for the Robertino Diodoro barn, an excellent outfit in races of this sort. Was run down against restricted claimers in his last race at Churchill Downs; career record of eight seconds in nineteen races indicates that he may not be the type who likes to win. However, he must be respected underneath.
9- Misterbulltoyou: Has improved his figure in each of his last four races and has great late punch. Texas-bred has a shot to upset the exotics at a big price.
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $30,000, 3yo, 6 Furlongs
3- Articulator: Churchill shipper drops back in for a tag after poor try against MSW horses in his most recent outing. Threw down some bullet workouts at Churchill before shipping to Oaklawn; picks up Gary Stevens for sophomore season bow. Look for him to go to on or near the pace from the inside.
12- Zombo: Runs for a tag for the first time after a pair of thirds against maiden special weight horses at Remington. I’d like him a lot more if he wasn’t drawn on the extreme outside; as things stand now, his figures in the upper 60s make him a strong contender in this race.
6- Shakedown: Was stuck five-wide in his last race and did not really threaten, but still improved his figure for the 3rd figure in a row, up to a 68. Cuts back from a mile and is a gelding for the first time.
Race 3: Starter Allowance $16,000, 4yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs
9- Cleopatra’s Gold: Winner of four out of her last five dirt races, with figures in the high 80s every time out. The key for her will be a clean break. If she can get that, she’s got enough early speed to clear to the lead from the outside and take them gate-to-wire.
4- Liam’s World: New York shipper is the primary challenge to Cleopatra’s Gold’s hope for an early lead. A classic example of the “lightbulb angle”, it took her nine tries for her to break her maiden; she’s won four out of five since then (inclusive of maiden win). Speed figures are a cut below Cleopatra’s Gold, but she has class, and will occupy the positional advantage should a duel percolate.
3- Like a Haint: Her figures have improved sharply in each of her last three races, going up to an 86 last out, one point behind Cleopatra’s Gold for best last-out number in the race. Closed well last time, but ended up losing by a neck. Should the speedsters tire from a duel, she’s right in position to pick up the pieces.
Race 4: Claiming $12,500, 4yo and up, 1 Mile
6- Salsa’s Return: Has run well against similar in the past, most recently was fourth for $16,000 at Churchill. Looks to be one coming from far out of it; he’s nothing special on paper, but speed figures in the low 80s are some of the best in the race over a route of ground.
10- Moon Gate Warrior: Almost wired the field in the same race that Salsa’s Return exits. It was a smart tactic, and jockey C.J. McMahon would be wise to try and use it again. That race produced his best figure since June.
5- Oh Newman: His backers have to hope that he can reverse his form decline. After running figures as high as 92 over the summer, he struggled a bit over the fall, losing one race by twelve lengths. He’ll go for the Diodoro barn for the first time, who will try to reverse course. If he runs like he did over the summer, a contender.
Race 5: Allowance (c), 4yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs
9- Thoughtless: She didn’t do too much when going two turns in the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds, but excelled around one turn over the summer in the midwest. She’ll make her third start off the layoff, and figures to come from off the pace. Trainer MacLean Robertson a very impressive 26% with horses third off the layoff, with a sample size of 162.
4- Euro K Shotgun: Cross out an inexplicably poor effort against Oklahoma-bred stakes company three races ago, and you’ve got a mare who runs in the upper-80s every time out there. Has been an example of “close, but no cigar” over her last few races, without a win on dirt since November 2016. However, this might be a field that she can beat.
7- Street Biz: Another mare looking like a bargain at her morning line (15/1). Easily defeated an Illinois-bred allowance field in her last race, and has missed the board just once in her last ten races. Her closing style sometimes leaves her falling short, but is a strong contender for the exotics, at least.
Race 6: Claiming $30,000 (n/w2L), 4yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles
3- Dangerfield: Grade-1 placed gelding takes a big drop in class, down from n/w1x allowance company in SoCal. Trainer Doug O’Neill could be pulling a dump job with this one, and I wouldn’t bet to win at low odds. He’s got enough class and decent enough figures that he should be able to beat these if he’s right.
8- Harangue: Broke his maiden in his 12th try last out, after a frustrating streak that saw him hit the board eight times in his last eleven races. Has worked well since that maiden win, figures are strong, should rate off the pace and could click at a big price.
6- Burgameister: Second in his last three races, most recently against n/w1x allowance company at Remington. Has struggled to pass horses in his last few, but must be considered for exactas and trifectas.
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo, Fillies, 6 Furlongs
4- Good Move: The best of the four first-timers in the race. Has been working well at Fair Grounds for trainer Brad Cox, who is 18% with first-time starters. The dam, a Distorted Humor mare, has thrown four winners from four foals to race. In a race where none of the ones with experience have been especially promising, she’s the play.
11- Oklahoma Long Shot: Runs against open company for the first time here, did not miss the board in three races against Oklahoma-bred maidens. Tended to rate and flatten out when close to the pace, but gets to face a less-than-stellar maiden field here. At a 8/1 morning line, worth a look.
1- Golden Rose: Showed speed for the first time last out at Fair Grounds, flattened to finish third, but ran a career top by a significant margin. Trainer Wayne Catalano is 25% with horses second off the layoff, from a sample size of 147.
Race 8: Fifth Season Stakes, 4yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles
9- Dazzling Gem: Ran a big race first off the layoff last out at Remington Park, trying to close off a slow pace and ending up second behind a very pace-advantaged horse. Ran figures as high as 101 last year, and earned a similarly big figure in his comeback.
11- Untrapped: Disappointed as the favorite in the Zia Park Derby, but was very wide in that race, which may have cost him the victory. Won the Oklahoma Derby two races ago, and has racked up countless stakes placings since then. Can get a good trip off the pace, but must try to avoid losing as much ground as possible.
2- Futile: Hawthorne Gold Cup runner-up ran his two lifetime tops by far in his last two races. Whether or not he can keep up his figures in the upper 90s remains an open question, but is a valid longshot nevertheless.
Race 9: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo, AR-bred, 6 Furlongs
10- The Boss is Sauced: Working well at Fair Grounds for Al Stall, a 20% trainer with first-timers. Most recently went four furlongs in a sharp 50.1 seconds
2- Just a Coinkydink: Has a boatload of works going back to at least mid-September, most recent drill of three furlongs in 37 seconds was the second-fastest one of the day.
12- Hamazing Vision: With a better post, he’d be the top pick. In his debut, he was five-wide in the stretch, battled down the lane, and faded to finish fourth. If he was drawn closer to the inside, I’d be less fearful of a similar trip here.
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