Friday was opening day at Oaklawn, and it featured a pair of races worth discussing. We’ll also pay a visit to Aqueduct and Gulfstream in this column.
Oaklawn Race 5: #10 THE LONE ROO
THE LONE ROO broke a bit slowly and was steadied right away, costing him about a length. Things didn’t get any better from there, as THE LONE ROO was three-wide most of the way around the far turn. As he entered the stretch, THE LONE ROO was sent to the five-path under Eduardo Perez while avoiding tired horses.
He made up enough ground late to suggest that he probably would have hit the board were it not for his troubled trip. Whether he stays at six furlongs or stretches out to a mile next time out, he could be an intriguing price player.
Oaklawn Race 7: #9 ZIP VAN WINKLE, #10 DILETTANTE
Just about everyone saw the horrible trip ZIP VAN WINKLE encountered, while DILETTANTE’s trouble was more subtle. It’s worth discussing both journeys here.
ZIP VAN WINKLE was bumped coming out of the gate by DILETTANTE and reacted very poorly, dropping to the back under Jose Ortiz. Ortiz then tried to advance ZIP VAN WINKLE up the rail down the backstretch but he was very headstrong and steadied several times, falling back to last again. ZIP VAN WINKLE then made progress along the rail on the far turn and came out four-wide for the stretch drive. Despite all that trouble, he flew home late and nearly won. He’ll be very tough next time out.
As for DILETTANTE, he was carried five-to-six wide around the first turn, as he was unable to move in from post nine under Calvin Borel. Racing widest of all on the far turn, DILETTANTE came under a drive about 5/16ths from home and finished up decently to be fourth. The immense amount of ground loss likely cost him a better placing.
Aqueduct Race 5 (The Jazil Stakes): #3 ROYAL POSSE, #6 DOYOUKNOWSOMETHING
ROYAL POSSE was effectively eliminated from the break, as he fell to his face coming out of the gate. By the time he recovered, he spotted the field three lengths. Turning for home it was clear ROYAL POSSE couldn’t win, so Irad Ortiz Jr. didn’t persevere with him and settled for fourth.
DOYOUKNOWSOMETHING’s trouble was not as dramatic, but he was pushed widest of all around both turns. He was probably not better than #2 SUNNY RIDGE on this day, but it’s worth keeping an eye on him and seeing where he’s entered next.
Gulfstream Race 6 (The Grade III Marshua’s River Stakes): #8 DICKINSON
DICKINSON had a relatively uneventful voyage in the two-path until the far turn, when John Velazquez called for her run. She tried to stay next to #5 SEA COAST, but when eventual winner #3 SANDIVA came up alongside her three-wide, DICKINSON’s lane was pinched and she steadied back to fourth.
She managed to recover soon after and was making a mild late impression, but DICKINSON was unable to improve her position in the lane. She has the makings of a horse that wouldn’t mind going longer, so we’ll see where she heads as more options become available to her.