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Ricky’s Rockets: Oaklawn Park Picks for April 23, 2020
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Ricky’s Rockets: Oaklawn Park Picks for April 23, 2020

With a few days off from Oaklawn Park, I did some self scouting. Since I started this article on March 26, racing luck has evaded me. I’ve hit 4/5 legs in the Pick 5 sequence 7/14 (50%) of the time. One can make the argument that I’m very close, but unfortunately there’s nothing to show for it. Thursday’s card is the beginning of a new race week and hopefully some better racing luck! 

Best of luck!

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Race 5: Maiden Claiming $30,000-$25,000 for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $23,000

It was tough to sort through this field as many of the runners have not shown a lot on the track and drop in for a tag. My top choice comes from the rail #1 Urbanite, trained by Steve Asmussen. In his debut, he was in the six-path into the turn and worked effortlessly to keep up with the leaders. The eventual winner of that race was Mr. Monomoy who won the Risen Star Stakes in February. I’m throwing out his last two starts one on the turf and the other on a sloppy track. He needs a fast track and pace to close into, and he should get both in this race. #4 Marquee Thunder makes his return to the track after not running in over six months. Including him in the sequence is more about Brad Cox’s runners who tend to run well in their first start after long layoffs. Cox is winning at 31% with runners over 180+ day layoffs in the last 365 days. #8 Mo and Go has six starts under his belt coming into this race, but he’s still looking for his first win. He’s faced runners like Country Grammer, Sonneman, Cost Basis, and Enforceable in the past. There is no one like that in this field and I’ll forget about his last race on a sloppy track here at Oaklawn. #12 Ahsad will have a lot of work to do from his outside post. Declan Cannon will be aboard this 3-year-old colt by Street Sense for the fifth time in his career. Ahsad takes a big drop in class for Daniel Peitz and faces the weakest field he’s seen to date.

Race 6: Claiming $20,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $19,000

#4 Botero comes into this spot after missing out by a neck to His Giant on March 29. Fernando De La Cruz did a fantastic job of using him just enough to get position on the track. He doesn’t possess the best early speed but quick enough that he won’t be too far from the leaders. My top choice is the #9 Bump Bailey for Peter Miller. It’s very difficult for him to win if he’s not on the front end. Ramon Vasquez makes his debut aboard this 4-year-old as he looks to make the winners’ circle for the first time since his debut in 2019 at Santa Anita. He drops in class and is the pure speed, but he hasn’t found the winners’ circle with very few excuses. #10 Exultation may be in a great spot to pick up the pieces if someone challenges Bump Bailey early on. He does have some Oaklawn success with a second and a third in three career starts. Joe Talamo would be wise to keep him five-six lengths from Bump Bailey early on, otherwise he may be too far away to catch him in the stretch.

Race 7: Claiming $25,000-$20,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $28,000

My top choice comes from the Norman McKnight barn #5 Courting a Kiss. He took a major step up in class last time out facing Candy Cornell and Town Champ. In his previous races prior, he’s been on the lead and has been very difficult to beat. The last time he was in the claiming ranks, he won by over 5 lengths at Woodbine in 2019. #8 Coal Truth didn’t have his best effort last time out. He was well off the pace early and passed tired horses to finish fourth. Two starts back, he was five lengths back and wore down fellow runner in today’s race, Whiskey Echo. David Cohen gets back aboard, and a fast track should help this 5-year-old by Mineshaft. #10 Whenthedovescry is taking a big drop in class for Shea Stuart. Last race is a throw out as he went 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on a sloppy track. He is a sprinter who needs the lead late to hold on. His race on February 6 was a great performance at the allowance level going six furlongs. He should be on the front end with Courting a Kiss as he looks to wear down fellow runners in an expected pace duel.

Race 8: Allowance for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $61,000

#1 Road Test comes into this race on the heels of two straight wins. She takes a major step up in class today for Timothy Martin after running at the Waiver Claiming and Starter Optional Claiming levels. She likes Oaklawn and the inside post will give Alex Canchari plenty of options where to place her into the first turn. My top choice is the #3 Out of Trouble trained by Brad Cox. She had been running consistently on turf in 2019 and the early part of this year. She is by Into Mischief indicating the dirt pedigree is there for this 6-year-old mare. Cox has won at 26% with runners on the dirt going this distance in the last 365 days. She’s a bit of an unknown with her lack of dirt races but the connections and jockey make her easy to like. #4 Kiss More has really turned the page in 2020. She broke her maiden status on February 9 here at Oaklawn. Last time out, she ran a very respectable second to Subiaco, who’s proven to be a quality horse here at Oaklawn, at 21/1. This class is similar to the one in that race, but this field is not nearly as difficult. Stewart Elliot will look to have her on the front end early on.

Race 9: Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000 for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $61,000

This was one of the toughest legs in the Pick 5 sequence as I went three-deep taking a stand against a few of the top contenders in this field. #1 Lucky Betty won by open lengths in her third career start here at Oaklawn Park. William VanMeter gave his filly much more distance than her first two starts. She gets 8 1/2 furlongs again in this spot and is a very logical choice. Another runner coming off of her maiden special weight victory is #2 Seattle Slang. She looked like a completely different runner in her first start of 2020. She didn’t break all that well out of the gate, but gradually gained ground on the front runners, and cleared the field in the stretch. She will look for her second straight win for Steve Asmussen in 2020. My top choice in this race is #8 Auction Fever for David Fawkes. Like the first couple of runners I discussed, she enters this spot on a two-race win streak and much improved in 2020. She is very consistent and runs to her odds as her two victories came when she was the favorite. In her three defeats, she was 14/1 or higher and was not much of a factor. She also has beaten fellow runners in this field: Henny Fly, First Empress, and Elusive Ride.


$.50 PICK 5 (Races 6-10) – 1,4,8,12 / 4,9,10 / 5,8,10 / 1,3,4 / 1,2,8 – $162

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