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I want to give a shoutout to the Racing Dudes team for putting out a great Apple Blossom Guide on Saturday. There were some great races and the guide gave out a ton of winning tickets and insight to hit 10 of the 11 races, including top choices Whitmore and Ce Ce. It’s just one of many great products that the website has to offer on a daily basis. Today’s card at Oaklawn is extremely competitive and Races 6-10 will be a great Pick 5 sequence as we try to end the weekend in the positive!
Best of luck!
Races 6: Claiming $8,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $17,500
Karl Broberg brought #5 Burciaga back to the track after a three-month layoff. He broke sharply out of the gate for David Cohen and ran a well-placed fourth. Rocky’s Warrior was a 4/5 favorite on that day, setting incredibly quick fractions early on. Burciaga should fare much better in his second race off the layoff. #8 Here’s Carlos hasn’t had much luck in 2020. Since the beginning of the calendar year, he’s run on four straight muddy/sloppy tracks. He also was 10/1 or higher in all of those starts. This drop down in class will help break his run of poor form. My top choice is the #11 Guska Mon Shoes for Randy Morse. He’s one of the few in here with tactical speed, giving him a major advantage. He also is a fan of Oaklawn Park, winning 9 of his 31 career efforts here, and should be the post-time favorite.
Race 7: Starter Allowance for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $25,000
#1 Dack Janiel’s has faced some impressive runners in his career. In the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) two starts back, he lost to Field Pass and Invader. In his last start here at Oaklawn Park just over a week ago, he ran into Pneumatic, who is trending upward. He gets the rail for the third race in a row and should enjoy this Starter Allowance group much better. #6 Jay Vee Bee needs a hot pace to run into. Tyler Baze took him back early last time out, as he lacked early pace. He may need more than the 8 1/2 furlongs he’s been getting, but he finishes in the money on a consistent basis and is a must-use on all tickets. As a post-time favorite, #10 Oro De Tejano failed to fire on April 10, finishing fifth. Robertino Diodoro protects this 4-year-old by Munnings, putting him at the Starter Allowance level. He is versatile but Orlando Mojica will need to use him early to position him well into the first turn.
Race 8: Starter Allowance for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $35,000
#1 Jewel Thief could easily be 4-for-4 in her career had she not battled with Misty Blue in two of those efforts. She made one start in her 2-year-old campaign and won going away. In 2020, she’s run very well for Brad Cox, finishing second twice and winning last time out. Fernando De La Cruz is a aboard for the first time and certainly will send her to the front in an attempt to establish the lead. #3 Cherished will be making her third start here at Oaklawn Park since coming to the Steve Asmussen barn. She dominated in her last start, winning by over 4 lengths. She does step up in class but has every right to, especially off her last performance. My top choice is the #4 First Alternate, who is owned and trained by Don Von Hemel. It’s always a positive when the trainer owns the horse, especially when they have the stats to match. Stewart Elliot rode this horse two starts back and almost caught Full of Grace at the wire. In her last start, she ran into Getridofwhatailesu. She does have a knack for getting caught wide, so Elliot might position her just off the pace on the rail to avoid that problem. #9 Whimsical Muse is one of the great unknowns in this spot. She’s only run on the dirt one time and that was due to the race getting taken off the turf. Prior to Tom Amoss getting his hands on her, she consistently ran on the dirt for Eddie Kenneally. This is a pure hunch play for me, as I don’t know what to expect from her Fair Grounds form as she steps up in class. One thing we do know is the Amoss/Talamo combination is deadly (17%) and I can’t afford to have her beat me.
Race 9: Allowance Optional Claiming $75,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 1/6 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $63,000
I had a really tough time finding a runner in this field that stood out. I tried to give myself as much coverage as possible, starting with #2 Two Thirty Five. Richard Baltas normally would’ve had him running at Santa Anita but was forced to ship to Arkansas. He has all the back class and should enjoy facing a softer field. #8 My Sixth Sense takes a step up in class for Steve Hobby, who has been white-hot at Oaklawn Park (6 for 14). My Sixth Sense has won four of his last five races dating back to the end of his 2019 campaign. Martin Garcia has won on five of six mounts for Hobby, including two on My Sixth Sense. Watch out for this 4-year-old by Street Sense as he looks for his second straight win. Like Two Thirty Five, #9 Dr. Dorr makes his Oaklawn debut. He has been facing much better in graded stakes out in California but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since 2018. He has a ton of talent, but Baffert shipping him to find a race and finding his best distance in the process makes me somewhat hesitant. He has more than enough talent to win this race but there are a lot of question marks. I’ll admit, #12 Kershaw is probably going to have a tough time in this spot. He won going away in his only start in 2020 at Santa Anita on February 23. That start was his first in over eight months. Phil D’Amato is one of the best in the game and must see something in him that he likes. He was entered in the Oaklawn Mile last weekend but was scratched. The post position isn’t great, but David Cohen will have plenty of time to position him before the first turn.
Race 10: Maiden Special Weight for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $60,000
This is by far the biggest race of the sequence because I’ve singled #12 Merneith for Bob Baffert. By American Pharoah, she was purchased for $600,000 and has run two great races, getting the lead early but failing to hold on. None of the horses with prior race experience in here have the ability to keep up with her early on. It would take a massive effort from one of the first-timers to knock her off. I’d be completely shocked to see her not be odds on at post-time, somewhere in the 3/5-4/5 range. For a full race preview, check out Curtis “Magic” Kalleward’s article.
$.50 PICK 5 (Races 6-10) – 5,8,11 / 1,4,6,10 / 1,3,4,9 / 2,8,9,12 / 12 – $96
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