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Friday’s card has one of the best allowance/optional claiming races that we have seen in 2020, but there are plenty of great races prior to it (race 10) and a great Pick 5 sequence to match. Can we get the first four legs and watch No Parole romp back in action? Or will another runner have something to say and upset the Tom Amoss trainee? Find out as we look to kick off the weekend in the green!
Best of luck!
Race 6: Claiming $6,250 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $17,000
#1 Kalliste Rose makes her third start for Tom Amoss in 2020. The last time she was in this class, she won going away on a muddy track, February 20, here at Oaklawn. She faced much better in her next two starts at the $12,500 and $10,000 levels. She gets back to the class that suits her best and should be one of the top contenders here. #4 Lippy makes her second career start at Oaklawn after shipping from California. She had high expectations in 2018 when she won two of her first three races. She was in way over her head in 2019 running in local stakes races at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Golden Gate Fields. This is a major drop in class for the Doug O’Neill trainee as she gets back to a fast dirt track. #5 Louise the Laser is my top choice for Federico Villafranco. She is a 7-year-old mare with 44 career starts under her belt. She’s run admirably at Oaklawn Park with a second and two thirds in three starts. She does have early speed and Ricardo Santana Jr. will look to go gate-to-wire with her on the front end.
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $60,000
#4 Golden Notion has competed against tough competitors in his four career races, facing the likes of Pyron, Landeskog, Super Comet and Wild Popit. He was a favorite in three of those four and had perfect opportunities to win all of them. He tends to find himself wide around the far turn, making it very difficult to have anything late in the stretch. This is the softest field he has faced to date and is a major player here. My top choice is #8 Ragtime Blues for Bob Baffert. This 3-year-old colt was purchased for $500,000 as a yearling in 2018. He performed very well in his debut at Los Alamitos in September of last year. At 3/5 he finished a game second by 3 lengths. He will be a short price in this spot as he looks to win in his second career start.
Race 8: Starter Allowance for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $35,000
This was by far the toughest leg in the Pick 5 sequence. Starter Allowance races are one of my favorites to watch especially here at Oaklawn. I went five-deep in this race, but my top choice is #1 New Colossus for the Karl Broberg barn. Dirt sprints are fascinating due to the nature of the race and the speed duel that usually follows. There will be early pace from the rest of this field, setting up New Colossus to storm home in the stretch. Luis Quinonez was aboard when he closed late at a similar level two starts back here at Oaklawn on March 21. I like him so much that if you wanted a cheaper ticket, you could single him here. However, I also used #2 Hidden Ruler, #5 Impressed, #9 Julius, and #10 Morning Snow.
Race 9: Allowance Optional Claiming 40,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $ 62,000
#1 Strike That is one of my favorite horses here at Oaklawn Park. Since he made his way to Oaklawn in 2020, he’s gotten better and better. He’s shown the ability to come off the pace as he did two and three races back and has won being on the lead as he showed in his last start. This is the type of horse bettors feel safe about putting their money on. #2 Pete’s Play Call is in an interesting position in this race. He tends to run his best races when he comes from behind, but he might not have the ability to do so in this race. Last time out, he won on the lead at the Waiver Claiming $40,000 level. Martin Garcia will look to do the same to stay close to Strike That and the other speed runners up front. #5 Volatile will make his 2020 debut his Oaklawn debut here in this spot. Ricardo Santana Jr. will be aboard again for this 4-year-old colt by Violence. He tends to struggle out of the gate which leads to him coming from off the pace. His gate struggles have not hindered his performances to date, as he looks to make his Oaklawn debut a winning one.
Race 10: Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000 for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $61,000
My top choice in this field is #1 No Parole for Amoss. He got his first real test in the Rebel Stakes (G2) on March 14 here at Oaklawn Park. He finished last but there were a few excuses on that day. It was a sloppy track against horses that were much better, making it difficult to get the lead against a runner like Nadal. It’s close to a sure bet for him to have the lead today, which will make him very tough to beat. #2 American Butterfly is the best closer in this group, making him a viable candidate. No Parole is the quickest of this group, but he should be tested early on. American Butterfly’s best chance would be for a pace duel to ensue early on.
$.50 PICK 5 (Races 6-10) – 1,4,5 / 4,8 / 1,2,5,9,10 / 1,2,5 / 1,2,9 – $135
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