I gave Will Rogers Downs my very best effort but I was one leg away from making my debut a successful one! We are back at one of my favorite tracks, Oaklawn Park. Today’s Pick 5 sequence has the ability to be massive and I have plenty of coverage across the board with no singles on the card!
Best of luck!
Race 5: Maiden Claiming $20,000 for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $18,000
This is one of the tougher races on the Pick 5 ticket. I’ll start with #2 Runtech who was entered in the same class this past Sunday but was scratched as an Also Eligible. He makes his debut for Chris Richard who is 2/4 with runners at the Maiden Claiming level. He’s also faced much better in the past with the likes of Scabbard and Andesite. This will be the easiest level he’s faced to date. #5 Hidden Promise has showed speed his last two times out on the track. He belongs at this level and ran second the last time he competed in the same class on February 14. Caribbean has been a productive runner at Oaklawn Park and was much better than Hidden Promise. His last race was a step up in class on a sloppy racetrack. His effort in that race is no indication on how he’ll look in this spot. My top choice will start on the far outside, #12 Kinetic Swagger. The outside post is a concern, but he’s shown the ability to break well out of the gate and position himself well early on. Joe Talamo is one of the best in the business and should use that early speed to his advantage as he looks to break his maiden status in his 10th career start.
Race 6: Waiver Claiming $50,000-$40,000 for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $37,000
#1 Davidic Line has thrived under Paul Holthus as of late. Since winning his first race at Churchill Downs late in 2019, he’s gotten better and better. The race on February 15 here at Oaklawn was impressive, as he got stuck in traffic managing to finish a well-placed second. He tends to find his best kick late and should use that ability as this field has a ton of speedballs. One of the Brad Cox runners that is dangerous here is #2 River Finn. He has looked better on turf in his racing career, but his morning works indicate this horse will perform better on the dirt this time around. His workout on March 21 at the Fair Grounds was superb going 4 furlongs in :47.20. He’s by Pioneer of the Nile, and no one is better in the country than Brad Cox getting success from his runners when they go from turf to dirt. My top choice is the Mike Maker trained #4 Artemus Eagle. He’s a very versatile runner who’s shown the ability to close and get the lead. Martin Garcia might have his hand forced with the other top speed in the field taking him to the back of the field. The last time he ran on a dirt surface (non-artificial), he won by multiple lengths at Keeneland on October 25 of last year.
Race 7: Maiden Claiming $20,000 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $18,000
Jerry Hollendorfer took over #1 C’Est Mardi in her last race, and there were obvious signs of improvement. She was four-wide the entire race which cost her in the end. The eventual winner Subiaco and second-place runner, Lady McKenzie, are much better than what she will face today. Ron Moquett enters #10 Illusionista on the dirt for the first time after being entered in two straight turf races. In her debut, she was forced on the dirt after all the races on that day were taken off the turf. She was six-wide in the backstretch and lost the lead at the wire to Wood Bee. She is by Magician who was a fantastic turf runner, which explains Moquett’s thinking. Illusionista will be tough to beat today as the dirt looks to be her preferred surface. #11 Gypsy Wind is my top choice for Larry Jones who showed a willingness to close in her debut. She was four-wide into the far turn and finished a game fourth on a sloppy track. She is the best proven closer in this group and will be tough to keep out of the winners’ circle if there’s pace up front.
Race 8: Allowance for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $61,000
#1 Tuggle ran a winning race last time out for Jeremiah Englehart on February 23 here at Oaklawn Park. David Cohen took up the rail in the backstretch and maintained the lead the entire way but got caught at the wire. Through five career starts, he’s been miles better on dirt and should use his speed from the rail try and put away his competitors immediately. Another speedster in here from the Steve Asmussen barn is #3 Town Champ. Like Tuggle, he needs the lead to run his best race. He’s flourished under Asmussen winning 2/3 races under his control. Special Reserve at 22/1 battled Town Champ last time out and pushed him to a :21.71 first quarter. Ricardo Santana Jr would probably like to have that ride back as he looks to do a better job rating Town Champ this time around. #2 Union Ride makes his debut for Robertino Diodoro after being under Hector Palma’s supervision. Union Ride will also make his first start in 2020 which makes him a bit of an unknown. Diodoro’s stats off long layoffs are impeccable making Union Ride a major contender.
Race 9: Maiden Claiming $50,000 for 3-year-old fillies going 6 furlongs on the dirt
#8 Luminaire is making her first start for David Fawkes after being trained by Steve Margolis. Fawkes is winning at 23% in his runners’ first starts entered in for a tag in the last 365 days. She will be very tough to beat as she drops in class. It’s not often you see a Mike Maker first timer at 12/1 on the morning line. #1 Money Well Spent has not been talked about much but she’s run well in the mornings and Maker has good numbers with runners at the Maiden Claiming level. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this filly go off around 6/1-8/1 at post-time. My top choice is #11 Readyformycloseup for Steve Asmussen. In her debut she stumbled out of the gate affecting her ability to get into the race. In her most recent start, she was four-wide into the turn and got outkicked for second. Ain’t No Elmers won that race and is now 2/2 in her career. Readyformycloseup will be the favorite and is the filly to beat.
$0.50 PICK 5 (Races 5-9) – 2,5,12 / 1,2,4,8 / 1,10,11 / 1,2,3 / 1,8,11 – $162