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We are here! Arkansas Derby (G1) weekend officially kicks off with a 10-race Friday card, highlighted by the Fantasy Stakes (G3). I’ve decided to write a brief analysis on the Early Pick 4, as the Magic Mike Show has you covered with the back half of the card.
Best of luck!
Race 1: Claiming $8,000 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $17,500
#6 C P Quality comes out of a very quality race back on April 11 here at Oaklawn Park. Albeit against slight less, she ranged up three-wide to pass horses around the far turn. She should get a fast track today, where she performs admirably better, and the early speed fits her grind-it-out running style perfectly. My top choice was the winner of that race, #9 Destiny’s Love, who will be looking for her third straight win. She makes her first start for Robertino Diodoro after getting claimed out of the Ingrid Mason barn. This is a slight step up in class, but she is the horse to beat. #10 Willow Moon is the definition of consistency. In her last two starts, she’s lost by a neck and a nose. I don’t think she will be anywhere near the 10/1 morning-line odds at post-time, but if she is, she will have tremendous value.
Race 2: Claiming $16,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $18,200
My top choice in this spot comes from the rail #1 So Alive. He makes his Oaklawn Park debut for Brad Cox in this spot. He’s faced much better, including Pirate’s Punch and By My Standards, who is entered for the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on Saturday. For a horse with a lack of early speed, the rail isn’t the worst spot to be. #5 Praetorian ran in this class last time out and finished second to Luck of the Draw. He makes his return to the Robertino Diodoro for the first time since getting claimed out of his barn back in May 2019. He finishes in the money consistently and is a logical choice here. #11 Tez finished fourth in his Oaklawn debut on April 10 but ran an impressive race. He gets an extra 1/2-furlong today and should be able to take full advantage as he takes a big drop in class for Tom Amoss.
Race 3: Allowance for Arkansas-bred fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $61,000
This race has one standout, and that’s #7 The Mary Rose. She has been a different horse in 2020, accumulating two seconds and a first-place finish in four starts. Her most recent effort was a second-place finish in the Rainbow Miss Stakes on April 17. Had she not been boxed in at the top of the stretch, she would’ve passed Sekani in the stretch with ease. There’s plenty of speed in this group and The Mary Rose has the heart and desire to pass this group late.
Race 4: Claiming $8,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $17,500
This is the toughest race in this sequence. I don’t have a very strong opinion, so I spread, but #6 Hinton makes the most sense on top. In his last effort, he moved too early, which cost him the race. He gets Charles Roberts aboard for the first time, marking his 10th start this meet riding for Ingrid Mason’s barn. Their jockey/trainer combination has finished in the money five of nine times with a $5.64 ROI. I also used #1 Bubbas Dixie, #8 Dapper Jack, #9 Satellite, #10 Candy My Boy, and #11 Parched.
$.50 PICK 4 (Races 1-4) – 6,9,10 / 1,5,11 / 7 / 1,6,8,9,10,11 = $27
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