by EMILY GULLIKSON
Opening Day at Oaklawn Park presents the first stakes race for 3-year-old runners and a likely prep for many of the graded stakes (i.e. Kentucky Derby points races) later this meet. At this time of year development is key and something to keep in mind with the PLOT as many are still lightly raced and unproven at the route distance.
Even with the “red” PlotFit the pace expects to be honest and looking at the OptixPLOT trends in route races with a higher SpeedRate and Contention, off the pace runners can get the right setup over this course and distance.
Emily’s Optix data anlysis
#1 LYKAN from the rail does expect to show early speed (Quad I Circle) and even with the OptixNOTE projection Improve, there is a lot for him to make up in terms of OptixFIG. Distance is also a concern not only from lacking experience but physically as well.
#2 SILVER PROSPECTOR respect as the Quad I Square and to his class earning the B OptixGrade and win in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last out. He did have the right ride and trip over that course, which did seem to help that afternoon at Churchill Downs. Overall there is not much to knock as he fits on class, speed (OptixFIG) and pace.
#3 SHARED SENSE is still a maiden he has that “developing” type potential to him. On OptixFIG with a race in today’s FIGRANGE and B OptixGRADE in his maiden run back on November 8. He gave a good effort in his most recent trip and with some adversity behind the lone winner. The experience around two turns should benefit him, though still has a test here today.
#4 NUCKY’s Grade 1 win should come with the asterisk considering the trouble of that race with two main rivals eliminated from competition. Since that race he has failed to prove himself and the recent low OptixFIG and C Grades are not inspiring.
#5 JUNGLE RUNNER was no match for his stablemate SHOPLIFTED last out in the Springboard Mile running an even race for the deeper underneath spots. His Quad IV Square position on the Plot suggests he can again battle for the minors, though his OptixFIG are consistently well below the FIGRANGE for this type of race.
#6 GOLD STREET as his Quad I Square (Standard) suggests will be a major presence in the pace scenario and for his challengers looking to take up a spot on the early lead. While he has no real knocks to this point (OptixFig in range, no “Red” all Green/Black in his Grid) this will still be his first test around two turns and beyond 6 furlongs. His speed makes him a threat on the front end, but this will be a big test for stamina.
#7 SHOPLIFTED was unable to find himself at Santa Anita, but he quickly rebounded shipping back out of California and turning in the win last month at Remington Park in the Springboard Mile. He had shown run this summer at Saratoga, and even in his Grade 1 races at Santa Anita, projecting that type of turnaround. His effort in the Springboard Mile credited with the B+ OptixGrade and finishing in a photo for the win with a nice horse with the top three finishers well clear of the field. His position as a Quad II Square on both Standard and Surface/Distance projects favorably for this race shape. A legit contender.
#8 LYNN’S MAP scratched out the Lecomte (G3) last week (post 14) Casse will reroute here and shows up as good fit in this stakes event. He follows the pattern of an improving type taking a step forward with each race and with the associated added distance. Positioned in Quad III as a Square can often be a tricky read in terms of trip, though is a position on the Plot that performs relatively well on this course with a positive Surface/Distance ROI.
#9 THREE TECHNIQUES he is a bit of a tricky read in here as there are clear factors that standout, and others that remain questionable. On OptixPLOT he projects to sit a favorable tracking trip from Quad II with the Square suggesting finishing ability, however that is unknown for this Surface/Distance and can be tough to translate what trip he will receive stretching out as an off-the-pace sprinter. His OptixFig from Saratoga standout and on the higher end of the FIGRANGE, still those races both were sprinting. His recent OptixFig came up light dominating a small, weak field at Aqueduct on November 20, though should be noted he was shut down late and not asked to finish jogging clear of his rivals. Personal note, that is not something I prefer to see especially with younger horses when finishing races is key even when clear – as that is not always going to be the case.
- Key #7 SHOPLIFTED and #8 LYNN’S MAP
- Exotic Key with #3 SHARED SENSE (Value) and #2 SILVER PROSPECTOR (Board)