RACE 4 – Oaklawn Park
A competitive starter allowance for older horses with the case to be made for many in this field. That scenario can create a wagering opportunity and will approach the race as such. Starting with OptixPLOT 2020 it is noted with the “Green” PlotFit, showing horses lining up along the diagonal (top left to bottom right) and with minimal changes from Standard (recent form) and Surface/Distance – how their running styles “fit” for today’s 8.5 furlong distance. In addition to the PlotFit there is a noted “Fire” Contention and paired with a higher 60 SpeedRate; that combination figures the pace to be both contested early and kept honest. This can be seen visually as well with at least five of the 10 runners position in Quad I and above the “Par Line.”
Starting with the Quad I runners #5 ERNIE BANKS (7-2) and #10 MOMENT (5-2) both listed as the top two shorter prices from today’s morning line and will be assessed as the “favorite.” They are positioned as Squares which is favorable and does show that in today’s field they have more finishing ability than their other Quad I rivals in #6 I WILL STAND and #7 ROARING FORK – both shown with tactical and positional speed though as Circles not as much kick late (lack of finish compared to others), something that looks to be essential for this race.
Given the pair of pace factors, the “Fire” and SpeedRate and even as Squares #5 ERNIE BANKS and #10 MOMENT will be put to the test from a pace standpoint and noted “soft favorites.” While they hold an edge over the Quad I “Circles” they are likely to find early pressure from #1 AROUND THE DIAL and #9 KENZOU’S RHYTHM in this field and where they are positioned also as Squares on the OptixPLOT makes their job as the favorite a lot tougher and factored in at what is expected to be shorter odds.
Breaking from the rail and coming out of sprint races, AROUND THE DIAL expects to be forwardly placed (Quad I) and to be a factor in that higher SpeedRate as shown on Standard. Certainly his speed figures (OptixFIG) and OptixGRADE fit at this class level; however, today’s pace is another hurdle altogether. Hard to see the 8-1 morning line stick for KENZOU’S RHYTHM after his most recent start (April 3) and obvious TROUBLE that afternoon. He has run consistently at this level (B- OptixGRADES) and capable to compete (OptixFIG in RANGE) once again; however , he is part of that “Contention” positioned in Quad I/III and that will have to be assessed in terms of value.
Given the pace scenario outlined to this point, #2 ROCKO’S WHEEL and #4 MESA SKYLINE are capable to “sit the trip” based on their respected positions as Squares on OptixPLOT2020. ROCKO’S WHEEL presents value and even contender status as he will return to this level following a BTL, “better than looked” run on March 28 here at Oaklawn Park. That afternoon he made a big MOVE from off the pace both against the track profile and race flow noting the slow opening half-mile. He earned a B- OptixGRADE for the effort despite the fourth-place finish, putting him right back into the mix here. MESA SKYLINE is a little softer on class despite also earning a B- OptixGRADE in his most recent start as noted it was in a slightly lower level of competition at the opening $10k claiming level. His OptixFIG also a bit soft in terms of where they fit with today’s OptixFIGRANGE; and while that could make things tough on the win end, with the projected pace is one that could pick up a share underneath.
#3 FULL OF RUN is positioned similar to ROCKO’S WHEEL and MESA SKYLINE though as a Circle lacks the same finishing ability as those two runners. With that said he is in good current form as noted in OptixNOTES with the recent B- OptixGRADE at this starter allowance and some positive keywords with the CLOSE and GALLOP+ as he stretches back out to a route this afternoon. Current form is similar for #8 SOLOMONIC and perhaps even upgraded with the B- OptixGRADE coming out of the higher starter allowance race back on April 5. As he makes his fourth start of the meet he has some upside not only from that most recent start, but from his first two races given the TROUBLE back in January and then following that race up in a sprint next out, a distance shorter than what seems to be his ideal. Capable to get overlooked based on connections and his recent finishing positions this season, he can offer value all around.