July 16, 2024

Oaklawn Circles & Squares Analysis for Jan. 29

Cirlces & Squares for Oaklawn Park


A solid, competitive allowance for older horses, we’ll look for some value assessing morning line favorite #6 THE SOUND. As shown on OptixPLOT below, he is positioned in Quad I, as a Square, a position that can suggest a strong pace advantage; and indeed, without pressure, he could be tough on the front end. However, the pace picture could be a bit deeper than it appears and worth taking a deeper dive with the “Red” PlotFit.

Connections for The Sound (trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux) will also likely play a role taking wagering support here and likely to be favored at post time. The Sound holds a solid record coming into this race with back-to-back wins and OptixFIG sitting in RANGE for this event. This will be his first start around two turns and will be crucial here based on his visuals to secure that pace advantage in order to win.

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Physically he does not stand out as one that has that class two-turn type though capable enough for today, if given the right pace scenario. The Sound has been effective with that “LONE” trip, a tactic likely used here to continue on his current run. With that said, there are others in this field capable to press him, and in that case The Sound could become vulnerable at a short price.

While there is a light (Snowflake) Quad I, #3 MO MOSA positioned as a Square in Quad III, has enough tactical speed to the first call in order to keep pace and pressure on The Sound. Mo Mosa draws inside of The Sound, and with Martin Garcia aboard this afternoon, likely to see them aggressive for the lead out of the gate. The recent NO_FINISH on Mo Mosa and lighter OptixFIG make him a fringe contender, slight upgrade as Maker horses have been firing this meet. Still Mo Mosa could see him primary role in this race as one of a pace pest to The Sound.

#8 WARRIOR’S MAP is shown as an “E” in terms of RunStyle despite his Plot position in Quad II. Warrior’s Map is not the most consistent on the track, and that is factored into his Quad II position, though noting his most successful races have been on the front end, and could see that approach, even if not quite good enough here, to at least try for the early lead here.

Dean Martini
Dean Martini wins the Ohio Derby
(J.J. Zamaiko Photography)

#4 DEAN MARTINI has tactical speed in his own right and positioned on Standard (current form) to track right off The Sound (Quad I Square) as he returns to the two-turn distance. Dean Martini fits solidly in this spot with his Plot position (pace), OptixFIG in RANGE (speed) for this allowance level (class), and holds current form (lack of Red) in his Past 3 Runlines.

#5 WHAT A COUNTRY projects a similar tracking trip to Dean Martini on OptixPLOT, though not quite as much finishing (Circle) ability. He has some upside making his Oaklawn return this afternoon coming back off the 86-day layoff for trainer Gary Hartlage. He would need a career best to win this afternoon, more likely to hold value for a minor share.

Value sits with #2 MURALIST in this spot, as he gets the much needed “shorter” distance as projected in OptixNOTES and some class relief as well exiting the stakes level. His current OptixFIG sit above RANGE, though should note those numbers posted at the “marathon” type distances. With that said, his Grades hold up for that stakes level, especially the B- OptixGRADE from the Tokyo City (G3) back at Santa Anita.

He had a sneaky trip that afternoon with the ability to improve; and similar effort with the trouble trip in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) on the Friday Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland. This will be his second start of the form cycle and should note he worked a solid half-mile on Saturday morning here at Oaklawn Park for the new connections.

Connections could see #9 JUNGLE RUNNER get some attention here as suggested based on his morning line, though looks an underlay if that is the case as he has not run a race fast enough to compete this afternoon. Some upside could be projected as he does return here to make his 4-year-old debut (potential upside on that front) though would need to come back today as a completely different horse to be considered a contender.

Similar can be said for #7 GREAT FACES as he is on slower side for today’s event. He could compete in the right spot, perhaps to see some class relief for him going forward this meet. A bit of an longshot, #1 MAKE NOISE does hold a 93 OptixFIG to make him competitive in this spot. There are still overall class concerns and perhaps the key to offer some value underneath as he should be able to sit a good trip drawn inside, saving ground with some positional speed and finish as a Quad III Square.

I appreciate the patience reading through this analysis. I will try to be as efficient as possible with these races, though is important as this analysis details to look at the horse race as a whole, not as individual parts – a habit we can all fall into as horseplayers. As of now the plan is to livestream during the Oaklawn card; all are welcome with respect to one another into the community to chat on Twitch. The link: Twitch.tv/Mayhemily17

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