#1 CABOT makes his season debut back at Oaklawn Park and back with trainer Ron Moquett. Those two factors are worth taking a bit of a stab at a price in this competitive field of restricted claimers that, along with some subtle trips, will get him back to top form. Cabot started off his career here with Moquett in 2019 and had a solid season, especially when excusing his two starts against graded stakes company. After a 204-day layoff, Cabot returned for 2020 and changed barns to Steve Asmussen. Cabot was unable to finding his rhythm last season, though he had some excuse coming back off the layoff in the higher allowance group on March 29 followed by an 18-day turnaround when faltering as the favorite. He was claimed out of that race and another layoff followed before returning in October at Keeneland. He was involved in a contentious pace that afternoon, a race that set up horses from off the pace. Cabot landed in a similar race dynamic on November 11 at Churchill Downs and is a flow upgrade from that race. The winner of that event, Hop Kat has continued to roll on picking up back-to-back wins for Amoss on the Louisiana circuit. Cabot will return here under the same ownership group, though has that noted barn change to Moquett. He also finds an equipment change here with the blinkers off. Another change to look for on the track would be the removal of the front wraps, which were added in his two most recent starts. Since the barn change, Cabot has been working consistently, including a bullet out of the gate on December 28, and looks coming back off this break well-spotted here and does not come back with a suspicious drop either.
As noted, the competitive nature of this race and shown as much below on OptixPLOT as well as the Past 3 Runlines for the participants. Cabot will need some racing luck from the rail though is positioned well in Quad I, above the Par Line. #3 BLACKTOP LEGEND also a favorable Quad I Square position, though has a recent series of extended layoff lines that create some reservations here, especially as these connections tend to take a lot of wagering support. Hard to ignore #4 MO’S MOJO, based on the Plot. He holds solid form and class coming into this race, a fit this afternoon for Morse, a trainer that has sent out limited but live runners to start the meet. The big change for him will be the distance cutting back to a sprint from the recent series of route races.
A compact field of four-year-old fillies will contest this allowance, which has a clear morning line favorite with #2 JILTED BRIDE. In terms of class and speed figures, even from an OptixPLOT standpoint, she figures as the horse to beat. With that said, there are some reservations with her coming back from the layoff and into this spot. She started out her career sprinting and, after a pair of minor awards, broke her maiden in the third start. There was not much progression in those sprint races, and similar returning as a sophomore here at Oaklawn Park last season running a route of ground. She ran consistent throughout the 2020 Oaklawn season without much progression or excuse while settling for minor awards. Following the third place finish here on March 29, she was laid up 243 days before returning on November 27 at Churchill Downs. Asmussen brought her back in a sprint race and there was not much to knock finishing second there to She Can’t Sing. That said, visually wanted to see more from her, and like last season, still does not quite show that will to win. While this spot certainly should allow her the best chance to win, her character flaw might open the race up for an alternative.
#5 AUCTION FEVER is interesting in this spot and makes her first start off the claim for Contreras. The placement is ambitious stepping back up to this higher allowance level from the claiming event she was picked up out of. That said, Auction Fever has some allowance experience and racing at a similar level to Jilted Bride here last spring. At that time, there was not much between them in terms of OptixGRADE and OptixFIG for their route racing season with Auction Fever showing some progress before the June layoff. Auction Fever will have to address class as well as get back to form here after a couple subpar (C OptixGRADE) efforts in her most recent starts. There is some potential upside for her to move forward as she had been running against the dynamics in those November races. Perhaps the return to Oaklawn, a track she has run well over in the past, along with some positive intent by her new connections, will be just the key to get her back to competitive ways. As Jilted Bride has some edge over this field, should she falter, the rest of the group is evenly matched, with Auction Fever right in the mix.