A competitive and tricky race with lightly raced sophomore fillies, many making their first start of the season. There are layoffs to assess as well as changes with runners shipping in from the various circuits to compete. Looking at OptixPLOT, #4 MELTING SNOW looks to have a pace advantage as a Square in Quad I. There are positives in terms of form cycle as well as she will make her second start of the meet coming out of a much higher allowance race on January 24th faltering after dueling early with the eventual winner. She is upgraded here with that drop in class, which is shown on the Plot.
There is still some Contention (Sun) with runners in Quad I, as well as the majority of the field “bunching” up in the center of the Plot, a chasing type trip for most. The logical alternatives sit with the Amoss pair #3 IT’SFIFTYSHADETIME and #7 BENSON though perhaps some value concerns to consider. It’sfiftyshadetime is listed as the morning line favorite and while capable here, does not hold much of an edge in that role. She broke her maiden on debut at Indiana Grand on October 13th but it was a soft field on the day and the horses she met that afternoon have a combined 18 starts since without a win. She herself has yet to improve off that race and even pairing the debut 72 OptixFIG places here as more a fringe contender. Benson is tough to knock in terms of OptixPLOT. She broke her maiden on debut in early December with a favorable trip after breaking a step slow. There is some concern with the 68-days it has taken her to recover from that first start and also curious that given these connections as they show up here at Oaklawn Park rather than stay at the Fair Grounds, their home track.
#6 SHE’S MY RIDE sits in Quad IV and has the role of a “lone closer” according to the Plot. It would be preferred to see her as a Square, rather than a Circle, though perhaps some upside can be made for her this afternoon. Her first four starts were in open Special Weight company and had some subtle excuses in those races. She moved forward to win on December 13th her first start against maiden claiming at Hawthorne. The win was encouraging from her splitting horses and running inside, figures the deeper part of that course. The track there was listed as “muddy” though on the drier side of that rating to the visuals. She is on the softer side in terms of OptixFIG for this RANGE, though has been off for two-months and given the trips and class in her previous starts, as well as showing improvement another step forward could be in line for her this afternoon. Mason started off the meet a bit cold though has started to pick up some momentum lately as shown in the ROI V-Bar Comparison on OptixPLOT.