July 16, 2024

Oaklawn Circles & Squares Analysis for Feb. 4

Cirlces & Squares for Oaklawn Park


In the cult movie world, February is known as Women in Horror month, perhaps a sign for #7 BABADOOOK in Thursday’s Arkansas-bred restricted claiming event. Looking at OptixPLOT, there is some contention for Babadoook in Quad I, though he holds an edge as a Square, with recency, and offers value. Morning line favorite #2 WEAST HILL is positioned almost identical on the PLOT, however, a big discrepancy in terms of recency as this nine-year-old gelding will have to overcome the 284-day layoff. Weast Hill has run off this type of extended layoff in the past and even has been able to win. However, those wins came earlier in his racing career (2016-17) and has not been as successful reaching the wire first in recent seasons and age has to be factored. While capable, the value is not there to support this older gelding off the layoff, especially with a solid value alternative. Babadoook will make his second start of the form cycle, and capable to improve with that pattern as he has shown in the past. He has potential upside coming from the December 22 race running slightly wide against the race flow at Mountaineer with the race shape slowing late.


#1 POTERYA is listed as 15-1 on the morning line and a longshot, perhaps more accurately a contender case can be made for him in this spot. Trainer Von Hemel will make the significant class change from Special Weight to maiden claiming, and for the first time in his career finds a field he stacks up with. That class move puts his OptixFIG, the 76 earned on debut at Churchill Downs and the 82 from his second start at Keeneland, in today’s OptixFIGRANGE. Those numbers not only are in RANGE, but also sit right in line with the others sitting favored on the morning line and likely to receive the bulk of public attention. It also has to be noted while the November 21 race sits below RANGE, that race has been very live with four next-out winners. The horses running back from that November 21 race at Churchill Downs are shown in the OptixGRID image below.

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