Emily Gullikson takes a look at the Oaklawn Park March 21 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
#6 BLINKERS finds a reasonable spot this afternoon, showing back up at the claiming condition after a couple of recent allowance races. Class was a major issue returning from the 195-day layoff on Feb. 5, which carried into a strong starter allowance here just two weeks ago. In addition to class, tactically she was not handled properly (TACTIC-) by the rider that afternoon, rushing up early and into a duel. A rider change from the March 6 event is in play with David Cabrera taking back over this afternoon.
The change in class should also assist #7 SHE’S FIRE AND ICE with the quick turnaround as she makes her second start of the Oaklawn Park meet. The fifth-place finish on March 7 was average (C+ OptixGRADE) for the claiming level, though she showed run in spots, and given the DROP today projects a move forward in this spot. The drop could see She’s Fire and Ice closer to the pace if needed, though should still take up her typical PC – Quad IV Square RunStyle. That off-the-pace run could “get the trip” given the “Sun” Contention along with five of the seven runners in this field sharing the E or EP RunStyle on OptixRPM.
#1 LONGNTALL has the foundation from her races this season to support a move forward with the changes she’s facing for trainer John Ortiz this afternoon. Longntall debuted in the slop back on Feb. 6, showing run making a wide move in that fourth-place finish. Another wide trip followed in her second start, and Longntall gave the impression she needed more ground (STRETCH) than the sprint distance offered. She will find the distance change this afternoon making her first start around two turns. With that change in distance also comes the change in class; the transition from maiden special weight to maiden claiming has Longntall’s current races in RANGE with others in this field, and being lightly raced, she’s still capable of making that move forward.
#4 SUBSTANTIAL holds a strong position on the Standard Plot as a Quad I/III Square and has a potential pace advantage as a result. His Surface/Distance position is not nearly as strong sitting as a Circle in Quad III; however it is crucial in this case to understand his sprint races that are recorded for the Plot were run back in 2019 as a juvenile, and he’s since progressed. The intention to cutback in distance and drop in class was in play back on Feb. 25; however, Substantial scratched that day (perhaps due to the rail draw) when listed at 3-1 on the morning line. A similar “second off” pattern with the route-to-sprint and allowance-to-claiming was made last fall and resulted in the Oct. 9 win at Keeneland and earning an 88 OptixFIG, a number in RANGE this afternoon.