Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park April 10 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
Distance could prove an #8 IMPOSSIBLE TASK as he will again be asked to run this route of ground. In terms of the positives, he has improved with each start since coming back from the 427-day layoff and makes the third start of the cycle here. Along with this route distance, which remains suspect, Impossible Task is likely to face pace pressure according to OptixPLOT positioned in Quad I/III with six of the 11 runners in this field to the left of the y-axis. #2 SANTOS DUMONT could be the beneficiary today as he returns to make his second start of the meet and off a B OptixGRADE and place finish behind pacesetting winner Background on March 19th. His form returning from the layoff was a bit “dirty” and excusing his one-turn races and keying off the Oaklawn Park form from last season, he fit right into that allowance event. He will require to hold his form as well as take a slight step forward even as he has some form and pace positives in his corner.
The Carousel Stakes features a solid field of filly and mare sprinters though pace (see OptixPLOT below) could be the biggest hurdle for the competition trying to beat the favorite #4 FRANK’S ROCKETTE. A solid case can be made for #5 EDGEWAY and #6 CASUAL as these two fit on class (OptixGRADE), speed (OptixFIG in RANGE) and a current form shown in the Past 3 Runlines. Pace becomes the main factor in their chances against Frank’s Rockette as she holds consistent class and speed, which is paired with her EP running style. As a Square in lone Quad I position separated from the rest in this field, that advantage creating the “pace makes the race” scenario.
The bulk of the wagering support will land with #7 MIGHTY MISCHIEF and for good reason as he has recorded strong speed figures, both starts with OptixFIG on the high side of today’s RANGE. At a quick glance at the Past 3 Runlines, those numbers standout over the rest in this field and supported from a pace standpoint as a Large Square in Quad I. Perhaps under the radar and offering an alternative, #5 UPSTRIKER coming back from the layoff for Moquett. The race to key off of was his impressive, B+ OptixGRADE, debut last summer at Ellis Park. He earned an 85 OptixFIG for that effort and has yet to be in a position to pair or improve off that number and has the potential to do so here. His second start, the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) exposed him as a SPRINTER and given the “effort” and layoff that followed in the Nyquist Stakes, a key race, one can assume an issue kept him from competing that day. His local published work tab coming into this race has been consistent and up to the par from this barn where a top effort returning from the 155-day layoff is possible.
RACE 12 – Arkansas Derby (G1):
Returning Rebel (G2) winner #5 CONCERT TOUR presents as a logical favorite and the horse to beat this afternoon. He has been consistent in each of his three starts to date with subtle improvement in each start. His edge holds in each category and while he has been able to benefit from a favorable trip in each of his three starts to date, based on the Quad I Square position on OptixPLOT could land in another favorable trip this afternoon.
His main rival appears stablemate #3 HOZIER looking to improve once again this afternoon and coming back to Oaklawn Park following his place finish behind Concert Tour in the Rebel (G2) last month. Hozier has progressed with each start and shown a level of stamina (STRETCH) to handle the added ground this afternoon.
#2 CADDO RIVER seemed to be exposed in the Rebel (G2) last month and has to turn around his form with the quickness to continue at this stakes level. Tactically he should be used and allowed to show his early speed, a trip present on the Plot in Quad I for his best chance this afternoon. Geroux tried to rate off Concert Tour to no avail in the Rebel (G2) and seems unlikely given the result to try and rate again today. Pace pressure could also be felt by #1 SUPER STOCK as he makes his second start off the layoff and also returning from the Rebel (G2) a fourth place finish with a less than ideal trip. That trip with both TRAFFIC and TROUBLE came with a change in his running style as well taken off the pace rather than his preferred EP RunStyle, a likely revert back to that RunStyle with Santana taking over. Overall he is still a bit light in terms of speed (OptixFIG) and class (GRADES) for this level and a minor share looks to be the ceiling.
#4 GET HER NUMBER has yet to progress and while there is some upside as he makes his second start of the form cycle, overall he is below for this class and RANGE. #6 LAST SAMURAI also sits well below in those same categories. He is capable of upside and perhaps more potential on that front that Get Her Number, however this spot is a tough ask for him once again today. In terms of trip, it would not be a surprise to see the intent from jockey Jon Court to be more assertive this afternoon and attempt to show and press the pace, a change from his current OptixPLOT position as a Quad IV Circle.