Emily Gullikson analyzes the Oaklawn Park April 3 card and provides her OptixEQ analysis.
#10 MOONSHINE PRINCESS will get a mention here as she was given notation in the April 2 Circles and Squares Special Weight event on Friday. While she has some upside based on her races and trips to move forward, in terms of class this maiden claiming spot might be the better fit for her and a calculated move by Morse entering in both events. As the OptixPLOT positions horses in relation to each other, it might be of interest to pull up the Circles and Squares for Friday and compare the two OptixPLOT to see the difference in Plot position and shape for Moonshine Princess with the significant class change.
The “Green” PlotFit suggests the pace is fairly straightforward, though does have some subtleties that are worth exploring further. The pace is mildly contentious “Sun” though paired with a low SpeedRate. The primary pacesetters, the Quad I runners, could have an advantage in this case, though have some form concerns here as well.
#4 NEWS FLASH projects to set the pace and get attention here off the “best of the speed” win and the speed figure earned in that March 20 winning effort. As shown in OptixNOTES the REGRESS Projection was recorded and likely to factor here with just a 14-day rest between starts. That could allow for #5 DRILL’S LI’L MAN to have a pace edge here. There is upside from his Feb. 27 WIDE and TROUBLE trip, though does have to translate his Laurel OptixFIG to compete outside of Maryland, something that is not always a given. #2 WILLS DEFENCE could try to keep pace here though is below on OptixFIG and GRADE for the class level and also below in terms of OptixPLOT as a Quad III Circle.
Regression also looks in play for #1 UNDERCOVER LOVER coming back this afternoon off a 94 OptixFIG top just two weeks ago. He was sitting on that improved race making his third start of the form cycle and rebounding after a HARD race coming off the layoff in January and not asked for run (NO PUSH) after the slow start SLOG on March 4. #3 CABOT is holding his form as of late and turned in a sneaky good CLOSE on the turf last month at Sam Houston. Class-wise this is more of a lateral move for him rather than the drop it would appear on paper. His current form fits at this level and lacks any “red keywords” which make him a logical contender-type returning here for Moquett.
#8 BEST YOU EVER SEEN has a similar form pattern to Cabot, lacking “red” in his Past 3 Runlines with OptixFIG in RANGE to present as competitive first off the claim this afternoon. He should offer value of the pair with that barn change this afternoon. Similar positive form and value projected for #7 PADDY O’DINI based on his Past 3 Runlines and position Square in the center of the Plot. Tactics will be key for this duo based on their Plot position as they will need to keep contact with the other Quad I/II runners to avoid being left with too much to do late with this lower SpeedRate. That lower SpeedRate does not benefit #6 HERE COMES DOC, a confirmed closer that will be running on late though does not seem this is the right race shape (or class with OptixFIG well below RANGE) for a winning run today.
This starter allowance event features a group of evenly matched runners where form and trip should be the required advantage to win, and would not concede this race to a short price. Morning-line favorite #7 SAINTSATION will show up at Oaklawn Park following a place effort and a top 87 OptixFIG in her most recent start at Fair Grounds. While capable off that effort and based on her position on the Plot, there are still value concerns for this mile distance and trip with the “Sun” Contention and SpeedRate stepping up in class shipping in off the layoff today. The Quad I Contention includes #1 INTO VICTORY showing up off a pair of wins and a career top last out also stepping up in class here today. Pace pressure also includes #2 CREATIVE LEGACY taking on winners for the first time with some value concerns based on her morning line with OptixFIG on the lower end of today’s RANGE, and #5 LETTERS TO BELLE well below RANGE.
#9 FIRST EMPRESS is also included in that Quad I first flight of runners though could offer value and some upside making her second start of the meet and four-year-old season, angles to present upside. Claimed out of that race she will show up here for Joseph Martin still looking to get on track this meet and could be the runner to turn things around. The Feb. 26 event already produced a next-out winner and others to improve their speed figures from that race.
Quad II runners #4 DUTCH TREAT and #8 FLASHY BIZ should find a favorable trip tracking that first flight and securing first run. Both mares are capable off their current form and OptixFIG to compete at this level, and while upgraded on the Surface/Distance Plot, are not the most reliable in terms of a “winning” race at this route distance. That has to be considered in terms of value for play.
There is some positive intent with #3 MALIBU MARLEE off her recent trips (OptixNOTES in Past 3 Runlines) to show up this afternoon with a subtle class drop and significant rider change. While she will require the right pace and trip from Quad IV, the upgrades from those subtle changes along with the honest 46 SpeedRate could be the right adjustments to pick up the win today. It would be a positive sign this afternoon to see the front wraps removed on #6 FLATOUTANDFOXY, wraps that were added for the first time in her career on Feb. 25. She will race back on Lasix this afternoon making her third start of the form cycle and protected once again could be upgraded, especially with the front wrap removal.
RACE 11 – Fantasy Stakes (G3)
#6 SUN PATH was forced to rate and race in traffic last month in the Honeybee (G3), playing a role in her show finish. As shown on OptixPLOT today, she expects and projects to track right off the pacesetters — #2 AVA’S GRACE stretching out in distance and #3 SYLVIA Q as a Large Square in Quad I. That trip will be key for her to establish position and look to take first run on her main rival #7 PAULINE’S PEARL and even her Brad Cox-trained stablemate #4 COACH. Coach has not progressed off her juvenile races and with OptixFIG on the lower end of RANGE, as well as the B-/C+ OptixGRADES a cut below on Class for the graded stakes level. Pauline’s Pearl has progressed this season and showed that improvement to earn a B- OptixGRADE with the place finish in the Honeybee, also with a TRAFFIC trip behind front-running winner, and main contender in this filly division, Will’s Secret. Sun Path and Pauline’s Pearl stand out in this group, backed up by the Plot and no real surprise there based on the morning line.
#9 PROVERB looks pointed to this meet and back at Oaklawn Park for California-based connections and trainer Richard Baltas. Along with that positive intent to run at this meet, Proverb fits this race condition with OptixFIG in RANGE and a favorable pace scenario this afternoon positioned well in Quad I both on Standard and Surface/Distance. The Standard Plot shows contention (Fire) and perhaps even a bunched-up field, a pace scenario that was discussed this week on the Jason Beem podcast to set up for a closer type of runner. #3 MURALIST fits that description and takes this allowance race over the 12-furlong Temperence Hill S. (trainer scratch) back on March 13. Muralist has upside from his two Oaklawn Park starts this season keying off the BTL (better than looked) fifth-place finish on Jan. 29 and followed up with a near excuse given the WEATHER conditions and heavy FOG in the Feb. 27 event. #5 TRIDENT HIT is also capable to land that same off-the-pace trip, though will present more “obvious” to the public based on his races this season. His form is tough to knock, though perhaps could have peaked in his form cycle with the “double-top” coming back for 2021 and showing back up today with just 21 days from his most recent start with the step up in class to the N2X condition.