RACE 9 – SMARTY JONES STAKES:
The first local stakes race for the three-year-old runners of the Oaklawn Park season does not come up light and will feature a full field in the Smarty Jones. The “Red” PlotFit is fitting in this case with many stretching out in distance and others shipping in making their first local start over this course. Trip will be key however that is tough to decipher at this point (Red PlotFit) with a shift in the handicapping emphasis leaning more on class (Grades), Speed (OptixFIG), and Form (Keywords) in this scenario.
#1 DASH ATTACK was able to benefit from proper handling (TACTIC+) breaking his maiden and overcoming a slow start (SLOG) on debut. He earned a solid 91 OptixFIG that stacks up in RANGE for today’s event. He will be tested as this race comes up just 27-days following the debut (Form) and will likely be required to pair efforts to make himself a contender. Trip will also be key drawing the rail and keying off the first start where breaking slow (SLOG) is possible.
#2 ALL IN SYNC is one of those new faces that will be making his Oaklawn Park debut as well as first start around two turns. He is a progressive type, improving OptixFIG and GRADE, in each start and physically should not have an issue with today’s mile distance. The configuration and his natural early speed should see Santana take up the inside speed role and worth paying attention to the track profile in the earlier races to perhaps upgrade or downgrade in this case.
#3 HOME BREW is likely to be favored in this race and fits in that role as one of the more established types. He showed class (B+ OptixGRADE) in the December 4th allowance race that should allow for him to compete on the step up in class. In terms of OptixFIG, his races to date fit in RANGE though does not hold any real edge over others in this field that could be improving types. He is tough to knock coming into this race other than the projected favorite role and shorter price.
#4 KAVOD will return off the Advent Stakes win and with the favorable trip (TACTIC+) on his side in back-to-back wins. He will be tested here as this both a step up in class (higher OFR today) and distance returning to the two-turns where Kavod has faltered in the past. That combination should see him lack value as the public could still gravitate in his direction given the recent “1’s” and with other alternatives in the field.
#5 IGNITIS has yet to run that “fast” race that would make him a strong contender here though has run numbers in today’s RANGE. He has some upside exiting the Lively Shively Stakes on November 27th at Churchill Downs where Ignitis was forced to rate off the pace and with minimal ask. The added ground should suit his frame and capable to see a move forward today. He would be a legit longshot (not impossible) to pull off the upset and should expect as much on the board, though one that is more likely to fill exotics at a number.
#6 BUREAU is worth consideration in this race as an improving type with route experience. He caught the eye on debut and capable of the IMPROVE off that race did so breaking his maiden with the B+ OptixGRADE on November 27th at Remington Park. The B+ GRADE suggest the step up in class and will find that here making his stakes debut and first against winners. Going back to the October 27th debut, the race a common race with today’s rival #9 DON’TCROSSTHEDEVIL the eventual winner. In terms of that Special Weight race, Bureau was the one to follow going forward and could be the longer of the two in this race as Don’tcrossthedevil has recorded a win since and even the barn change to Phil D’Amato could grab the public attention. As an individual, Don’tcrossthedevil has a game racehorse characteristic, though is going to be highly tested for class and stamina here.
#7 RUGGS showed ability (B+ OptixGRADE) breaking his maiden on debut while still slightly green back in November at Remington Park. He was given a look stepping up in the Advent Stakes and while his OptixFIG did improve was slightly below (C+ OptixGRADE) his competition in that race. He will be tested again here at a similar stakes level and has the added test stretching out around two turns. There are other changes in play as the blinkers will be added as well as finding a new rider as Leparoux will take the call. Changes can be seen as positive intent, however a lot of changes at once is not always a positive and could fall into an experimental side; the changes overall could benefit this lightly raced developing type even if the timing is not ideal today.
#8 VIVAR requires compensation on the board should be expected as his current speed is light with recorded OptixFIG to date sitting below RANGE to win. With that said, he could be a progressive, improving type coming into this race in his third start of the form cycle that could be sitting on a new top effort. There was some confidence by the connections to run in the KY Jockey Club (G2) following a very game off-the-turf allowance win in his prior start at Keeneland. His trip on November 27th was not the most ideal with some traffic and could see a move forward today in his third start of the current form cycle. He looks to have come out of the graded stakes well recording three works here at Oaklawn Park since that race. Geroux will stick with Home Brew coming off the local win with Martin Garcia picking up the call. Garcia has found some live mounts for Cox and could be a positive rider change for this horse.
#10 BARBER ROAD lacks value as the second choice on the morning line should he find himself in that role on race day. While he does hold his maiden win around two-turns, he had the front-end advantage and race FLOW in his favor on October 14th at the maiden claiming level, which does present some class concerns. There has been some mild improvement race-to-race on OptixFIG though could be exposed at this class level and distance today.
#11 CAIRAMA could still hold some upside, though has yet to show the type of effort that makes him a legit contender in this field at this point in his race career. He benefit from the racetrack at Belmont Park (BIAS) on debut and backed that up with an even (C+ OptixGRADE) effort in the Nashua (G3) in November and following a 51-day layoff. Some progression has been shown race-to-race heading into this event for his third start of the form cycle, though still those optimistic on this one should demand some compensation to play. The same value compensation is required for stablemate #12 COOL PAPA G drawn to his outside and that might not necessarily be the case based on the morning line. As shown in the Past 3 Runlines, Cool Papa G has the habit of breaking slow (SLOG) and will have to overcome that potential poor start and outside post while making his two-turn debut here.
#13 IMMORAL ran to public expectations breaking his maiden on debut back on November 11th at Charlestown. It was basically a two-horse race as Immoral took over from a tiring pacesetting rival with those two well clear of the others in the race. The effort earned a modest 72 OptixFIG, a number below par and with the WEAK race on debut he must show much more today to compete.
#14 BEN DIESEL is one that could be considered a logical type in this race, though he was once again given no favors at the draw and taking up the far outside post in this full field. He found himself in a similar role for the KY Jockey Club (G2) forced to use for position and stalking wide outside the pacesetters losing ground in the lane. A similar trip and tactic could see Ben Diesel very wide early with the quick run into the first turn. A lot of tactical decision will be required by Court in terms of working a trip and some compensation is required as a result.