#8 AMERICAN CHAOS will require some price compensation as one of the three-year-old runners in this field taking on older horses. With that in play, he is worth a look in this spot with hidden form as well as a potential pace advantage. The “Red” PlotFit makes for a “chaotic” visual, though it does show a lower SpeedRate, a scenario that can favor horses on or near the lead. There are plenty of EP RunStyle horses in this field; however, it lacks the “lone E” – a role that American Chaos could fill. His form and Plot position have been “dirtied” up, keying off the most recent two OptixNOTES shown in the Past 3 Runlines. He has the ability to IMPROVE as he makes his second start of the meet; Francisco Arrieta takes over in the saddle and is likely to be more aggressive today, and American Chaos has the early speed available with that type of ride combined with today’s class (OFR) drop to run well. #5 OUTASITE is the expected heavy favorite and one that also appears in that front running role. He has some challenges in both areas with the lack of recency and confidence by the connections dropping in for the claiming tag following a 321-day layoff.
RACE 8 – FIFTH SEASON STAKES:
All eyes and most the wagering action will be on #5 CONCERT TOUR making his belated return to the races and first start for Brad Cox. His supporters will be backing him on name recognition to underlay territory returning in today’s race. As an individual he could present a move forward making his first start as a four-year-old and will need to as his OptixFIG from last year lack any strong edge over the established group of older racehorses Concert Tour will face today. That could extend to class as well, keying off the smaller fields starting off his racing career in California and catching a weaker group in the Rebel Stakes (G2) here last season with a favorable front-end trip. As far as picking a spot to return, Cox has been looking for the “path of least resistance”, noting a scratch out of the Woodchopper Stakes – a turf event last month at Fair Grounds, with Cox on record stating Concert Tour would only run if the races were taken off the turf, which did not happen. While capable and a win would not be any shock, the value will shift to others in this field and even could create a real opportunity for those that want to view Concert Tour as a “win or run out” type.
Though #4 NECKER ISLAND has been most effective around one-turn, he is capable at today’s flat mile distance and fits today’s race conditions on class (OptixGRADE), speed (OptixFIG), and current form (OptixNOTES), lacking “Red” in his Past 3 Runlines. He has upside exiting the Thanksgiving Classic Stakes with the TROUBLE line that arguably cost him a better finishing position. Even with the distance chance, his class should allow for a similar type stalking trip (Quad II Square) to his current form around one-turn. That trip fits with today’s race shape, one that has a higher 67 SpeedRate and could be more “Contentious” than the “Snowflake” indicates keeping in mind the “Red” PlotFit.
#2 MO CHOCTAW and #12 GAR HOLE project to go off as the race favorites according to the morning line and could be “soft favorites” returning in this spot. Both horses will be tested stepping up off maiden wins paired with favorable trips (Red Keywords) assisting not only in the win, but the OptixFIG earned.
#9 CAPTAIN DON returns to the statebred level today and makes his second start of the meet for Don Von Hemel and jockey Florent Geroux. Along with the class change, the second-off has been a favorable angle for this horse in the past. Captain Don had an abbreviated 2021 spring season, though has form and OptixFIG that stack up in RANGE keying off his 2020 Oaklawn Park form.
#11 GOODNIGHT ARCHIE will get a look in his second start of the meet exiting the Dec. 12 allowance race, a race will come into play again for tomorrow’s Circles and Squares. That race featured a contentious (Fire) early pace paired with a Fast opening (O4S) half mile that set up the disqualified, unofficial winner Bandit Point to close from off-the-pace. That race shape upgrades Goodnight Archie as one that was forced to race up close to the early pace with his running style and the rail draw. That played a role in his finish that day and the dynamic (X_FLOW) is playing a role in his Circle shape in Quad I. Despite his finish, or lack of, he still earned an 85 OptixFIG, an improving number returning from the layoff and from his sophomore numbers recorded during the early part of the 2021 racing season.