July 16, 2024

Oaklawn Park Circles & Squares Analysis for March 25

OptixEQ Circles and Squares
OptixEQ Circles and Squares


#5 THUNDERHEART is worth another look as he will make his second start of the meet and finds the required (DROP) class relief. He debuted back on Dec. 17 at Remington Park and turned in a solid B- OptixGRADE effort showing run with upside (IMPROVE) as shown in the Past 3 Runlines. That race was given a similar 79-71 OptixFIGRANGE (OFR) to today’s event with the 80-72 OFR. That change is key as he exits a much tougher (90-82 OFR) Special Weight event on Feb. 12. That Special Weight event has been productive so far with two next out Special Weight winners and even the race winner, Stratofortress coming back last Sunday to finish second, a blanket finish earning a 94 OptixFIG. Even with the change in class, Thunderheart must improve on numbers to compete with others in the field, though he has the potential today to do so. Trainer Shea Stuart has been able to move horses up to a peak number, more than a 10-point jump, in a second start of the cycle with these maiden type runners in the last two years – an improvement factor that is not shown in the raw stats.


Looking at the OptixPLOT, #3 MONTGOMERY PARK and #4 MEGAN’S CLARA lack value in this race without any strong speed (OptixFIG), class or pace advantage with #5 EPICUREAN (form cycle concerns) in the field. #2 GRAVITRON moves up in that first flight as well sitting a strong Standard Quad I Square, though is capable of stalking as shown on Surface/Distance. Gravitron fits on class as she returns to Oaklawn Park and the main track for trainer John Ortiz.

#9 FIFTH RISK is interesting in this spot as a lightly raced four-year-old filly that still holds upside potential. She will make her first start here, claimed by Steve Asmussen back on Jan. 23. While it would have been more encouraging to have seen her back on shorter rest off the claim, it is worth noting that she was scratched from the March 6 $20k N2L claiming race, a common race for Epicurean and #10 CHASING SHADOWS (underneath type runner here at a price), and Fifth Risk will race here protected instead. That scratch could suggest positive intent as well as the rider assignment as Joel Rosario was named that day and retains the mount here.

#7 LEGENDARY GIFT is assigned the 3-1 morning line favorite in this race and a softer favorite due to her Run Style and required trip from Quad IV. She has the OptixFIG in OFR and the strongest late kick in the field as shown by the Large Square as closing ability and Plot shape is in relationship to each other. The “Fire” Contention plays to her closing strengths, however the lower SpeedRate and horses below the Par Line could have her further off-the-pace with too much ground to make up late. 


For many horses in this race, what you see is what you get as they have had their chances at this level and have been exposed. While those runners could just find the right time and place to win, it is tough to have a lot of confidence with #4 BEST BET, #7 GO WEST and #8 BEST TIME in this field.

#5 INVARIABLY is one of the lightly raced types in this field, making just a third career start. He ran a competitive race on Feb. 12, a race noted as productive with THUNDERHEART in Race 3. Invariably paired up his 79 OptixFIG on March 4, though did not have the cleanest (TRAFFIC) trip or ride (TACTIC-) that day. That was also his first start around two turns and he should benefit from that experience with the added ground here. Going back to that March 4 event Invariably went off as the 3.4-1 second choice, a shorter number than the 6.7-1 odds of today’s rival, Best Bet, and we are likely to see that reverse today with Invariably likely the longer of the two this afternoon.

His Stablemate #3 HELLMAN is worth a look based on the Plot position as that Large tracking Square. Two of his four starts were run on an off-track, where Hellman recorded his higher OptixFIG and efforts impacting the Plot. Class is still a bit of a question based on the placement in his first two starts and coming up short at the maiden claiming level and recording a C OptixGRADE three weeks ago at the Fair Grounds, a lower 76-70 OFR without excuse. 

#1 GREATHEART will also return from that March 4 common race, a race he likely needed returning from a 503-day layoff; he was allowed to drift from the 8-1 morning line and started the second longest shot in the field. Some upside could be projected in this case and worth noting Greatheart recorded the similar C+ OptixGRADE to Invariably as those two finished in a blanket for show.