Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Nomination Is In: The Oaklawn Handicap and the Arkansas Derby

Will Take Charge (Photo Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)
The Derby Trail! One of the most exciting and agonizing things I do as a handicapper is try to sort out young horses without much of a history. I found a secret years ago that if I ignore most of what is written about the runners and just focus on the fundamentals I see on video and past performances and just play em' as I see em'. Most of the time I think I'm seeing them with dirt covered goggles. Today's Oaklawn Handicap is where I traditionally find solace, with older horses, with more established records. I find sanity on the paper, sense of things, order in the universe. I said usually. The Oaklawn Handicap is a bit of a mystery to me, with a heavy stench of chalk and so-so betting prospects. Anyways, I won't get too far ahead of myself, I'll build the base handicap and see what my betting strategy will look like.

Let's get it on!

The weather looks like it will be dry.  You can find the scratches and changes here.

A seven horse field enters the gate in the Oaklawn Handicap. My first two passes tell me there is only one true toss out, the five year old gelded son of Political Force, Right to Vote.

Will Take Charge is very, very hard to ignore. 7 straight 100+ Beyers, a :35 and change 3F work bullet 4 days ago, 10 of 14 in the money on fast dirt, 4 of 4 in the money at the distance, 2 wins in 3 starts at OP. Saez, battery free, is Up for Trainer Lukas.

If Will Take Charge can be bettered, I'm backing Golden Lad. He's got a nice off the pace run style and has Gary Stevens up today, a very capable tactical pilot. The 4 YO Medaglia d' Oro son is undefeated in his 4th season, with a win at both Gulfstream and Oaklawn.

Revolutionary is Pletcher's main threat here but I see him taking a back seat in this one to Golden Lad. Comes in off a very flat Donn Handicap in February. Working regular if not that dynamically.  I like both Carve and Moreno to best the Louisiana Derby winner.

Carve is a very deep closer.  He'll be coming at the wire, not going, and that should put him in the top four.  Moreno is an interesting runner: First start at OP, no wins at distance, only 1 win in 10 fast dirt starts, 2 wins in 15 starts.  That said, he strung 4 straight 100+ Beyers together last season before going to the farm after a dud Breeders' Cup Classic.

Prayers For Relief, a recent transfer out of Asmussen's barn, is a hard knocking 6 YO who could hit the exotics and I'm leaning towards putting him outside the circle of trust today.

I'm not sure if I have a betting interest in this race;  I'll be watching the tote to see what the bettors think of Golden Lad, who I'd like at 6-1 or better.  I'm not sure this race is worth an exotic bet investment.

I can't say I'm excited about betting the Arkansas Derby either.  I hate to do it, but Bayern seems to be the best, although I hate rewarding a lightly race colt with chalk.  I love the consistent work since the foot bruise.
Tapiture and Strong Mandate will both attract lots of betting cash. Tapiture looks very strong , and he won the Southwest and dueled gamely to Hoppertunity to Place in the Rebel.  I've liked Conquest Titan, Mark Casse's Birdstone runner all winter, but he needs to put up today or shutdown and head to the Belmont.

I think I'm a horse racing fan for these races and not a race track investment specialist.

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

1 comment:

Arkansas Derby Race Results said...

This year's Arkansas Derby blew me away. Who saw Danza coming? Wow!