BEST BET: RACE 1, MR PIPPINS
MR PIPPINS comes off a competitive effort at this level and for the start earned what ranks as this field’s best last-race Beyer Speed Figure. He might get an ideal tracking trip behind a few of these. ENCHANTED RAMBAM, who has some natural speed, invades from Fair Grounds, where he has been knocking on the door against similar. MAJESTIC RIDE met stakes rivals last year at Oaklawn. He is making his first start since March.
GET PAID split a field of starter rivals last time and now moves back into a conditioned claiming spot. She also should be sharp for the return to two turns off the six-panel start. FLASHY RUTHIE is another stretching back out to two turns off a sprint, and note she was launching her season in her most recent start. JE SUIS BELLE must overcome the wide post and the layoff, but like that she has fared well against steeper. As for the move back to the main track, she worked a bullet halfmile over the local strip Feb. 2.
SHOOTOUT split a field of steeper rivals last out and could be sitting on a peak race this afternoon in his third out since November. He goes for the red-hot connections of Caldwell, Villafranco and Vazquez. THE ROUGE DIESEL hooked a runaway winner last out at this level. The start was this one’s first since November. HAWKSHAW has class appeal as one who has seen steeper. He also might benefit if the strip is fast after catching a wet track last time out. Another who fits well is CIVITAVECCHIO.
J P OF GALILEE came rolling for second over six furlongs last out in his seasonal debut and the move back to two turns would seem to suit runner for both his closing kick and the fact that he put up his best career Beyer Speed Figure in a route race. This will mark his second start since April. BUD’S MR. B is another moving back to two turns for his second start of the year, and he ran a good second at this distance last season at Oaklawn. For this trip, he will add blinkers. EDGY might prove to be the one these will have to catch, on the stretch out from a front-running effort at six panels at Oaklawn.
DYNAMIC IMPACT, who was a Grade 3 winner at 3, is in the midst of a productive Oaklawn. He was a winner in his first start of the year Jan. 13, then moved into the starter ranks last out and ran a credible fourth in a race that went in good time. AREED looks like the one to beat as he seeks to win his fourth straight race and is packing the field’s best last-race Beyer Speed Figure. He’s also situated outside of perhaps his main pace rival, CHOCOLATE WILDCAT. WILDCAT FRIENDSHIP is a consistent sort with tactical speed and he also owns a series of competitive Beyer Speed Figures.
STAND GUARD, who seems like one who can be closer to the pace than he found himself last out, might get a nice stalking trip behind a few of these. He also is appealing for the fact that he’s a winner at this distance at Oaklawn. RANK ran a big race in his first start of the year last out, when second at 20-1. He set the pace to the later stages in what was no doubt a useful race in his first out since October. JUSTIN ZEE is another who ran a strong race off the bench, and he, too, can move forward in his second out since March.
SANILAC is appealing as a 4-year-old facing some younger rivals. She also was favored against maiden allowance foes last time and gets the services of Santana, who had a four-bagger at Oaklawn last Friday. CARE is another who has an age edge on a number of these. This will mark her first start since June. JUNGLE LANE faces older
rivals, but represented herself well against such foes last time and is packing this field’ s best lastrace Beyer Speed Figure. EXCESSIVE SPENDING was second two back to Perfect Wife, who after their meeting won the $100K Trapeze at Oaklawn.
MAGIC OF BELIEVING might get the right kind of setup in this spot as there appears to be an abundance of speed in the race. The winner he hooked in his last start is a candidate for the Grade 3, $500,000 Razorback Handicap next Monday at Oaklawn. FINANCIAL MODELING can make a real impact with a repeat of his December effort at Fair Grounds. The concern is that he faces a fair amount of opposing speed in this spot. HILLBILLY ROYALTY also is quick. He exits a race won by a horse headed to the Razorback. ELIJAH can be closer to the pace than he was last time, when he stumbled at the start. A quick pace would well serve W B AND ME, while SNICKERBOXER seeks to make it four in a row.
LOST SHAKEROF SALT is appealing for her consistent nature as she has never failed to bring home a check in five career starts. She also owns the field’s best last-race and career Beyer Speed Figure. STELLA STELLA STELLA was third against similar last time, and is a logical fit. GERIS HAND brings good racing experience to the table.