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Oaklawn Park Selections for 3 Stakes Races – Saturday, January 28, 2023

Allyson LoganBy: Allyson Logan

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Race 5: Martha Washington Stakes: Fillies, Three-years-old. One and one sixteenth mile.

WET PAINT (PP: 1 ML 9/2) – Expect her to be placed forwardly, possibly on the pace alongside Taxed. The two could hook up early out of the gate and set quick fractions, both fading in the end. Wet Paint would prevail as the better of the two pace setters, with her inside position allowing her to save ground. With two strong rivals stalking behind the pace, I would expect her to finish maybe third or fourth.

KEY TO SUCCESS (PP:2 ML 20/1) – With a deep stalk running style, she will probably find herself tucked behind Defining Purpose but ahead of Take Charge Briana for the majority of the race. With one win in five starts, and never being in stakes company before, Key To Success does not seem to pose a threat to her competitors.

FEFINING PURPOSE (PP: 3 ML 6/5) – Coming off a strong win in the Years End Stakes (Listed), she has earned her position as one of the top choices in the field of six. This time around, however, she faces two main challenges. The undefeated Olivia Twist, looking for her fourth consecutive career win, and going mile and one sixteenth yet again. In the Golden Rod Stakes (GII), Defining Purpose came up empty when it was time to run down the competition, ultimately finishing fifth. This race may determine whether she preferred the surface at Oaklawn, or the shorter distance of the Year End Stakes, but I wouldn’t leave her out of your trifecta box.

TAKE CHARGE BRIANA (PP: 4 ML 6/1) – With a career record of 7:1-0-2, she doesn’t seem like much at first glance. This deep closing daughter of Curlin made an impressive move in the Years End Stakes, dropping to the back of the pack early, saving energy before making a bold outside move and rallying down the stretch to finish a game third. Another move like this could prove profitable with her morning line odds.

OLIVIA TWIST (PP: 5 ML 2/1) – Looking to remain undefeated in the Martha Washington S. may prove to be her toughest test yet. Her classic stalk the pace running style could end in a stretch duel with Defining Purpose, the other restricted stakes winner. If that outcome were to play out, I’m more confident in Olivia Twist to outlast her competitors, making her the deserving top pick.

TAXED (PP: 6 ML 15/1) – Possibly the biggest early speed factor in the field, Taxed will be sent out early, either alone or with Wet Paint alongside her. I anticipate she will be quick out of the gate early, but will fade in the stretch, allowing her competition to move past.

Overall Picks: 5,3,4

Race 8: King Cotton Stakes: Four-year-olds and upwards. Six furlongs

TEJANO TWIST (PP:1 ML 5/1) – An easy pick for your trifecta box. You can expect him to be placed pretty far off the pace and make a big move around the turn and storm home down the stretch. He’s already won at Oaklawn once this year in an allowance earlier this month. He’ll have a tough time getting past the two top picks, but I wouldn’t undermine his abilities.

MILES AHEAD (PP: 2 ML 6/1) – Coming out of the Richard R Scherer Memorial Stakes (Black Type), Miles Ahead is looking to bounce back. In a field with little early speed, it will be crucial for him to get the jump on his competitors. Expect him to sit off the pace, but more forwardly within the pack, with Gunite right alongside. The majority of his twelve wins have been at an allowance level, and few being stakes. That, combined with this being his first time at Oaklawn and having no recorded works over the surface leads me to believe there are better options within the field.

FLASH OF MISCHIEF (PP: 3 ML 9/5) – With a stakes win at Oaklawn already this meet, Flash Of Mischief has a good chance to win another. His post position will allow him to save ground early on, until making his move on the turn, and using his speed to kick down the stretch. Facing some prestigious competition may pose somewhat of a challenge, but nothing to knock him off finishing in the money.

LONG RANGE TODDY (PP: 4 ML 20/1) – The seven-year-old son of Take Charge Indy has yet to capture a win since his three year old campaign, and only finished in the money three times in the past year. Although what he lacks in speed, he makes up in heart but that’s not enough to pose a threat to his competition. I would take a raincheck on this Dallas Stewart trainee.

GAR HOLE (PP: 5 ML 12/1) – The Arkansas bred is back at his home track and has already logged an allowance win in 2023. After his strong performance in the Nodouble Breeders Stakes (Black Type), he’s trying for a second stakes win. With a combination of being notoriously good at Oaklawn and being the only true front runner in the field, there’s a chance for him to take this one all the way home. Considering those two factors, he makes a case for himself to be a live longshot.

RADICAL RIGHT (PP: 6 ML 12/1) – Giving stakes company a try for the third time, Radical Right would like to make this effort to be a winning one. Making a closing run into second last time out in the City Of Laurel Stakes (Listed), you can expect Flavien Pratt to settle him in the same position, with the company of Tejano Twist. Though at the same morning line odds as Gar Hole, I expect Radical Right to have a tougher time running his way into the money.

GUNITE (PP: 7 ML 7/5) – Taking a drop in class and distance, Gunite is going back to his preferred seven-furlong sprint after finishing a game fourth in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Gun Runner colts had a big year in 2022, and I expect this year to be no different. As this colt grows into himself and figures it out, he has the potential to be a big name in the four-year-old division. Gunite will be facing older, more seasoned competition, but I have little doubt that he can get the job done.

ULTIMATE (PP: 8 ML 20/1) – After a lackluster stakes debut in the Iowa Sprint Stakes (Black Type) at Prairie Meadows and a brief drop in class, Ultimate is looking to redeem himself. This group is without a doubt tougher than anything else he has faced before, which puts him at a great disadvantage. Although he improved in this last start, I would omit him from any future wagers.

Picks: 7,3,1

Race 10: Southwest Stakes (Grade III)
: Three-year-olds. One and one sixteenth miles.

SUN THUNDER (PP:1 ML 10/1) – After an impressive maiden win last time out, you can expect Sun Thunder to utilize the same deep closing style in the Southwest Stakes. The added distance will not be a challenge, but instead should help his case. With plenty of speed in the field, you may find value in his late stretch rally, especially in the case of a pace collapse. Closers tend to fare well at Oaklawn, and Sun Thunder is no exception.

CORONA BOLT (PP: 2 ML 6/1) – After stalking the pace in his maiden but setting the pace in the Sugarbowl Stakes (Black Type) at Fairgrounds and winning both with ease, either style could be used by Corona Bolt. However, he will probably be placed as a close stalker instead of going to challenge top contender Arabian Knight. This is also his first time going longer than six and a half furlongs, so saving ground and energy will be crucial, though his breeding suggests that he could go longer.

JACE’S ROAD (PP: 3 ML 4/1) – After going into the Iroquois Stakes (GIII) using a stalk the pace strategy and fell to his rivals, Jace’s Road moved to setting the pace in the Gun Runner Stakes (Black Type) where he won by five and a half lengths. After an improvement such as that, you can expect him go the same route in the Southwest S. This promising son of Quality Road should be considered a top contender and likely to finish in the money.

WESTERN GHENT (PP: 4 ML 20/1) – Trying his luck on the Derby trail before and falling short each time, Western Ghent is back again to try and add his name to the leaderboard. Another headstrong runner who routinely fades as the race progresses. With his only win being in a maiden claimer back in August, I would pass on Western Ghent and try your luck elsewhere.

FROSTED DEPARTURE (PP: 5 ML 15/1) – Going two turns for the first time since the Street Sense Stakes (GIII) in October, Frosted Departure is the second entry from the McPeek barn in the Southwest S.  Winning the Renaissance Stakes (Black Type) by showing slight early speed, he will more than likely be placed in a similar position this time as well. Although his last stakes effort was a success, anything longer than six furlongs has proven to be too much. Against a field like this, Frosted Departure is another horse to take a pass on.

ARABIAN KNIGHT (PP: 6 ML 1/1) – A deserving even-money favorite, his debut on the Breeders Cup undercard was eye catching. The Bob Baffert trained colt set a quick pace, going unchallenged from gate to wire. Although his only win has been at seven furlongs, the extra distance should not be a problem, making him the one to beat.

RED ROUTE ONE (PP: 7 ML 10/1) – With Ricardo Santana up top, Red Route One is looking to improve his career statistics in 2023. After facing some traffic in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (GII) a smoother trip would treat him well. Gun Runner colts have been exceptional in the recent months, and him being out of a Tapit mare, his breeding suggests he could improve with age and experience. His pace stalking style could give him an edge with all the early speed present. With that being said, with a field like this he would have to have come leaps and bounds from his last start.

HIT SHOW (PP: 8 ML 10/1) – The final of the trio of entries coming from the Brad Cox barn, Hit Show would be the last of the three to become a stakes winner. Prevailing over his competition three and a half lengths and putting out three solid five furlong works; he seems to be coming along nicely. He has yet to face rivals of this caliber, and may be up to the challenge, but is unlikely to best his stablemates.

ELTOMATE (PP: 9 ML 30/1) – Winning on debut at Remington Park by five and one fourth lengths, El Tomate is taking a big jump in class for his second career start. Going from seven furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth may prove difficult, considering his sire was a sprinter. At 30/1 and being the longest shot in the race, I would deem him a toss.

Picks: 6,3,2

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