She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Oaklawn Results 4/25/20


In what has become almost a normal occurrence at Oaklawn on Saturday racing, a long-shot (26-1 Violent Pass) outran the entries and won race 11. In his third race ever as a maiden special race, he gained the lead in the stretch and held off strong closing Copper King, (my top pick in the race)  to get the upset win. 

I warned about the final in the Pick 4 being wide open, and even gave you six horses to watch. Unfortunately, Violent Pass wasn't one of them. 

On the day, we gave you 15 horses to consider. Out of those, we came up with three winners (races 8-10), four seconds and two thirds. That's a 60% "in the money" percentage and we filled nine of the twelve "payout" spots in the four race sequence. Three of my four top picks were winners (Race 8 - Sneaking Out, Race 9 - Long Weekend and Race 10 - Mia Mischief.)  

The first Pick 3 (races 8-10) paid $17.10 on the .50 cent wager and the final Pick 3 (races 9-11) paid $106.80.  The Pick 4 returned $421.20.

A $2 "across the board" bet on all 15 horses I noted would have cost $90. The total return for you on these wagers was $74.20.

Race 8 winner Sneaking Out paid $5 to win. Race 9 winner Long Weekend paid $6.20 to win. Race 10 winner Mia Mischief paid $5 to win and Race 11 winner Violent Pass paid $53.80 to win. 

The three winning exactas I laid out paid $12, $7.70 and $8.90.

As I've said here before (to quote the late Scott Harris), we can pick winners, but we can't pick what we get paid. 

I hit the early Pick 3 in the sequence, lost the final Pick 3. I laid off the Pick 4. I've got those "final race fears" at Oaklawn anymore, it seems. I gave you 6 out of the 12 horses in Race 11 and still didn't hit it. I might just recommend the "all" button next week. 

I had a winning day -- not because of the four-race sequence -- but because of betting an old favorite of mine in Race 6. Wilbo held off the competition to win at 8-1 odds. I "unbuckled" on him across the board. On the $2 WPS bet, he paid $17.40,  $7,40,  $4.80. That's $29.40 back on $6 wagered. I went "heavier" than the $2 WPS.. That $23.40 profit on a $2 WPS wager helped "save the day".  

Next Saturday at Oaklawn is shaping up to be a huge day. The Arkansas Derby is trying to get enough entries (22 horses) to be run in two divisions. There are other great stakes races on that Saturday, May 2nd race as well. It is Oaklawn's final day of the current meet. As of now, the track will still be closed to racing fans. 

It's also the first Saturday of May. You know what that traditionally means at Churchill Downs. In normal times. 

Where racing goes after Oaklawn is finished with their spring meet is anyone's guess. The CoronaVirus will be the deciding factor, and, unfortunately, there is no racing form nor past performances to study and handicap for predicting the final outcome of COVID 19. 

We'll see ya next Saturday. 

Stay well, stay home if you can and keep believing.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Oaklawn Late Pick Four 4/25/20


I know it seems a bit like "Groundhog Day" returning to Oaklawn each week for the Paulie Picks, but, they do have the most challenging racing going on currently and the stakes races today remain the highest quality of horse racing going on at this time. So, back into the breech we go. 

Two Stakes races, the Carousel and Bachelor L, are in the late Pick 4 (races eight through eleven) a challenging allowance race and another "wide open" maiden special weight to close out the day. 

Let's get into it. 


9 -- BYE BYE J


Sneaking Out comes into this allowance affair after a eight-month layoff. He'd been racing in California and drops in class and distance after not seeming to like a mile in a Grade III. This horse has tons of back class and success and has had two good, six furlong works at Oaklawn in preparation for today. He's my top pick.  Ready To Runaway just missed in his last one out at Oaklawn and had a third earlier at Oaklawn this spring. He gets a fast track today, for a change, and his early speed just might last today. Another with back class and speed. Nomizar won his last time out at Oaklawn. He's a closer and regular rider David Cohen returns. This one worries me a little -- he's been a "bounce" house (a win followed by a loss) for the five races, Will he "bounce" again today after winning last time out? Bye Bye J is another "bounce" horse, coming off a win. He's been running against much better, though, and won by eight lengths at Oaklawn the last time he ran for these conditions. 
On Deck should be considered, at a price. He's 3 for 4 lifetime and comes in from the Fairgrounds. A definite "move up" in class and conditions, though, so consider that. 




Long Weekend led from wire-to-wire and won for fun in his last at Oaklawn in similar conditions. He's 3 for 4 lifetime and Joe Talamo rides for Tom Amoss. He's the top pick for me. Eight Rings is in from California. He was last seen in the Breeders Cup Grade I Juvenile, where he set an early pace but faded. He did win another Grade I before that and his back class, Bob Baffert training and Joel Rosario riding make him a "can't ignore". Little Menace chased home Long Weekend last time out. Two wins before that one, though, established him as a deep closer -- and if the speed dies today, he could pick up the pieces from his rail spot. Echo Town used a blistering stretch run to destroy high level allowance s foes last time out at Oaklawn. He'll stay off the pace and go for a stretch run try again today, if  Ricardo Santana can follow Bob Baffert's probable instructions. 




Mia Mischief has had a spectacular career. This five year old filly looked fantastic in her spring return to racing at Oaklawn and Steve Asmussen has her ready to roll. Grade I wins and Ricardo Santana on board give her the class edge. She likes to stalk and pounce in the stretch and could benefit from a speed dual. She's my top selection. Bellafina wouldn't surprise at all if she ends up in the winner's circle, though. She gets the rail,and has worked well at Oaklawn since shipping in from California. Another one who stalks and pounces at the end.  Amy's Challenge barely got nipped at the wire by Midnight Fantasy in her last at Oaklawn. She's also got a ton of back class and she'll maybe she'll contend for the early lead today and see who can catch her. An interesting horse for this race. Midnight Fantasy did beat Amy's Challenge at 8-1 odds last time out and is 8 for 12 lifetime. She's never far away from the leaders and Martin Garcia returns again to ride. She's got the highest speed figures of any in this race -- so she can't be left out. 

RACE 11 -- Maiden Special Weight -- 60K -- 1-1/16 MILE



By far the toughest race in the sequence to handicap. I went with Copper King as my top choice. He finally gets a fast track after just falling short in two attempts at Oaklawn on off-track conditions. He comes off the pace, gets the rail and has five second-place finishes in his career of nine race,, maybe he graduates. Unrighteous was improving in his first two starts before running into a much better field in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby. He's back where he belongs today and Todd Pletcher puts Joel Rosario on board. Works have been good.  Ronamo is 0-12 lifetime, but has run second in his last four races. Wayne Catalano tries a new jockey today in Luis Quinonez, he stalks the pace. Who knows? Aztec Empire has chased Copper King home in two out of his last three races in "off" conditions. He might do better on today's expected fast track? Ron Moquett. 

Since the last race has been so unpredictable on Saturdays at Oaklawn, I'll throw out two more who could surprise: #11 On D' Oro and #7 AK Safari. Better safe and sorry here, if you can toss down the extra $$$ in a wide, wide open finale. 

I'LL PROBABLY TRY...A couple of Pick 3's here, with my top four picks in each race...but -- if I was going to fire at a Pick 4, (and I might) I'd go with: 

Race 8:  4.5.6,8.9
Race 9:  1.7.9
Race 10: 1,6,8
Race 11; 1,4,6,7,9,11 

This amounts to a $130 wager, pricey for some, but since I've been "playing on their money" for quite some time...I can do it and still be up for the spring. 

Good Luck today and bet 'em anyway you like, but wager responsibly


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Oaklawn Results 4/18/20

We gave it a good try yesterday in the late Pick 4 at Oaklawn (races 8-11). Providing you the winners in races 8-10 and barely losing Race 11 by a nose. 

Race 11 was a heaartbreaker.

Arrival ran a great race and came from off the pace to challenge the eventual winner Curlin Rules. Arrival stuck his head in front of Curlin Rules with about a furlong to go. It looked like we were going to win the race, but Curlin Rules fought back on the rail and got his head in front of Arrival at the wire to win by a nose. The rail was the place to be yesterday at Oaklawn. It was surprising to me that Curlin Rules was able to fight back after leading most of the way and win. I credit Tyler Baze for a great ride and wonder why Terry Thompson couldn't get more of of Arrival after he took the lead? the winner went off at 17-1 and Arrival was higher odds than that...paying $19.60 to place and $10.20 to show. 

There is a common theory among trainers that some horses, one they have taken the lead in a race, tend to relax a bit, even with jockey urging. Maybe that's what happened. 

On the day, I gave out 20 horses to consider. One got scratched (Take Charge Angel) in the ninth race, so 19 went to post. We had three winners, two seconds and one show. That 31.5% "in the money" percentage isn't great, but out of 12 possible payouts in the win, place and show slots for the four races, we had six of them for 50%. 

Whitmore won race eight and paid $8.20 on the $2 wager. Break Even dominated race nine and rewarded backers with $5.20 on $2 wagered. Ce Ce made a great stretch run to take race 10 and returned $9.20 for each $2 put down. 

The first Pick 3 was worth $40.35 on the .50 cent wager. If you had played the picks from yesterday, you would have spent $50, after the scratch, so you would have lost about ten dollars. The late Pick 3 returned $108.20. The Late Pick 4 was worth $562.40. 

We were a nose away from both of the latter wagers. . 

My wagering for the day consisted ofI putting a $2 WPS wager on the 19 horses I picked -- which cost $114. I got back $86, so I took a $28 loss on the day. 

The old adage "second is second, whether it's a nose or a mile" came true unfortunately yesterday. Another final race at Oaklawn that "blew up" with high prices and no favorites in the money --  just like last Saturday. We'll keep that precedent in mind when we handicap and meet again on Saturday the 25th. 


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Oaklawn Late Pick 4 -- 4/18/20

We return to Oaklawn for today's Paulie Picks. A nice late Pick 4 sequence awaits us, including the Grade I Apple Blossom for older fillies, the Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Stakes, a challenging optional claiming race and competitive claimer affair to end the sequence. 

We hope to have a better day than last Saturday, when long-shots ruled the sloppy track. A fast track for today, no rain in sight and temperatures in the high 50's. 

Let's get at it! 




Hidden Scroll looked quite the best in his 2020 opener at Gulfstream, getting the eaarly lead and never looking back. He moves up a bit today, but, let's not forget this four year old was the favorite in last year's Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. He ran into Maximum Security and Code of Honor and he won't see as tough today. Hidden is my top pick.  Whitmore has a first and second at Oaklawn in his 2020 return and is a definite closer. Hot jock Joe Talamo returns for the mount. Flagstaff took the Grade II San Carlos at Santa Anita last time out. He's one who follows the pace and closes well. Getting Joel Rosario on board doesn't hurt either and he had a bullet work on April 12th. Bobby's Wicked One comes off two straight wins in 100K races at the Fairgrounds and Miguel Mena stays on board. Dangerous. Mr Jagermeister showed great speed and barely faded to second at Oaklawn in his 2020 opener in a 150K race. If he gets clear, he just might hold on this time? 

RACE 9 -- Optional Claiming -- 62K -- SIX FURLONGS



Meadow Dance has been first or second in her last six races. She drops down in class today and gets Florent Geroux on top. She's had two great works at Oaklawn and trainer Brad Cox knows how to get them ready. Meadow is my top pick. Break Even was on fire in 2019, with six straight wins, including a 100K at Saratoga. She debuted 2020 with her typical early speed but faded at Oaklawn, That probably won't happen today with Joel Rosaario aboard. She's been the favorite in all eight lifetime starts. Heaven's Whisper has won two straight allowance races at Oaklawn this spring and gets Joe Talamo again to ride. She likes to stalk the pace and swoop by them in the stretch. Take Charge Angel won her final 2019 race at Turfway, and was second by a nose in a 100K at Keeneland. Core Lanerie gets the return ride. Shanghai Tariff likes to get on top and play come catch me. She's got the rail today, has a bullet workout from April 10th and Fernando De La Cruz returns as the rider. 

RACE 10 -- APPLE BLOSSOM -- GRADE I -- 600K -- 1-1/16th Miles

14 -- CE CE


Ce Ce breaks from the outside of this field and likes the leads, so will getting there wear her out? I' saying "no". She's won her last two, including the Grade I Beholder Stakes mile at Santa Anita and Victor Espinoza return as the rider. She's my top pick in a tough field.  Serengeti Empress destryed the competition in the slop in the Grade II Azeri at Oaklawn last time out and she'd be no surprise if she won. Come Dancing was last seen the the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, where she faded, but was four for five in the winners circle before that. She rates a chance. Point of Honor has been either first of second in six of her seven lifetime starts, including a couple of Grade I and Grade II races. A dangerous contender with Drayden Van Dye in the saddle. Go Google Yourself won a Grade III at Oaklawn this spring, is 2 for 2 at the track and  one of my favorite jockeys Brian Hernandez, Jr is the regular rider for my buddy Paul McGee. 

RACE 11 -- CLAIMING -- 50K -- 1-1/16th MILE



Matrooh won by six lengths against similar two starts back at Oaklawn and David Cohen returns as the rider today. My top pick in the final. Kurilov has two wins and a fourth, against tougher competition at Oaklawn this spring and is a proven closer with Joe Talamo in the saddle. Time Line drops to his lowest level in quite some time for Steve Asmussen and ran well in the mud last out at Oaklawn. Could be the speed here?  Arrival has two wins at Oaklawn in his last three starts, could fir the bill here today. Hawaakom ran third to Arrival last time out, This ten-year-old has been in the money six time in ten attempts at Oaklawn, will enjoy the class drop. 

Good luck today and remember what I say, "Never bet the mortgage on a mudder". 


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Oaklawn Results -- 4-11-20

Let's take a minute to talk about how changing track and weather conditions can change one's handicapping picks and strategy. Here at Paulie's Picks, I always handicap the card early in the morning of the day of the races and I handicap for a fast track. When those conditions change during the day's races, like they did yeserday, the results can be catastrophic. 

Through eight races yesterday, Oaklawn was a fast track. During the ninth race, the rains came. By the time the tenth race came around, the track was sloppy. 

And that's when the bombs began to explode. Race 10 -- a 20-1 morning line wins and pays $19.60 on a $2 win bet. Race 11.-- a 30-1 morning line wins and pays $95.60 on a $2 win bet... and in Race 12 -- another 30-1 shot wins and returns $77.80 on a $2 win bet. The .50 cent Pick 4 pays $26,935.70.   Needless to say, I didn't have it or give it out. 

On the day, I did list 20 horses in the four race sequence I though had "board-hitting" capabilities . Out of them, I had (1) winner, (3) places and (3) shows.  The "in the money" percentage of 35% isn't great, but out of the 12 "payout" possibilities in the four race sequence, I did have seven -- or 58%. 

In Race 9, on a fast track that was picking up rain, my top pick Tom's D Etat made a huge stretch move to eliminate the contenders and won for fun.

In Race 10, my top pick Dean Martini gave a good account of himself and was close, barely getting nosed out for second by another one of my picks and finishing third.

In Race 11, my top pick Thousand Words just never seemed comfortable in the slop and faded to 11th. 

In Race 12, my top pick, Limonite, closed willingly down the stretch and fell just short of catching the winner -- getting nosed-out by my second pick for second place at the wire and finishing third.   

The wager was a bit different for me yesterday. I bet my top pick in each race "across the board" On a $2 scale (I went a little higher than that) I risked $24 dollars in the four races. My return was $18.40. 

Mother nature dealt handicapping a blow yesterday, but...there will be other days.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Oaklawn Late Pick 4 4-11-20

Today we go to Oaklawn for a very challenging late Pick 4 sequence that starts in Race 9. You have the Oaklawn Mile, Oaklawn Stakes, a challenging maiden race and competitive optional claiming affair in the sequence.. Let's get to it! 

RACE 9 -- OAKLAWN MILE -- 150K -- 1 MILE -- (DIRT)

2 -- MR. MONEY

Analysis:  Tom's D Etat is the top pick here. He finished the fall winning three of his last four. Those included the Grade I Clark Handicap (Churchill) and Grade II Fayette (Keeneland). His spring works look great, Joel Rosario returns as rider and it's a class drop for him.  Mr. Money was on an impressive streak (4 for 5) before he was over-matched in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile to end his fall season. His spring works look great and it's a class drop today as well. Regular jockey Gabriel Saez returns.  Snapper Sinclair has run second twice and third once this year at Oaklawn and should be around to hit the board. The jockey change to Florent Geroux doesn't hurt, either. Improbable has a tough post to overcome, ships in from California but has been facing tougher in his last several. Remember, he was 4-1 odds in the Kentucky Derby last May and finished fourth. I can't leave him out. Works have been good for Bob Baffert. If you're looking to go "deep" here (I am not) maybe use Pioneer Spirit and Bankit. 

RACE 10 --  MAIDEN 60K -- 1-1/8TH MILE -- (DIRT) 

7 --   OXIDE
              8 --  URBANITE

Analysis:  What a challenging affair here! I  went with Dean Martini as my top pick. Brad Cox barn, Joe Talamo returns as rider. 2nd at Oaklawn against similar last time out and the works are good. Hunt The Front certainly rates a chance. Two second place finishes in his last two at Oaklawn, gets Joel Rosario today and has lost both his races by less than two lengths. Third time charm? Oxide had the lead and faded in his two starts, one on the turf and one on a sloppy track. If he shows that speed today on a fast track, he just might last. Brian Hernandez, Jr. -- one of my favorite jocks rides -- for sneaky Eddie Kenneally..What A Country was second against similar in his only start. Joe Johnson and "Red Dog" Hartlage can be dangerous as a jockey/trainer combo.  I can't dismiss Instigated -- despite his 0-9 lifetime performance. He'll run early with speed and who knows? Urbanite also jumps back on the dirt after a tough turf race. You got Ricardo Sanata Jr. here with Steve Asmussen teamed up and they can be dangerous. Even Eddy Forever could figure, horse likes to play "come catch me and Orlando Mojica can get them out early Tough race, tough race. 

RACE 11 --  OAKLAWN STAKES -- 200K -- 1-1/8TH MILE  (DIRT) 

1 -- BASIN

Analysis:  Thousand Words won three in a row in California with late stretch closes before getting over-matched in the San Felipe . He won't see competition that tough today, so I make him my tepid top pick, Basin will certainly test him. Two great wins at Saratoga, then he ran third in the Grade II Rebel (against NADAL). Asmussen chooses Florent Geroux to ride and, you know we love "Flo-Geo" in the saddle.  Digital had no chance against MR. MONOMOY last time out in the Risen Star, could rebound today for Bret Calhoun and Brian Hernandez, Jr. Taishan blew the field away in his last, an optional claimer at Oaklawn. Can he repeat that feat?  LOOKING FOR A PRICE? Maybe consider #5 Sir Rick.  This one has won four of his last five, at lesser tracks, but likes to stay near the pace and draws away in the stretch, Today is a huge class test for him. I'll use him. 

RACE 12 -- Optional Claiming -- 50K -- 1-1/16th MILE -- DIRT


Analysis:  Limonite drops to his lowest level in a year in his return to the track. I love the spot for him and the combo of Riicardo Santana and Steve Asmussen. This one comes back to the dirt, too, a surface he definitely loves. Back class all over his past performances. He's my top pick. Popular Kid has two VERY convincing wins at Oaklawn in his last two. He destroyed lesser in the stretch in each. Can he do that today against tougher? Exulting didn't fire in the Grade III Razorback in his last, but he had been on turf in the five races before that and should benefit from a huge class drop. Martin Garcia in the saddle doesn't hurt either. Sonny Smack has ran well at Oaklawn against similar in his last three -- two wins and a second. He has a impressive stretch move and I can't toss him out.  Jungle Warfare hasn't fared well in two shorter dirt distances at Oaklawn. He was a previous turf specialist before that and seems to like a longer race like today's. Buyer beware but the last race at Oaklawn always seems to provide an upset, it seems. He could be a challenger. 

Full fields. Challenging fields. It's a horse-players dream and the payouts might be big today. Play 'em anyway you like. I haven't fully decided how I'll attack these four in betting strategy yet, but -- I'll remind you not to put the mortgage on a mudder and don't be afraid to go deep in the optional claiming and maiden affairs. 

Good luck. Stay well and practice social distancing. 


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Oaklawn Results -- 4/4/20

A so-so, and bit of a disappointing day playing the late Pick 4 at Oaklawn yesterday.  Full fields and a few surprises, especially in Race 10, knocked me out of winning the Pick 4. We saw two huge favorites "bite the dust"...or in this case, flounder in the slop --  at the Arkansas track. 

Usually sloppy conditions have the potential to throw off the best of any handicapping plans, and the was kind of the case here. From the start of the late Pick 4 to the finish.

In race 7..... 9-1 odds Cardamon went to the lead and never relinquished it to the others in the six furlong affair. Unfortunately, this one wasn't one of my top five picks. We did pick up a second place with Inthemidstofbiz, and she was my top pick in the race. Maryanorginger finished out of the money. 

Race 8 got me my first win of the sequence, but it was not odds-on favorite Answer In....who was my top pick. Instead, Finnick the Fierce used an inside move, finished well and got elevated to first, after a stewards inquiry and jockey claim of foul knocked Winning Impression out of the top spot. Fortunately, I gave you "Finnick" in my top four and also the second place finisher General Trey. That was a nice exacta of almost a $35 dollar payout for the $1 exacta play.. A box of my top four cost $12, so we gained a little profit there on that race. 

Race 9  saw another upset of a huge favorite when Frank's Rockette, my top pick, lost the lead in the stretch to a flying Kimari, who came absolutely flying down the middle of the track. A very impressive stretch move by Channing Hill, who subbed in for Mike Smith, who was scheduled to ride bu t didn't make the trip in for the race. I gave you Kimari as one of my top four, I had the top three finishers in the ninth race. The exacta of the top four picks cost $12 and I got back $11.90. As we've said many times here, we can pick winners, but we can't pick what we get paid. 

It all blew up in the final of the day, Race 10. Don Vito Corleone, a 25-1 shot, went to the lead and outran the rest in his first ever start. unfortunately, I didn't see "the Don" as a top contender and didn't give him to you. I did run second and third in the race, with Copper King, who was my top pick in the race and Aztec Empire, who finished third after looking to have a wide open trip on the rail in the stretch and failed to fire...getting show money.

Watching the race with my wife, she mentioned "You know 'the Don' is going to win, Sonny and Michael have the fix in."  (A reference to The Godfather movies.) . She did not put her money where her mouth is, though, and a $52 payout on a $2 wager was never placed. . 

On the day, out of 19 horse provided to you as worthy of consideration, I had two winners, four seconds and two thirds. That's a 42% "in the money" percentage and we filled 66% of the 12 "payout" spots in the four races. (8 of 12).

With the failed pick 4 bet I lined out to you yesterday, I dropped $50. My four exactas cost a total of $48 and returned just about $48 -- so that was a "push".  

That's the way gambling goes sometimes. I guess you could say we had close to four hours of entertainment watching the races on TV and , when you break it down, at $25 a person, we've seen less than stellar musical acts in concert for a lot more $$$$ and a shorter period of time. 

We'll get 'em next week.

If, of course, there is any racing. The COVID-19 is gaining momentum on the far turn now, to use a racing analogy, and these next few furlongs -- or next couple of weeks -- could be very rough for "the rest of the field". 

Stay in, stay away and just survive somehow. 


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Oaklawn/Purple Martin Picks

As the number of tracks running continues to drop, we're seeing less "big" races, but Oaklawn has a very interesting and challenging late Pick 4 available today (Races 7-10) that is a fun one to handicap and features the Purple Martin for three year old fillies in Race 9. 

Two six-furlong sprint affairs and two mile-and-a-sixteenth races make up the sequence. I'm not really sure how I'm going to "attack it" just yet, but Pick 4 players could reap a nice reward if they can afford to go a little deep in their pockets for the wager. The sequence has two Pick 3's as well, and they've been pretty good to me lately, so...we'll see. 

Today's picks will feature my top pick to win at the top of the picks today and then others I feel have a shot. 

Here we go: 



Comments:  Maryanoginger took a stakes race in New York back in the summer, even after stumbling badly at the start. The lack of racing since then worries me a bit but the works look sound, and hot Oaklawn jock David Cohen jumps on. My top pick. Let's look at Inthemidstofbiz. I can't complain about how she's run at Oaklawn in three outings, a win and two finishes less that two lengths behind. She'll contest the early pace, can she hang on? Take Charge Erica was hot at Ellis Park in the summer, closed in here last at Oaklawn and rates a look. Superwondergirl finished second her last two times out at Keeneland and Churchill. Can't ignore her. Savvy Ally comes in from FairGrounds, jumps off the turf to dirt and has been no worse than second in three of her last four. Cardamon could show up. 



Comments:  Answer In has run third or better in all four lifetime starts. Ran third in the Southwest here behind powerhouse Silver Prospector and won't see anything as strong today. Answer In is my top pick. Finnick the Fierce ran second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes this fall at Churchill and if he can return to that form rates a chance. Leaves the FairGrounds and picks up Martin Garcia as the rider. General Trey won her maiden race at Oaklawn with a strong, three wide move and it's a Steve Asmussen runner who could continue to improve. Fort Knox has gotten strong each time out, won convincingly at Fairgrounds despite a bump at the break and could surprise at a price. 



Comments:  Frank's Rockette destroyed the competition at Gulfstream last out and has been first or second in five lifetime starts (including three graded stakes races). She's the top pick. Ring Leader is the speed here, was three for three before stretching out to a distance, goes back to six furlongs today, drops in class and had a nice, last workout. Could be dangerous on top. Lady Glamour ships in from Churchill, had the misfortune of finishing behind Finite twice and  should find the going easier than she did in Churchill's Goldenrod Grade II stakes. Kimari  finished third in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint at 5/2 odds and returns to dirt today with Mike Smith on board. I gotta use her, she's four for five lifetime first or second. Edgeway makes a huge jump from her first start, a maiden win, where she blew out the competition at Oaklawn by five furlongs. She'll be sent early and will try to wire these and we'll see how she handles the class jump. 


8 -- MO AND GO
12 -- ON D' ORO

Comments:  Copper King is purely a hunch here for me. She's 0-8 lifetime and run behind a couple of these today at Oaklawn. Is today the day? Drops in class, is a closer, should get a fast track today and is a Asmussen horse, so I'll nervously make her my top pick. Wild Union has been second or third in seven of his eight lifetime starts. Joe Talamo returns for Brad Cox, Mo and Go drops in class in his second try at Oaklawn. The New York invader as seen better and has a shot. Aztec Empire puts on blinkers today for new trainer Ron Moquett and gets Calvin Borel aboard. Calvin gets them to the rail, this one shows a bit of closing ability and has a chance in a wide open race. On d' Oro gets the horrible post, but Stewart Elliott will try to get her to the lead and see what happens. This one runs better, it seems, on a off-track, so..buyer beware.   A VERY wide open race.

19 horses is a bunch to give you, I know, but it speaks toward the competitive nature of the fields today. I fooled around with a .50 cent Pick 4 that costs $50, and I'll share it, despite my lack of confidence in it:

Good luck today in a very competitive card. Bet 'em anyway you like and remember what we say here, don't put the mortgage on a mudder.