Horse Racing: RT picks the Thursday Early Pick 5 at Oaklawn
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Horse Racing: RT picks the Thursday Early Pick 5 at Oaklawn

First post is 2 pm EDT.

Oaklawn Early P5


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Right back to give the early pick five another shot. Last time, I had all the right horses identified, yet put the money in the wrong spots.

Hot Springs, Arkansas forecast is for sunny and in the mid 60’s. Perfecto

Race 1 - $30K Claimers N3L

Fillies and mares running eight panels on dirt

On this rare occasion, we have three first time claimers racing. #1 First Empress (3/1) for Joseph Martin who is 4/8 in this situation. It is doubtful that he is going to stay in this man's barn for long, given the fact that he has been claimed four times in the last five races. This horse is out of Cairo Prince, a Godolphin bred, who was winner of the G2 Nashua, G2 Holy Bull, missed by a nose in the G2 Remsen and ran fourth in the G1 Florida Derby. His dam, Whosbeeninmybed, has four foals that are winning at a 17% clip and itm 48% of their races; including this mare who is 9/2-1-1 for $37K lifetime. So, it is safe to say that Joseph has an eye for talent and this four year old filly is going to be dangerous today. #6 Visual Magic (6/1) is a 5 year old mare whose daddy is Jimmy Creed, winner of the G1 Malibu and G2 Potrera Grande stakes. This is her only foal who is 17/2-4-4 for $112K lifetime. Trainer Federico Villafranco is 15% off the claim. Frankly, I am going to toss this horse. Although I have no hard data to back it up, I have noticed that horses claimed from Karl Broberg usually do not fare well in their first outing. #3 Better Biz (4/1) is new to Steve Asmussen’ s barn off the $15K claim a month ago. Asmussen is 23% off the claim; an astounding fact due to the monumental amount of horses he claims. Shipped in from the Fair Grounds, He is coming off what would be four turf races, yet two of those races were moved to the main track. This is another well bred horse, whose father is Fed Biz, a multi Graded Stakes winner. This is the dams, Giftie Gie, only foal and he is 12/2-4-1 for $77K lifetime. Interestingly, she is 4/0-2-0 on the turf for $11.5K, which means she has an 8/2-2-1 on dirt record for $65.5K on dirt, or a little north of $8K per dirt race. #2 Fireside Kitten (2/1) is likely going to take a lot of money because of her high numbers of late. Per contra, those races were on turf or on Turfway's synthetic surface. Additionally, her pedigree (granddad is Gallileo, Europe’s leading turf sire and daddy is Kitten’s Joy 12/9-3-0 on turf), screams turf and this does not look like a well slotted place for her. Belaboring that point, the connections have just changed barns to Genaro Garcia and in her only work for them, she was clocked at 1:03 for five furlongs. This is a horse that is accustomed to working in 1:01 :47 :48 etc. #4 Turnstone (7/2) is looking like the best horse in this race. Her record at Oaklawn of 8/2-2-0 for $108K, her best last Equibase numbers and she is in peak form cycle, all make her the horse to beat. There are a couple of cautions with her a) her trainer, John Ortiz, is a lousy 6% with horses that have just won and b) her history of hitting a high Equibase number shows her bouncing in the next race. #5 Tapalong (5/1) looked like a brand new horse with new jockey Francisco Arietta. In her last, Francisco took her straight to the lead and they never looked back; winning that six furlong race by six and a half lengths. She is stretching out and running a two turn race for the for the first time today. Her sire, Tapizar, was a router, having won multiple graded stakes, yet her dam, Resoundingly was a turf racer who was most effective at shorter distances. She has been a speed horse her entire career and I just do not see a 100 pound jockey being able to stop an 1100 pound horse from doing what it has naturally done in 11 races.

Those are your options. Personally, I am going 1-3

Race 2 - $20K Maiden Claimers

Arkansas bred 3o’s↑ going 8.25 furlongs

My first inclination is to go straight to the horse who has the best last Equibase number, #11 Moon In The Sky (3/1). A class dropper from a 93K smsw to a $30K smcl, He gets his second race of the year at the track. Checking the latest figures, going from a smsw to a smcl, is a 14/134 or a 10.5% proposition. To his credit, the last race was his only race at the smsw level as he has been racing at the msw level the ten previous races. He gets blinkers for the first time today and the return of 27% winner Ricardo Santana on his back. #10 Arlington’s Shine (4/1) appears to be the only one who will challenge Moon In The Sky. Looking like a new horse under jockey David Cabrera in his last, he ran four wide down the backstretch, moved three wide on the turn and closed six lengths on the leader, just missing by 2 lengths, snagging place money. Today he gets blinkers for the first time and with the cutback of 1/2 furlong, along with his wide trip in his last yet still nearly winning, gives credence to the 10 slot being a non-factor.


Race 3 - $10K Maiden Claimer

3yo’s↑ racing one mile.

Heavy favorite, #2 Chicago Chrome (2/1), has assets of great breeding, an excellent Group 1 test result, Brad Cox with his killer numbers, a race under his belt and now 2nd Lasix and a couple of works since his last race. Of course, with assets comes liabilities and with him, you must ask why a $125K OBS 2yo sale horse would immediately drop from only one race in the msw ranks to his second race being a $10K claimer? Caveat emptor.

I think the winner is going to be #7 Gainer (9/2). Claimed two back for Karl Broberg, he was immediately moved up in price, had a very troubled trip encountering a ton of traffic, and finished evenly. He put up a 77 Equibase number – the best of this group. Retaining jockey, David Cabrera, this colt out of Constitution drops back down to the $10,000 level and will be flying late.

The remainder of this field have had several losing attempts to win at this level, so, I am likely going to single the 7 and possibly throw in the 2

Race 4 - $12.5K Starter Allowance N$Y

I went 1-2-4 in this because with #1 Reason To Soar (5/2), would be a fools move of epic proportion to bet against a horse that has finished 1-2-1-1-1-2 (by a head) and 1st in its last eight races. With #2 Hidden Ruler (5/1), he is 11/2-3-1 at OP for $139K, or $12.6K per race, far and away better than the rest of this field. Additionally, horses that post a zero score last time, who are non-hooptie types, come back with a vengeance in their next race. Judging from his 1:00.4 work from the gate on 4/1, he is ready. #4 P R Radio Star (2/1) has the Phil D’Amato/Francisco Arrieta duo hitting at 19%, is second off the layoff after an abysmal turf attempt and has the back class and speed to take this.

Race 5 – $12.5K Claimers N2L

Arkansas bred 3yo’s↑ going six furlongs

I am going anywhere from three to possibly five deep in this race. #5 Prince Leo (6/1) is a 4yo gelding who is third off the layoff and broke his maiden two back. Moving up in class and facing winning horses in his last race, he got an ideal rail trip until Jon Court tried to get a shot when entering the stretch. He managed to get him to the rail in tight quarters and when cleared the horse next to him, this Shakin It Up gelding just missed by a head. It was an impressive performance from a horse who has never raced against winning horses. Usually, betting fresh graduates in their next race is a bad proposition (8/88 in claiming races, according to our records). #10 Boo Be Right (6/1) drops in class today where this gang seems like a much easier spot for him to win. With his early front speed, it would be no surprise if he wired this group. #3 Destinedtobeastar (5/1) is also getting a class drop today and in his last two races has showed marked improvement. The two variable horses are #7 James’s Moonshine (4/1) and #6 Cinco Catalina (3/1), with the preference going to James’s Moonshine and although the public is going to fawn over Cinco Catalina more. Both horses have just broken their maiden, so tread cautiously.

So, depending on your appetite, your ticket can range anywhere from $.50 to . . .

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