RT's Saturday 1.15 picks for Tampa Bay Downs and Oaklawn Park: Two stakes races and a Maiden Special
Stakes & Maiden America 1.15.2022
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Tampa Downs Race 5 – The $125K Pesco Stakes
3yo’s going seven furlongs
I am taking the only Kentucky bred in this race, 1-Provocateur (3/1), who is an Into Mischief colt and trained by the hottest trainer in the country, Todd Pletcher (41%). Provocateur broke his maiden here three weeks ago, breezed four furlongs in :48.4, and look for Antonio Gallardo to take him straight to the front.
Tampa Bay Downs Race 6 – The $125K Gasparilla Stakes
3yo fillies going seven furlongs
2-Devine Charger (4/1) who’s last two races have been tougher than most have run against here. It wasn’t until the connections raced him on dirt, did this Will Take Charge colt’s talent surface. He is coming off a hard fought battle with 8-Strategic Bird (5/2) in the Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa, where he fought tooth and nail to the end, only to miss by a neck. He has had two freshenings since, with a :48 in his most recent.
Oaklawn Park Race 7 - $84K Maiden Special
3yo’s going one mile
My pick is 2-Kupuna (5/2) Just missing by a neck last out at Churchill on Nov. 28, Kupuna shipped to OP for the winter meet. His last race earned him a best of this group 92 Equibase figure where he fought with Surfer Dude, who next out finished third to Epicenter and Tejano Twist in the Gun Runner Stakes. He worked a blazing :46.5 ten days ago, so he has the talent to run away and hide in this race.