Road to Kentucky Week 9

Back to Oaklawn today for the final week of major Derby preps. Eskendereya has already established himself as the Derby favorite but horses can develop quickly this time of year. Perhaps Super Saver, Nobles Promise or Dublin could come out of the Arkansas Derby and make some noise in three weeks. The contest bonus race is the G1 Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland, featuring Odysseus, Pleasant Prince, and the Pletcher duo Aikenite and Interactif. 2007 Derby winner Street Sense used the Blue Grass as his final prep before heading to Churchill Downs. Full fields at Oaklawn Park today, good luck with your selections!

Race 1: This is a Clm5000 for 4+ at 1m. I selected Art Thief (ML 6-1) who won at this level two starts back at 7-1. He rallies from off the pace and has four wins in his last ten races.

The Result: Longshot Kippersol sprinted clear and wired the field at 25-1 over Game Play’s Icon (6-1) and Star Vector (6-1). Kippersol was tough to find, he had stopped badly in his last two sprints and was switching to a low percentage rider. On the positive side, he is a 5 time winner at Oaklawn from 19 races. His fourth start off the layoff was the ticket! My selection ran evenly at 7-1.

Maximum Points: Kippersol 858
Maximum Score: 858
My Score: 0

Race 2: This is a Clm5000N1Y for 4+ at 6f. I selected Timely Minardi (ML 12-1) who returns from a three month layoff and has good early speed. He has won twice off the layoff in his past performances and has 6 career wins from 17 starts.

The Result: The two favorites ran 1-2 as No Term Limit (3-1) closed for the win over (Dr. Rythym (1-1). Longshot Chillin Villain (60-1) finished third. The race fell apart on the front end. My selection bid on the turn but faded at 8-1.

Maximum Points: No Term Limit 154
Maximum Score: 1,012
My Score: 0

Race 3: This is a Clm10000 for 3+ f&m at 1m. I selected Molly Will Pass (ML 8-1) who tries two turns for the first time after closing for second in a sprint last time out. She has faced tougher throughout her career and has shown good sprint speed on occasion.

The Result: Sapristi rallied sharply to win at 8-1 over Zippit Honey (7/2) and Safe (7/2). A hot early pace in this one doomed the early speed. My selection tracked and faded at 6-1. She didn’t handle the stretchout. The winner was lightly raced making her third start off the layoff.

Maximum Points: Sapristi 324
Maximum Score: 1,336
My Score: 0

Race 4: This is a Clm7500N3L for 3+ at 1m1/16. I selected Last Martini (ML 8-1) who had the 11 post in his last start. He has a win over the track and makes his fourth start off the layoff. He’s an even runner and gets a rider switch from Hamilton to Castellano.

The Result: a dead heat for the win between Pedestal (5/2) and Devil’s Apprentice (4-1) and Last Martini (5-1) finished third. Castellano switched off Devil’s Apprentice to ride Last Martini and Albarado picked up the win. That’s two consecutive wins for Devil’s Apprentice.

Maximum Points: Devil’s Apprentice 138
Maximum Score: 1,474
My Score: 36

Race 5: This is an Msw43K for 3+ f&m at 6f. I selected first time starter Wild Smoocher (ML 20-1) who is by the win early sire Wildcat Heir (26% wins first time out). Jockey Monterrey already won with a longshot today in race 1.

The Result: Favored Aliyah won it at 9/5 over Rigamaro (5/2) and By n’ by Lord (16-1). The first two finishers had finished 2-3 last time out. My selection showed good early speed along the inside and faded at 13-1.

Maximum Points: Denham 112
Maximum Score: 1,586
My Score: 36

Race 6: This is a Clm25000N3L for 3+ at 1m. I selected King Snake (ML 15-1) who has excellent early speed but has faded badly in his last three starts at Oaklawn Park. He came back with a solid 5f drill since his last race. He takes a drop in class today and switches from jockey Hamilton to Berry.

The Result: King Snake employed new tactics today and dropped back from a very hot early pace. He rallied to win at 15-1 over Hey Smarty (9/2) and Vigilante Law (7/2). That was a nice reversal of form after being beaten over 70 lengths in his last three starts!

Maximum Points: King Snake 572
Maximum Score: 2,158
My Score: 608

Race 7: This is an Msw46K for 3+ at 1m1/16. I selected Mac Dehere (ML 15-1) who has been wide with trouble in each of his three career starts. He gets a rider switch to Court and makes his third start off the layoff.

The Result: Mac Dehere got a perfect stalking trip from the inside and scored by a length at 6-1 over Raven Hawk (10-1) and Tiz Dangerous (5/2). Mac Dehere had the classic “bid – hung” pattern out of his last race and got the money today.

Maximum Points: Mac Dehere 292
Maximum Score: 2,450
My score: 900

Race 8: This is an Alw45000N2L for 3+ at 1m1/16. I selected Tannic (ML 12-1) who makes his third start off the layoff after running a much improved second against claimers in his last start. A repeat of that effort puts him in the mix here.

The Result: Quiet Thanks won it at 8-1 over Buzzin and Dreamin (5-1) and Brickyard (9/2). A very nice price on the winner as he had good early speed and powered to the lead around the far turn. He was making his fourth start off the layoff and had trouble at the break in his previous race. My selection ran very poorly at 7-1 and was never in contention.

Maximum Points: Quiet Thanks 362
Maximum Score: 2,812
My Score: 900

The Toyota Blue Grass: This is the 86th running of the G1 Toyota Blue Grass at 1m1/8. It’s an incredibly wide open race and my theory on synthetics is to avoid the horses that had previously run on dirt tracks. That eliminated Odysseus, First Dude, Pleasant Prince and Aikenite. I selected Paddy O’Prado (ML 10-1) who makes his third start off the layoff and exits a smart, front running win on the Gulfstream turf course. He has two excellent 5f drills at Keeneland and appears to be thriving for trainer Dale Romans. This race could go any number of ways.

The Result: Trainer Michael Maker continues his excellence on synthetic surfaces as his longshot Stately Victor rallied to win decisively at 40-1 odds! Paddy O’Prado (9/2) held on for second and First Dude (9-1) finished third. There’s a contest double point cap horse that will move you up several pages! The winner had been outrun in his last several starts and had finished sixth in his lone start over the synthetic surface at Keeneland last year. He did have the 14 post that day. If you selected him today it was probably based on Maker’s trainer stats on synthetic, which are undeniable. The win points were capped at 600 X 2.

Maximum Points: Stately Victor 2,064
Maximum Score: 4,876
My Score: 1,108

Race 9: This is the featured 74th running of the G1 Arkansas Derby at 1m1/8. I selected Uh Oh Bango (ML 15-1) who finished fourth in the Rebel after a bad start and makes his second start of the year. He might get overlooked in the wagering as Super Saver, Dublin and Noble’s Promise are all trying to move on to Kentucky. On pure speed figures, Uh Oh Bango has run the fastest race of any of these last year at Prairie Meadows and was only beaten by a neck to Rule in last year’s Delta Jackpot.

The Result: Another longshot contest winner as Line of David (17-1) set a very fast pace and held off Super Saver (4-1) and Dublin (5/2). The winner had never run on dirt but had won his last two starts on the turf at Santa Anita. It’s hard to believe he held on after zipping a 46.1 half mile. My selection was well back early and closed belatedly for fourth at 12-1.

Maximum Points: Line of David 1,164
Maximum Score: 6,040
My Score: 1,108

Race 10: This is an OC35K/N2X for 3+ f&m at 1m. I selected Bar Babe (ML 8-1) who makes her third start off the layoff and rallies from off the pace.

The Result: A favorite finally won as Mindy Sue (8/5) held on against Indian Blossom (6-1) and Like Candy (7/2). My selection closed for fifth at 7-1.

Maximum Points: Mindy Sue 106
Maximum Score: 6,146
My Score: 1,108

Race 11: This is the 8th running of the Instant Racing for 3yo fillies at 1m. I selected Jill Marie (ML 15-1) who ran a giant speed figure at Sam Houston two starts back and recently finished second in a stakes race at Delta Downs. She makes her third start off the layoff and should be forwardly placed.

The Result: Decelerator won as the 3/5 favorite over Vertical Vision (14-1) and Bell’s Shoes (4-1). My selection finished 4th at 8-1. Vertical Vision got the most contest points for her second place finish.

Maximum Points: Vertical Vision 122
Maximum Score: 6,268
My Score: 1,108

Race 12: The final race of the contest and the meet is an Alw7500 for 4+ at 1m3/4. I selected Billybud (ML 12-1) who makes his second start off the layoff and breaks from the rail. He has finished in the top three in six of eight races at Oaklawn in his career.

The Result: The favorite won again in wire to wire fashion as Mandurah (2-1) held off Holy Humor (3-1). It was a long ways back to Bobby Sands (9/2) in third. My selection was a well beaten fifth at 7-1.

Maximum Points: Mandurah 128
Maximum Score: 6,396
My Score: 1,108

Summary: Today was a great day to make a move in the contest as there were longshots galore in the double point races. The Blue Grass has had some big prices over the years but today’s 40-1 winner was the biggest price in the history of the race. I strongly believe that none of the 3 year olds we saw today will be a factor in Kentucky. I know Lukas has been high on his horse Dublin, but if you can’t catch a turf horse cutting out a 46.1 half mile going a mile and an eighth on the dirt you aren’t going to win the Kentucky Derby. I would look elsewhere for a winner on the first Saturday in May. There should be a few scores above 3,000 points today, congratulations if you are breathing that rare air. Next week the contest moves to Keeneland for the featured Lexington Stakes. A decade ago, Charismatic parlayed a win in the Lexington to Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins. I guess anything is possible in this game!

The Oracle

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