We’re letting the weather handicappers point me in the direction I prefer to go. Every map I looked at promised rain in South and North Florida but for a change, meteorologists say it will be dry in Hot Springs on Saturday so off we go.
We’ll attempt to make a tiny score in a Pick 3 at Oaklawn Park starting with the seventh race for older horses going a mile, followed by oft-entertaining Grade 3 Count Fleet sprint and concluding with a wide open optional allowances sprint going three-quarters.
The drama could be over quickly as the play will be to single Dessman (5-2) in the first leg. It’s a master-of-obvious scenario as Martin Garcia reunites to Bob Baffert with the class dropping, fast working allowance runner-up here last year, almost enduring a tough trip going two turns as a 1-2 favorite.
The blinkers are back on today, a 32% profitable angle for this barn, with a horse making it’s second start this year. Since that sprint, he’s worked four times, including a two-turn seven-eighths move at SA before an April 13 half mile blowout on today’s track. Sitting on go with serious intent.
Things open up after that as we’ll spread with five horses in the second leg: fast working Flagstaff (7-2) for Team Sadler/ Rosario; Bobby’s Wicked One (3-1) who rates to benefit from his recent return; talented Hidden Scroll (4-1) for Bill Mott in search of blacktype; Horse for Course Whitmore (5-2), and price shot Share the Upside (10-1) for suddenly resurgent Steve Asmussen.
To finish up, we’ll go four deep in the ninth with Course Horse and trip loving Shanghai Trail (5-2); value-laden Headland (10-1), who loves it here, and an uncoupled pair from Brad Cox, improving Meadow Dance (4-1) and Break Even (3-1), getting class relief and Rosario.
The cost of a 50-Cent P3 is $10. Should we succeed, and even if not, we’re taking a stand with Street Band (15-1) in the Apple Blossom, who would represent value at half of her early line quote.
Larry Jones trained 4-year-old makes her second start this year after chasing a loose Serengeti Empress in speed-favoring slop here in the G2 Azeri March 14. She tired in midstretch as if short of top condition, but that shouldn’t be the case here.
Jones put her on the fence twice since that event, going 59 4/5 then following up with a bullet breeze in 59-flat. Her Grade 1 win at this trip in the Cotillion last year at Parx improved her record at the trip to (8) 4-0-2.
She has tactical speed to put her in this, a good mid-post in a large field, Sophie Doyle rides her like she owns her, going back to March of 2019 and the filly can kick.
If Doyle can work out a trip, her filly is fast and classy enough to run down these talented girls late. How about old school W-P-S and an exacta box with two other price shots, Ollie’s Candy (12-1) and Lady Apple (15-1).