Oaklawn Mile Picks: Rushie should get dream trip

The Oaklawn Mile offers a compelling betting race
The Oaklawn Mile offers a compelling betting race

The $400,000 Graded Stakes Oaklawn Mile has attracted an interesting field of nine this Saturday including Grade II winners in Wells Bayou and Rushie but it is the four-time Grade II winner By My Standards who has opened as the Morning Line choice.

Our in-house handicapper tucks into the race to give us his thoughts and selections...

What sticks out most in this edition of the Oaklawn Mile is the overwhelming amount of early speed signed on, which could complicate things for a horse like Blackberry Wine (#5), who I might have had serious interest in if the dynamics weren’t so unfavorable to his running style. Given the nature of this race, I think it’s easy to default to the returning By My Standards (#6), who at points last year looked like a top older horse. There’s no question the good By My Standards would win this race (and it probably wouldn’t be particularly close), however I have my doubts about him as he makes his 5-year-old debut off a pair of disappointing efforts to close out his 2020 campaign. I can forgive his poor performance in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7, but he then followed it up with a similarly dull run in the G1 Clark. The comment line would have you believe he had serious trouble in that race, though while it wasn’t exactly a clean trip he came up empty in the stretch. He can clearly win, but at a very short price I’m not going to be betting on him to rebound here.

Ideally I’d want a little more than his morning-line odds of 3-1 on Rushie (#4), but he is my top pick in this race as I think it sets up perfectly for him. He’s coming back off a fairly lengthy layoff of his own, however the needle was pointing up on him at the end of his 3-year-old year. While he didn’t blossom into any kind of superstar as a sophomore, he put together a solid campaign and capped it off with a career-best performance in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. If he comes back in similar form he’s going to have a big chance, but I think there’s a distinct possibility he moves forward in his first start at 4 and he’s already won over this track, so the cross-country ship doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Again, I hope he drifts up off his morning-line price, but either way I believe he’s a very likely winner.

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