Celebrated Oaklawn Park is like a college town ... a college town of horse racing, that is ... Hot Springs is not only celebrating the Christmas Season, but also some glorious racing. It should be an absolute blast!
At Horseracing.net/us we have you covered, including all of the action! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned!
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Most Likely Winner: (Race 4: Sapphire Royalty #2, 7/2):
Trainer John Ortiz has a strong Oaklawn stable in Hot Springs, and when he and jockey Ricardo Santana get together, they are looking tough. Asmussen’s loss … is Ortiz’s gain … Here is a filly by Gemologist that looks smart coming in from Churchill Downs. Her claiming record is not stellar in 2021, but that doesn’t mean that things will not turn around coming to this track. What we do know is that she has faced some tough competition under the Twin Spires, and once at Keeneland, so I think that will serve her quite well in this spot. We might be looking at an overlay at 7/2, but I am not optimistic, especially considering that the word is out about this jockey-trainer combo. Let’s play this one to score … anyway!
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #2
Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 1: News Box #5, 6/1):
Looking for some value on this Sunday card at Oaklawn, I stumbled on this runner from Genaro Garcia’s midst. Even though he does not work with jockey Luis Contreras, the one time they paired together was with this 6-yr-old gelding by Ice Box. On 4 December this experienced entry went 5-wide, and showed some nice energy down the lane. We know he can handle the class, distance, and Garcia’s numbers 2nd off-the-claim are not too shabby. The level of fitness should be sound! What a bet this one will be if he could go off at 6/1 or higher!
Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 8: Dirt, 1 Mile, AOC50k, 3+):
There are a pair of good-looking “features” on this Sunday card, but I want to focus on Race 8 because we have the return of a runner that turned some heads about a year ago. On 22 Jan. @OP, Brad Cox’s Caddo River #1, a 3-yr-old colt by Hard Spun, absolutely obliterated the field in the Smarty Jones 150k. The Shortleaf homebred excited the chatter, and it seemed like his route through the Arkansas Derby Series was really going to put his trainer in a spot … what with all of the solid runners in his midst. But then he missed in the Rebel (G2) at a very short price, and people wondered if he was “1-hit-wonder.” A second to Asmussen’s Super Stock in the Arkansas Derby (G1) was more than respectable. He didn’t make KYD147, but did try the Woody Stephens (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. He was well-back … We have not seen him since, and I would think that a “wait-and-see” approach would be best. His works? Well, they are bullets, so there is no question … he knows how to be a racehorse. I will take a shot against him, and instead back a colt by Union Rags that is conditioned by a fellow with the last name of Lukas … aka “Coach.” D. Wayne Lukas is still out there, doing what he knows best … training. It looks like Atoka #7 is logical, and the 4-yr-old takes a class drop that is just what he needs. Luis Contreras gets the call for the 1st time, and could be a breath of fresh air at some odds that could hover around 8/1. We all know that Cox’s talented homebred is going to be over bet … I am not biting. Lukas wins his 1st of this Meet …