Oaklawn Park Picks: Quarterback Dak the play in Race 7

Oaklawn Park is back in action on Friday with another nine-race card
Oaklawn Park is back in action on Friday with another nine-race card

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It's full steam ahead at Oaklawn Park, where another fine nine-race card will be on display on Friday. As usual, our in-house handicapper has made picks for the entire program and has additionally provided select analysis of the races.

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Horse Racing Picks

Most Likely Winner:  Mighty Mischief (Race 5) - This 3-year-old Into Mischief colt ran really well in his debut here on February 7, when he nearly led a quality field of older maidens from start to finish. He does still have to contend with older horses in this spot, but he ran so well in his first start that it shouldn’t matter. If he runs back to that race, or even improves upon it, he’s going to be very tough to beat.

Best Value:  Quarterback Dak (Race 7) - At first I thought this horse was a bit of a trap. He’s coming off a race at Keeneland in which he had obvious trouble based on the comment line and was claimed out of that spot by Al Cates, who is a far weaker trainer than his previous conditioner Wesley Ward. Furthermore, Quarterback Dak got a phenomenal setup in that race against a weaker field. For those reasons I didn’t much care for him as I gave this race a cursory look, but upon going back and watching his last race I completely changed my mind. Quarterback Dak didn’t just have a little trouble in that race, he was completely stonewalled in the stretch when he appeared to be making a winning rally. The possibility remains that he regresses in his first start for Cates, but I am encouraged that he’s being protected in this spot and he appears to be working well at Keeneland.

Other Races of Interest:  Race 6 - Crypto Cash (#3) is probably the horse to beat in this race as he exits a much tougher allowance spot at Fair Grounds, however I worry that this horse isn’t cut out for sprinting. Candy Cornell (#8) also looks imposing based on his 2020 Oaklawn form, but he’s been off for awhile now and returns for a tag following some mediocre performances to end the year. In my mind, that leaves us with Energizer (#4) as this race’s most likely winner, though he’s unlikely to be bet as such. Energizer endured a difficult trip in his last race, in which he was left at the back of the pack over a muddy track, and if he gets back to the race he ran two back at Fair Grounds he should be able to beat this bunch.

Race 8 - Caribbean (#4) isn’t going to be a big price, but I think he’s the right horse in the day’s feature. This guy has been especially good at Oaklawn for trainer Robertino Diodoro, so it should come as no surprise that he ran a huge last out over this surface when he set a rapid pace and was run down by Rated R Superstar, who recently finished second in the Essex. Caribbean’s main competition Green Light Go (#5) also ran well in the Essex, which clearly is a much better race than this, however the stumbling block for me is that it was contested just a week ago. I’m not sure Green Light Go can duplicate that performance, whereas I believe Caribbean is primed for another big effort.

 

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Horse Racing Results

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