Oaklawn Park Picks: An All-Stakes look at the card on April 23 ... Apple Blossom ... OP Stakes ... Oaklawn H.


Oaklawn Park Picks - Saturday, April 23, 2022

  • Race 1: 4-7-10-1
  • Race 2: 5-10-3-11
  • Race 3: 2-5-7-6
  • Race 4: 8-5-12-6
  • Race 5: 2-5-1-3
  • Race 6: 7-1-11-10
  • Race 7: 3-9-5-7
  • Race 8: 4-7-2-3
  • Race 9: 1-6-3-2
  • Race 10: 8-9-3-6
  • Race 11: 2-8-7-3
  • Race 12: 12-3-5-8
  • **Most Likely: Home Brew #4 (Race 8)**
  • **Best Value: Thomas Shelby #2 (Race 11)**

Oaklawn Park is nestled in the cozy "university town" Hot Springs ... no, it's not Little Rock ... Hot Springs is a university town of horse racing ...

This celebrated home of Thoroughbred culture is hosting an extended festival! Betting options are some of the best in the country! The Meet is not done yet! Today, we have a loaded 12-race card, which includes the Grade 1 Apple Blossom! So, enjoy ...

At Horseracing.net/us we have the sport blanketed, including all of the action! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Saturday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter ... Horseracing_USA !!!

Horse Racing Picks


ALL-STAKES PICKS @Oaklawn on Apple Blossom Day

(Race 5: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Apple Blossom H. (G1), $1 million, F&M 4+)

One of the highlights of the Oaklawn Meet is this race for older females … the Grade 1 Apple Blossom. Of course, most of the betting attention will be directed toward Fausto Gutierrez’s excellent mare, Letruska #2. Rightly so … At 7/5, she is a deserving favorite, especially when you consider the St George Stable-owned router is the reigning Older Female Eclipse Award Champion. After such a celebrated ’21 Season, she returned to the track in the Royal Delta (G3) at Gulfstream Park. With Jose Ortiz aboard, she blitzed the competition. As I see it, the only way to beat her is to go hoof-to-hoof with her, right from the start. That’s what Florent Geroux did in the Azeri (G2) last year with Shedaresthedevil, and it might be a plan again. Her chief rival in this spot is a runner that is the reigning Azeri (G2) champ … Mike McCarthy’s Ce Ce #5 is also an Eclipse trophy-holder … Female Sprinter. The SoCal-based conditioner sent her to Hot Springs with the hope that she would relish the distance test, and she did … Winning over Pauline’s Pearl and Shedaresthedevil. Now, the matchup is set … who will win. I do not see anyone else drawn in here that can match either of these talented females. The play is to call an ice-cold exacta, and reap the rewards … It is going to be a race for the ages, and one that could set us up for a rematch in the BC Distaff (G1) at Keeneland in November.

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta, 2 w 5


(Race 8: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Oaklawn S., $150k, 3)

If you are looking for a tough puzzle on this Saturday card, then look no further than this 1 1/8th route. With so many options, it is not going to be easy to nab one out of there 7, 3-yr-olds. My inclination is to back Bill Mott’s Happy Boy Rocket #7. The colt by the popular Runhappy sire missed for Frank Fletcher & Co. a week ago at Oaklawn in an OC100kn1x event. Maybe he did not care for the muddy track … maybe it was the way Ricardo Santana took him back … Whatever the reason, I think he can make a return in here, and run well. He is too well-bred, and the addition of “Blinkers” by Mott sounds like a plan.  Another entry that should enjoy a better trip this time around is Brad Cox’s Home Brew #4. Owned by Gary and Mary West, the colt had a time of it in the Smarty Jones S. $250k on New Year’s Day. Coming off a break, which was probably the best thing Cox could do, it looks like he could be ready to fire. This son of Street Sense has exhibited some strong power on the engine, and if Jose Ortiz can tap into that early, then he could be looking at a nice win. One other 3-yr-old that I want to include is Steve Asmussen’s Stellar Tap #2. Well-bred by Tapit, the colt missed against Ron Moquett’s Ruggs in his last race at Oaklawn on 1 April. That was not a poor effort, especially when you watch the replay … the traffic rival Central Avenue on Arkansas Derby Day. With Joel Rosario serving as pilot, he should be able to turn-the-tables on this field, if the others aren’t careful. What a fun race!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 2/4/7


(Race 11: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Oaklawn H. (G2), $1 million, 4+)

While the Oaklawn S. is for 3-yr-olds, the Handicap is a good ole fashioned slugfest for older runners. You are going to find many names in this race that spark some memories, and I am hoping that a price comes my way … the payoff could be huge! Of course, attention will be divided between Brad Cox’s Plainsman #6, and Todd Pletcher’s Fearless #8. The former was so powerful down the lane in the Razorback H. (G3) back in February, and he really lived up to his low odds. Joel Rosario has the call again, and we will see if he can get this 7-yr-old into position when it matters most. The Pletcher entry is probably glad to be away from Gulfstream Park, and for that matter, his rival, Speaker’s Corner. He finally got a distance in the Ghostzapper (G3) that he could handle, and it was a 6-length score for Luis Saez. Now, Jose Ortiz takes the ride, and there is no question that this one is dangerous. As for other entries, you could make a case for Robertino Diodoro’s Thomas Shelby #2. This seasoned son of Curlin just has not gotten the right pace setup, and if he could control the fractions upfront, then he could pull off an upset. I am sure that Dallas Stewart’s Last Samurai #3, and the Danny Caldwell-claimed Rated R Superstar #5 will need a look too. They have a history of coming in when you least expect it. As for Steve Asmussen, he is present with former Arky Derby Champ, Super Stock #7, a horse who was up against some tough foes in the New Orleans Classic (G2) in late March. This one loves the track at Oaklawn, and he could be one to watch with new jockey Isaac Castillo in the irons. What a field! This might be the toughest race to handicap all weekend. Here is what I came up with … a Superfecta extravaganza!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Superfecta Wheel, 2/8 w 2/8 w 3/5/6/7 w 3/5/6/7


Enjoy another fab Saturday trackside! Best of luck on another run at Oaklawn Park! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!