Celebrated Oaklawn Park reminds me of a college town ... a college town geared for horse racing that is. Everything in Hot Springs is about the Meet, and everyone in-town knows what to do. A weekend of racing is ahead as OP adds a new "Non-G" stakes race, the aptly-named Poinsettia S. It should be an absolute blast!
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The Gary and Mary West-owned 3-yr-old colt by Street Sense needs some class relief after running in his 1st race with his new barn at Churchill Downs back on 24 Nov. Brad Cox sent him into MSW120k contest, and he just did not do much in the way of running—ended up 7th/11. There was purpose in that failure because Cox used it to find a much more appropriate spot. He is a master at such moves, and I think the trainers at Oaklawn are wary when they are going up against him. This well-bred runner is just itching to break his maiden, and I think at odds of 3/1, you are looking at a solid winner from an excellent barn. Recalibration is key in situations like this, and jockey Florent Geroux can lead the way!
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #5
Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 2: Sacred Oath #5, 10/1):
Bug girl Chel-C Bailey got her 1st win at Oaklawn on Friday, and she is looking for more. Weighing in at 115, she has that in her corner, but more importantly, a strong ability in the saddle. Her mount today for Norm McKnight looks inviting, especially since this runner has spent since July running at Woodbine’s Summer and Fall Meet. That was some good ALLW Co. this 5-yr-old gelding was up against, and I think it could be of use at this level in Hot Springs. The offspring of Quality Road can be pretty versatile at a variety of distances. Let’s back this price (10/1), and see if Bailey can keep her streak going on Saturday.
Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Poinsettia S., $150k, 3):
With Oaklawn now running in December, it gives the Cella organization the opportunity to expand their wonderful stakes schedule. This “Non-G” event is therefore new to the line-up, but it brings together an interesting bunch of 3-yr-olds. Of course, most of the Oaklawn faithful will be rooting and betting on the Asmussen entry, Super Stock #4. The reigning Arkansas Derby winner was awfully good the last time he visisted Hot Springs, and coming off a win out at Zia Park in a high-priced $250k event just a couple of weeks ago, he is looking to runback strong in this spot. I am against this son of Dialed In because I’ve watched him falter on 3 occasions (LS/PRM/RP). I do not think there will be much in the way of value here … my guess is that Keith Asmussen’s (part-owner) colt will hover around 4/5 before post time. Instead, I am much more enthusiastic about Karl Broberg’s Flash of Mischief #3. Here is a runner that breaks well, rates nicely, and has the back class to easily game with this crowd. Jerry Namy is one of the “good’uns” in this business of racing as an owner, and it would be excellent to see this son of the great Into Mischief come to OP ready to fire. I do not think the stretch out to 1 1/16th will be much of a problem. After that last effort at Delta, he looks fit as can be. Let’s use Broberg’s ace on top, but I also what to roll 2 others in underneath to complete this Superfecta ticket that I have planned. Using Tom Amoss’ Defeater #2 and Mike Maker’s Simovitch #6 are logical considering that they are coming off of strong performances in their last races, respectively. That should be a nice, juicy ticket … Poinsettia … on!
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Superfecta, 3 w 2/4/6 w 2/4/6 w 2/4/6