Oaklawn Park Picks: Choctaw Charlie should rebound in finale

Oaklawn Park wraps up the week with a 10-race card on Sunday
Oaklawn Park wraps up the week with a 10-race card on Sunday

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Another week of racing at Oaklawn Park comes to an end on Sunday with a terrific 10-race card. As usual, our in-house handicapper has made picks for every race and has additionally provided select analysis throughout the card.

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Horse Racing Picks

Most Likely Winner:  James’s Moonshine (Race 2) - It should come as no surprise that this maiden claimer for Arkansas-breds is a very weak race. As such, James’s Moonshine should have no trouble handling this ragtag crew on the stretch-out in distance. A confirmed router, this horse ran better than expected in his last start going six furlongs over this track and should improve now that he gets to go two turns again, not that he needs to in order to beat this field.

Best Value:  Choctaw Charlie (Race 10) - Ordinarily there’s no amount of trouble a horse can have that will make me forgive a -0 Beyer Speed Figure, but Choctaw Charlie is a rare exception to the rule. This filly aptly had zero chance in her last race when she was pinched early, checked badly around the far turn, then seemed to be mounting a rally only to be steadied again. I believe her complete non-effort (or so it would appear on paper) can be forgiven, and last year as a 3-year-old she was already running races faster than her competition today. I feel confident that she can get back to those kinds of efforts, which would make her very tough to beat, and she should be a square price.

Other Races of Interest:  Race 5 - I wouldn’t accept a short price on anyone in this wide-open conditioned claimer, which is why I’m going with relative longshot Soldier Boy (#3). While he’s been pretty dreadful so far at the meet, both of his races at Oaklawn have come on wet tracks and I thought he took a step in the right direction last out when he flashed sharp early speed. He still earned a 51 Beyer Speed Figure despite fading badly in the stretch and even that number puts him squarely in the mix here. This horse was once a promising dirt sprinter and he may be able to stir the echoes in this spot.

Race 8 - The morning line has been out of whack for much of the meet at Oaklawn so perhaps I shouldn’t get too excited about Darren’s Fortune (#2) being listed at 10-1, however it does still feel as though he’s going to be an overlay in this race even if he’s half that price. I think some may disregard the strength of his recent races since they came at lowly Mountaineer Park, but I think marathon experience is a big advantage and he clearly relished these distances in those races. Also consider that three starts ago he ran really well on a major circuit at Churchill Downs, finishing just behind top starter horse Frost Or Frippery. If he returns off the bench in the same kind of form he’s going to be a handful here.

 

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