Horse Racing Picks for Friday, April 24: Best Value Bets for Oaklawn Park
Ross Holburt/Racing Photos
Thursday’s racing will begin at Oaklawn Park at 2:05 p.m. ET – which starts the early $0.50 Pick 4.
The $0.50 Pick 5 begins with Race 7 at 4:36 p.m. ET, and the late $0.50 Pick 4 goes off with Race 8 at 5:06 p.m. ET.
Afternoon thunderstorms might affect track conditions today, so keep that in mind as the race analysis will change depending upon whether Oaklawn’s dirt is fast or sloppy.
Race 1 (Pick 4)
Time: 2:05 p.m. ET
I’m likely going to single the No. 5 Miss Casey Beth (5-2) to start off any multi-race wagers on this Oaklawn card. She has failed to break her maiden in three attempts against better competition at this meet and takes a slight class drop into this maiden claimer while boasting two of the top three speed figures in this field.
I would be more concerned about the No. 10 Do Me a Favor (3-1), but trainer Steve Asmussen only wins 9% of the time in debut maiden claimers.
The No. 12 Aunt Sunshine (10-1) likely offers better value – the Carl Deville / Joe Talamo jockey/trainer connection is four for 16 at this meet, with a $3.14 ROI.
The No. 1 Dat Girl (6-1) would be my other backup option – the only horse besides Miss Casey Beth with a Beyer figure higher than 40, or with solid/consistent race experience in this field. However, her trainer is six for 82 (7%) in maiden claimer races.
Picks: 5 over 12, 1, 10
Time: 2:35 p.m. ET
Like the first race, this is another six-furlong sprint.
I’ll use up to four options in here – beginning with the No. 7 Josie the E F Five (10-1) who romped by five and one-half lengths two starts back in a $12,500 claimer, before coming back flat when jumping to the $25,000 level. She has placed in three stakes races, and will surely be bet down from her morning line number.
The No. 5 Ransomed (3-1) is a horse that you need to use, with eight career wins. Trainer Tim Martin is only seven for 80 (9%) when running a horse again after 31-60 days, and he only wins at a 10% rate in sprints.
The No. 1 Sturdy One (5-2) has 11-lifetime victories, but will need to contest with the long layoff – this is her first start since last May. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is five for 22 (23%) off of the long layoff, and 23 for 98 (24%) with last-out winners.
Doug O’Neill wins 21% of the time in sprints, so the No. 6 She’s a Dime should also be on tickets, and especially while coming in with the best last-out Beyer figure (78)
Picks: 7 over 5, 1, 6
Time: 3:05 p.m. ET
I’ll include both favorites from this race in the No. 3 Anothrdayatthelake (7-2) and No. 12 Napoleon’s Empire (3-1), who finished second and third respectively last out at the same level ($10,000 claimer).
The latter got the worse of the trip last time but could get stuck in a bad spot once again after drawing the widest post.
The No. 8 Down Home Kitten (6-1) has the least experience in the field, but trainer Paul Holthus has a positive ROI both with first-time starters and in claimers – despite a win rate between 12-13%.
The No. 4 Dealin’ Stelen (12-1) looks like the biggest threat to steal the race from a pace perspective but is not one that I will include in my multi-race tickets.
I’ll likely play the 3, 8, and 12 in an exacta and trifecta box too.
Picks: 12 over 3, 8, 4
Time: 3:35 p.m. ET
This 1 1/16 mile dirt route is a bit of a headscratcher to end the early Pick 4 – there are four options that I’ll use, and two which I will tread carefully in leaving off.
I’ll include the uncoupled entry for trainer Tom Amoss in the No. 2 Blunt Force (6-1) and No. 11 Miss Mercken (7-2). Amoss wins 23% of the time at the claimer level, and 20% when running off of a 31-60 day break – applicable to both entries.
Additionally, but applicable only to Miss Mercken, Amoss is 16 for 60 (27%, $2.23 ROI) when moving a horse from turf to dirt.
The No. 8 Dutch Treat (4-1) owns an explosive last-out Beyer figure of 83 – the highest in the field. It’s a clear outlier compared to her other races, but she stays at the same class level here.
The price horse I’ll use is the No. 7 Flatoutandfoxy (20-1) for the Borel brothers – who are high percentage across the board; four for nine after 31-60 days; two for seven with last-out winners; and five for 22 in claimers. They’ll look to come with a late kick to blast past this field.
I’m slightly afraid of the No. 3 Mucha Mezquina (8-1) and No. 4 Indian Bella (8-1), but their trainers each win less than 10% of the time at this level – and I doubt that the odds will be right.
Picks: 11 over 8, 7, 2
Time: 4:06 p.m. ET
This is a deep and difficult field of three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles.
Many are picking the No. 8 Gangly (4-1), who should have ample pace to run at, and whose best Beyer figure was earned at this distance; but trainer Ron Moquett wins just 13% of the time both at the claimer level and in routes; he’s better at training for sprint distances.
The No. 1 Fort McHenry (7-2) is quite dangerous – trainer Doug O’Neill has a 24% win rate at this level with a positive ROI ($2.65) and he’ll get both class relief and added ground.
Brad Cox has eye-popping metrics for the No. 4 River Funn (6-1) – winning 34% of the time second off the layoff ($2.42 ROI) and 27% of the time in claimers (but a $1.54 ROI). This horse could be a victim of pace pressure, but also should relax a bit with blinkers removed.
The No. 7 Icecap (8-1) is intriguing with the Ricardo Santana Jr. / Steve Amussen combo – though he figures to get bet down from that morning line.
And the triple-crown nominated No. 2 New Eagle (4-1) should take money for the high-percentage Michael J. Maker barn (22% in claimers) – who also has the No. 3 Artemus Eagle (6-1).
I’m glad that this race is smack in the middle of the card – it’s one I’m likely to skip before jumping back into the Pick 5.
Picks: 8, over 4, 1, 7
Race 6 (Pick 5)
Time: 4:36 p.m. ET
The No. 1 Kalliste Rose (5-1) should be able to secure a good trip from the rail in this 5 1/2 furlong sprint. She drops back down to the $6,250 level after missing the board for the first time in four starts – and she does have three wins in her past five races. This daughter of Bodemeister is fast enough to win if she gets back to that form.
The main contenders are the No. 4 Lippy (7-2) and No. 5 Louise the Laser (3-1).
The former is second off the layoff for trainer Doug O’Neill (17 for 98) and has faced much classier competition in recent races.
The latter has run consistent speed figures but transitions back to dirt after a successful stay on the synthetic at Woodbine.
Picks: 4, over 5, 1, 3
Race 7 (Late Pick 4)
Time: 5:06 p.m. ET
I see two primary options in this six-furlong maiden special weight – the No. 4 Golden Notion (4-1) for Brad Cox, and the No. 8 Ragtime Blues (3-1) for Bob Baffert.
Golden Notion finished third after an extended layoff on March 21 – but the second and eighth-place finishers were each next out winners with Beyer figures in the ’80s. Golden Notion is the only horse in this field with a previous Beyer in the 80’s, and also owns the highest last-out figure in this race.
Additionally, Cox is 12 for 45 (27%) second off the layoff, and 17 for 51 (33%) when adding blinkers for the first time.
As for Ragtime Blues, his only career race back in September contained three next-out winners, and Baffert is highly successful with maidens in their second start (23%) and in maiden special weights (26%).
The No. 10 Derby Date (9-2) owns the co-highest last out Beyer, but his trainer Jack Sisterson is 0-for-11 in the past two years when adding blinkers.
I’ll play an exacta box using the 4 and 8, and I’ll be betting Golden Notion to win at 5/2 or better.
Picks: 4, over 8, 10, 3
Time: 5:38 p.m. ET
This six-furlong sprint looks like a bit of a spread race in the middle of the late multi-race sequences.
I was able to cut the field in half, but I’m using each of the No. 2 Hidden Ruler (5-1), No. 3 Truck Salesman (6-1), No. 5 Impressed (6-1), No. 9 Julius (5-1) and No. 10 Morning Show (7-2) in multi-race wagering.
And I found it difficult to leave off the No. 1 New Colossus (4-1) for Karl Broberg, who wins 25% of sprint races – but I had to cut somewhere in this difficult group.
Picks: 2, over 9, 3, 10
Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
Steve Asmussen’s No. 5 Volatile (4-1) is my top selection in Oaklawn’s race of the day – a six-furlong sprint featuring a competitive group.
He makes his first start since November, but Asmussen is capable off of the layoff (18%) and this horse has been working well of late for a trainer that’s heating up.
The No. 1 Strike That (3-1) is my primary alternative. Robertino Diodoro wins 27% of the time with last-out winner, 23% of the time in allowance races, and 29% of the time with jockey David Cohen in the irons at Oaklawn.
My other alternative is the No. 12 Battle Station (10-1) who is talented but would need to improve.
I’ll try to beat the 13-time winner No. 6 Hot Shot Kid (8-1) who comes off a long layoff for a barn that wins at an 11% rate off after a long break and at just a 14% clip in allowance races.
Picks: 5 over 1, 12, 6
Time: 6:38 p.m. ET
I would go up to four deep in the final race of the day, a six-furlong $80K optional claimer.
The shorter priced horses include the favorite No. 1 No Parole (3-1) who has the career-high Beyer (89) and won his first three lifetime starts before a no-show in the Rebel stakes on March 14. If you draw a line through that race, he’s clearly the one to beat.
The No. 5 Liam’s Pride (5-1) should fare better in his second start against winners, and especially after a five-furlong bullet workout on April 15.
The price horses include the No. 8 Royal Commission (20-1) who takes a step up in class off of a maiden victory, in a field that includes prior stakes runners. However, he has also been working extremely well and he has the early speed to put himself in contention.
Lastly, the No. 11 Juggernaut (12-1) has been working well after a poor performance in the Iroquois (G-3) where he led through the first three calls but faded to ninth. Facing other pace pressure in this race, I’m unsure if he’ll get an ideal trip.
Picks: 1, over 8, 5, 10
Bets for Oaklawn Park, April 24
Favorite Win Bets
- Race 1: No. 5 Miss Casey Beth (5-2)
- Race 7: No. 4 Golden Notion (4-1)
- Race 10: No. 1 No Parole (3-1)
- Daily Double (Race 1): 5 / 1,5,6,7 ($5 Daily Double = $20 Ticket)
- Pick 4 (Race 1): 5 / 1,5,6,7 / 3,8,12 / 2,7,8,11 ($0.50 Pick 4 = $24 Ticket)
- Pick 5 (Race 6): 1,4,5 / 4,8 / 2,3,5,9,10 / 1,5,12 / 1 ($0.50 Pick 5 = $45 Ticket)
- Pick 4 (Race 7) 4 / 2,3,5,9,10 / 1,5,12 / 1,5,8,11 ($0.50 Pick 4 = $30 Ticket)
- Pick 4 (Race 7): 4,8 / 2,3,5,9,10 / 1,5,12 / 1 ($0.50 Pick 4 = $15 Ticket)
- Pick 4 (Race 7): 4,8 / 2,3,5,9,10 / 1,5,12 / 1 ($0.50 Pick 4 = $15 Ticket)
- Daily Double (Race 9): 1,5 / 1 ($20 Daily Double = $40 Ticket)