Zerillo’s Horse Racing Picks for Saturday: Multi-Race Strategies for Oaklawn Park

Zerillo’s Horse Racing Picks for Saturday: Multi-Race Strategies for Oaklawn Park article feature image

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Saturday horse racing begins at Oaklawn Park at 1:35 p.m. ET and is highlighted by Race 8, the Count Fleet Sprint (G-3) and Race 10, the Apple Blossom (G-1), at 5:14 p.m. ET and 6:16 p.m. ET respectively this evening.

I’ll take you through the Oaklawn card and provide my favorite win bets, single-race exotics, and multi-race wagering strategies for the day.

Saturday Horse Racing Picks for Oaklawn Park

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Race 1

Time: 1:35 p.m. ET

We begin the day going six furlongs in a fairly deep maiden race, starting with the No. 9 Rivers of Lite (7-2), making his second career start. He’ll need to improve off of that effort — a 47 Beyer — and should after a five-furlong bullet work (first of 33) on April 4. The jockey/trainer combo of Chris Hartman and Corey Lanerie is 13-for-42 (31%, $2.69 ROI) in 2019.

The No. 3 Written Permission (4-1) owns the top last out speed figure (58) when he finished second by a neck after cutting back from 8.5 furlongs.

And the No. 5 My Legacy (6-1) has the top back figures in the field and should improve in his second start off of a layoff.

Lastly, the No. 10 Mayan Ghost (8-1) may be trending the wrong direction, but drops down in class for trainer Norman McKnight – who is 20 for 79 in Maiden Claimers while winning at a similar rate in sprints (26%) and after layoffs between 31-60 days (25%).

Picks: 9, over 5, 3, 10

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Race 2

Time: 2:06 p.m. ET

I like Brad Cox’s No. 9 Metropol (3-1) on top, stretching out in this 1 1/16 mile route. He should appreciate the added ground, and Cox has some key indicators in his corner – 28% win rate in claimers; 26% in routes; 22% going from sprint to route; and 34%, 56 for 166 in the second start off of layoffs between 45-180 days.

But I’m a bit worried about a couple of high-percentage turf to dirt trainers — Tom Amoss (28%) has the No. 3 Delp (6-1), and Federico Villofranco (23%) sends out the No. 4 Times Square (8-1).

Picks: 9, over 4, 3, 2

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Race 3 

Time: 2:37 p.m. ET

This is a one-mile race, and I’ll use a couple of horses who came out of the same key maiden special weight race on March 13.

The No. 9 Too Pretty (3-1) was second by a length that day, and both the eighth and twelfth place finishers came back to win $16K maiden claimers at Oaklawn. Additionally, trainer Daniel Peitz is eight for 48 (17%, $4.66 ROI) when waiting 31-60 days between races.

The No. 10 Lovely Lou (5-2) was third in that same race but ultimately lost ground in the stretch to the top two finishers.

The No. 1 Moonshine Miss (5-1) should improve going around two turns for trainer McLean Robertson – who wins 26% of the time with such moves.

Picks: 9, over 10, 1, 6

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Race 4 

Time: 3:08 p.m. ET

The No. 2 Dancin in Paradise (4-1) runs again for trainer Doug O’Neill after a poor effort on April 3. He’ll add blinkers (21%) while cutting back from a route to a sprint (21%), and O’Neill also wins at a slightly higher rate in claimers (24%).

The No. 5 Six Fire (15-1) will have to improve while facing winners for the first time, but you’re getting a square price.

The No. 9 Lady Gusto (7-2) runs consistent figures and goes out for a barn winning 24% of the time in claimers.

The No. 10 Punish (9-2) figures to take a lot of money. She has barely missed the winner’s circle in each of her past two starts, and sees a jockey upgrade to Joel Rosario.

Lastly, the No. 11 Oh My Oh (6-1) is an intriguing runner, second off of the claim for the Borel brothers. She gained on Punish in the stretch of her last start, and should be in contention after a couple of good recent works.

Picks: 11, over 10, 2, 5

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Race 5 

Time: 3:39 p.m. ET

Trainer Michael J. Maker wins 30% of the time going from Maiden Special Weights to Maiden Claimers, so the No. 3 Master of Domain (3-1) should pique your interest.

Note: The No. 3 Master of Domain was scratched. 

The rate is even higher for the No. 9 Liam’s Tempest (4-1) and trainer Tom Amoss — four for 12 making the same move with a 30% win rate overall in maiden claimers.

However, I don’t think his horse is fast enough to win. My only alternative is the No. 4 Skyvalue (7-2), the only horse besides Master of Domain with a last-out Beyer higher than 50.

Picks: 3, over 4, 9, 12

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Race 6

Time: 4:10 p.m. ET

Two horses in this 1 1/16 mile route have back speed figured over 80: The No. 5 Dr. Hipp (6-1), trained by Randy Matthews, who wins 22% of claimers; and the No. 12 Altito (4-1), trained by Tom Amoss, who wins 23% of claimers.

My alternatives are the No. 4 Dangerfield (6-1), who returns to the claiming ranks, and the No. 6 Gray Sky (5-1), who ran a career-best last-out while winning a 10K claimer.

Picks: 12, over 5, 4, 6

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Race 7

Time: 4:42 p.m. ET

Bob Baffert’s No. 5 Dessman (5-2) is the one to beat, stretching out from 6.5 furlongs to a mile in his second start of the year.

Baffert wins 30% of the time in allowance races, and he’s 9 for 21 (43%) when adding blinkers, which Dessman had in his maiden victory, and he’s the only horse in this field to crack a 90 Beyer.

My backup options are the No. 1 Wild Popit (4-1), who is two-for-two at this meet, having beaten a few next out winners, and the No. 8 Hersh (10-1) who also adds blinkers and goes out for a new barn.

Picks: 5, over 1, 8, 7

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Race 8 (Count Fleet)

Time: 5:14 p.m. ET

The No. 9 Whitmore (5-2) is looking for a record third victory in the Count Fleet, and won’t have to face as brutal a foe as he did last year in one of my all-time favorite horses, Mitole.

He could also go over $3 million in career earnings with a win or place effort, and should be able to work out a good stalking trip behind a fair amount of speed. He owns three triple-digit Beyer scores in his past four starts, has had a ton of success at Oaklawn Park, and is my clear top selection even in a loaded race.

The No. 4 Bobby’s Wicked One (3-1) and No. 7 Hidden Scroll (4-1) figure to hook up with one another on the front end, in addition to the other early speed in this race. I don’t really want much of those two at short prices.

Instead, their presence should help to set up a pace scenario for Whitmore, the No. 2 Flagstaff (7-2) who ships in from California, the No. 3 Hog Creek Hustle (15-1), and the deep-closing No. 11 Nitrous (20-1) – and I’ll likely be utilizing that group of four in some single race exotics.

Whitmore and Flagstaff are the “A” options for multi-race wagering.

Picks: 9, over 2, 3, 11

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Race 9 

Time: 5:45 p.m. ET

I’ll go four deep in this six-furlong sprint for older female horses.

The No. 1 Shanghai Tariff (5-2) has the speed to wire the field.

From Brad Cox’s two runners, I’ll take the higher-upside No. 6 Break Even (3-1) who has the most back class in this race – but she was flat in her last start.

The No. 8 Heavens Whisper (6-1) is the most consistent, and the one who will seemingly pick up the pieces if Break Even doesn’t fire.

But I can’t leave off the No. 9 Mt. Brave (10-1) who hasn’t run her best since moving over from Remington Park, but could find her way into an excellent trip if she regains that form.

Picks: 6, over 8, 1, 9

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Race 10 (Apple Blossom)

Time: 6:16 p.m. ET

The No. 11 Serengeti Empress (4-1) and No. 14 CeCe (7-2) are the deserving top selections for this 1 1/16 mile Apple Blossom, even amidst this deep field.

They’re the only two horses coming into Saturday on the back of a triple-digit Beyer figures, though the No. 4 Come Dancing (3-1), who ran a 114 last April, stands to improve for new-trainer, Hall-of-Famer D. Wayne Lukas; I just prefer her shorter distance races.

I’m worried about how close CeCe can get to the early pace from her wide post, and there should be ample speed in this race to challenge the front-running Sergengeti Empress early.

The horses I like to work out a good trip include the No. 1 Ollie’s Candy (12-1), No. 6 Street Band (15-1), No. 12 Go Google Yourself (12-1), and No. 13 Lady Apple (15-1).

I wouldn’t be surprised if any of them steals this Grade 1 race late in the stretch.

If Cece can get a clean break and work out a midpack or better stalking trip from her outside post, Serengenti Empress could be worn down by the time that they hook up.

Picks: 14, over 11, 6, 13

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Race 11

Time: 6:47 p.m. ET

I would take four horses in the final race of the day, in the No. 2 Kurilov (7-2), No. 8 Super Dude (6-1), No. 5 Degrom (6-1), and No. 10 Matrooh (5-1) to finish off any multi-race wagers.

Picks: 2, over 5, 10, 8

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Bets for Oaklawn Park, April 18

Favorite Win Bets

  • Race 2: No. 9 Metropol (3-1)
  • Race 7: No. 5 Dessman (5-2)
  • Race 8: No. 9 Whitmore (5/2)

Sample Multi-Race Wagers

  • Daily Double (Race 1): 3,5,9,10 / 9 ($2 Ticket = $8)
  • Pick 4 (Race 1): 3,5,9,10 / 9 / 1,9,10 / 2,5,9,10,11 ($0.50 Ticket = $30)
  • Daily Double (Race 2): 9 / 1,9,10 ($2 Ticket = $6)
  • Pick 4 (Race 5): 4/ 4,5,6,12 / 1,5,8 / 2,3,9,11 ($0.50 Ticket = $24)
  • Daily Double (Race 7): 5 / 9 ($5 Ticket = $5)
  • Pick 5 (Race 7): 5 / 2,9 / 1,6,8,9 / 11,14 / 2,5,8,10 ($0.50 Ticket = $32)
  • Pick 4 (Race 8): 2,9/ 1,6,8,9 / 11,14 / 2,5,8,10 ($0.50 Ticket = $32)
  • Daily Double (Race 9): 6 / 11, 14 ($5 Ticket = $10)


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