Horse Racing Picks for Friday, May 1: Value Bets and Exotics for Oaklawn Park

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Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

It’s Arkansas Derby weekend at Oaklawn Park the cards over the next two days are, arguably, the best collective group of races we’ve seen this year at any track, and it will serve as a fitting close to the final week of the Oaklawn meet, following the split-division Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on Saturday.

There are 10 races at Oaklawn Park today and the action gets underway at 2:05 p.m. ET.


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Race 1

Time: 2:05 p.m. ET

No. 9 Destiny’s Love (3-1) comes into Friday on a two-race win streak and will make her first off the claim for trainer Robertino Diodoro, who wins 24% first after the claim. Furthermore, Diodoro wins 31% of the time when running back in a claiming race and 27% of the time when his horse won last time out. Destiny’s Love has two wins and one second at Oaklawn and four wins and one second at this distance. She’s my top pick.

I also like No. 7 Giro Kate (8-1). She is getting fairly significant class relief today after finishing a dismal ninth is a $25K claiming event. Trainer Cipriano Contreras is 34% when dropping at least two classes, 35% second start with trainer and 22% second after the claim. She also gets jockey Martin Garcia today and he is winning at 20% in sprint races.

While she’s dropping in class, she will need to improve today, but at the price, I’m including her.


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Race 2

Time: 2:35 p.m. ET

Down on the rail is No. 1 So Alive (3-1) for trainer Brad Cox. He’s getting significant class relief today after finishing fourth to By My Standards last time out.

Cox is 30% first time claiming, 25% when shipping in and 24% first off the layoff. So Alive’s speed figures also make him very competitive in this spot. He will have to overcome his post position, but I’m making him my top pick.

Towards the outside is No. 11 Tez (4-1). He is also getting class relief, although not as much as So Alive. He’s a horse who is always competitive with two wins, two seconds and three thirds from 11 career starts.

Trainer Tom Amoss is 29% in claiming races and 26% in dirt starts. Ideally, Tez is a little closer to the lead in the early going than he was in his last race, when he was last and had to make a big, sustained move to finish fourth by 2 1/2 lengths. The added distance should help him here. I’ll be using him in this race.


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Race 3

Time: 3:05 p.m. ET

No. 7 The Mary Rose (5/2) has one win and two seconds from six career starts. All three of her career placings have come right here at Oaklawn. She finished second in both of her last two starts by less than 3 lengths total.

In her last race, The Mary Rose was boxed in at the quarter pole, costing her the win. Two starts back she missed by a nose, as she was between rivals. The biggest concern with The Mary Rose is that this will be her third start in 29 days, so it will be interesting to see if she is well rested and able to fire this time out. While I’m using her, I don’t like the lack of rest so I’ll look elsewhere for my top pick.

That honor goes to No. 2 All About Clara (6-1). While she hasn’t seen the winner’s circle since last August, this filly closed well her last time out, only missing by a neck. That was the same race where The Mary Rose lost by a nose.

All About Clara clearly can hang with the favorite in here and jockey Kelsi Harr has been riding really well as of late. If Harr can have All About Clara a little closer in the early stages, watch out for these two ladies to be flying late to get up in time. At the price, I’m making her my top pick.

The other horse I liked in here was No. 10 Lil Tater (9-2). She ran in the same race as The Mary Rose and All About Clara in her last time out and she finished well, but still came in fifth by 1 1/2 lengths.

Jockey Walter De La Cruz will need to have her closer, which seems to be her preferred running style, since she won two races back by sitting on a stalking trip.


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Race 4

Time: 3:35 p.m. ET

To be honest, there isn’t much to like about this race. I’m probably just going to stay away, but if I had to choose, No. 6 Hinton (4-1) would be my top pick. He’s run over an off track in all four of his starts this year and he doesn’t seem to like that surface. In three career starts over the fast main track, which he’ll see today, he has one win and one second. He’s also dropping one class in this spot.

No. 9 Satellite (6-1) would be the other one I would use in here. Jockey Ricardo Santana will need to ensure that he breaks well as Satellite has shown a good turn of foot lately, but he’s always too far back to really make an impact. Trainer Federico Villafranco is 22% in claiming races and Villafranco and Santana are winning at a 25% clip together in the last 60 days.


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Race 5

Time: 4:06 p.m. ET

All the way to the outside is No. 12 Degrom (9-2). He is a very competitive horse with nine wins, seven seconds and seven thirds from 36 career starts. He hasn’t finished worse than third in his three starts this year. He closed well last time out and is getting some class relief in this spot. He’s my top pick.

Next is No. 7 Lngtermrelationshp (6-1). He’s dropping into the claiming ranks from the allowance level for trainer Ron Moquett. Lngtermrelationshp has two wins, five seconds and three thirds from 15 career starts over the fast main track.

While he doesn’t love to win, it was too hard for me to leave him off my card since he is competitive, getting class relief and he gets jockey Joel Rosario aboard. I’m using him in here.


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Race 6

Time: 4:36 p.m. ET

This maiden special weight consists of five first-time starters, making it a difficult race to handicap.

No. 10 Onaway (5-2) is one of the horses with experience under his belt for trainer Brad Cox. He finished fourth in his debut after being last away from the gate and four-wide at the quarter pole. He’s been training well since then and if jockey Javier Castellano can get him away from the gate in good order, he stands a big chance in here.

After Onaway, I looked to a couple of debutantes. No. 12 Inis Gluaire (3-1) was purchased for $825K at the OBS March 2019 sale and trainer Steve Asmussen is 21% in maiden special weight races. Inis Gluaire has been training well leading up to his debut.

No. 9 Super Constitution (8-1) for trainer McLean Robertson has also been training well. Roberston is 21% with first-time starters, 22% debuting in maiden special weight races and 21% overall in maiden special weight races. Super Constitution was sired by Constitution whose offspring win at 24% first time out.


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Race 7

Time: 5:06 p.m. ET

The last four races of the day feature three stakes races, one of them being graded. This is the first non-graded stakes event of the day.

I ended up on No. 3 K J’s Nobility (5/2) who is coming in on a two-race win streak for the Borel brothers. Since moving over to trainer Cecil Borel’s barn, K J’s Nobility hasn’t missed the board, with four wins, two seconds and two third-place finishes dating back to last April. He’s a horse for the course with six wins in 14 starts at Oaklawn.

The biggest question will be can he get the distance. He is stretching out to a mile and 1/6th after only running in 6 furlong sprints this year.

No. 11 Man in the Can (6-1) is coming in off a win against similar company last time out. That was his first start off a short layoff for trainer Ron Moquett. Joel Rosario will be back in the irons and always seems to time his rides perfectly with closers.

Moquett and Rosario are 40% when teaming up in the last 60 days. Similar to K J’s Nobility the biggest question for Man in the Can will be the distance.


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Race 8

Time: 5:38 p.m. ET

This is another non-graded stakes race with a competitive field. After going over this race a few times, I kept coming back to No. 10 Antoinette (8-1) for trainer Bill Mott. This will be her second start off the layoff after running in the G2 Fair Gounds Oaks last time out, where she finished third. She had to wait for room at the 5/16ths pole and again at the 1/4 pole. If jockey John Velazquez can work out a better trip for her in here, I really like her at the price. She’s my top pick.

No. 3 Gingham (3-1) for trainer Bob Baffert is another one of interest. Baffert’s home away from home is Oaklawn and he is 31% when his horses are shipping in.

Gingham is coming in off a layoff after finishing second in a G2 event at Santa Anita in early February; Baffert is 30% off the layoff. Gingham has only missed the board once in seven career starts and that was against G1 company over an off track.

He’s getting the blinkers back on here and Baffert is 35% when putting the blinkers back on. Jockey Martin Garcia and Baffert has teamed up five times in the last 60 days and are a perfect 5-for-5. You have to include him here.

The last horse I gave consideration to was No. 7 Strong Flag (9-2) for trainer Steve Asmussen. He’s been competitive in all four career starts, only missing the board once. Asmussen is 20% in route races and 26% when he was beaten as the favorite last time out. Strong Flag only missed by a length in his last start and should appreciate the extra distance here. He’s another one that I’m including.


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Race 9

Time: 6:09 p.m. ET

The feature of the day is the G3 Fantasy Stakes. This is an extremely deep field of 14 horses, including six graded-stakes winners and another two who are graded stakes placed.

No. 2 Venetian Harbor (2-1) for trainer Richard Baltas has been eye popping in her two dirt starts. Last time out, in the G2 Les Vergnes, she won by 9 1/4 lengths and was in hand late. In her maiden breaking score she won by 10 lengths in hand. Jockey Flavien Prat is shipping in from California to ride this filly who seems to be on the Kentucky Oaks trail. She’s my top pick.

No. 5 Harvey’s Lil Goil (12-1) stands a big chance at a great price in here. This daughter of American Pharoah has also won both of her starts on the dirt in impressive fashion. She broke her maiden in December by six lengths and then came back in early February in a non-graded stakes race to win by 7 1/2 lengths. Her speed figures have steadily improved over her three career starts. Harvey’s Lil Goil has been training well leading up to this spot and one that I’m going to include at the price.

No. 10 British Idiom (5-2) has had a great start to her career for trainer Brad Cox. She broke her maiden at first asking and then went on to notch back-to-back G1 victories, the second being the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. In her only start this year she finished a disappointing second behind Finite.

The transition from ages 2 to 3 is always a big question mark for horses and it is still a question for this filly. I’m including her, but if she doesn’t win today, I’m not sure that I will be a believer anymore.

The last horse I included was No. 7 Shedaresthedevil (12-1), who is also coming out of the Cox barn. While she doesn’t have the class that her stable-mate has, she has proven herself as a 3-year-old, winning last time out in the G3 Honeybee right here at Oaklawn.

Shedaresthedevil will need to continue to improve as she faces tougher competition in here, but she’s one who likes to sit a stalking trip and as mentioned before jockey Joel Rosario always seems to time his rides perfectly. At the price, she’s one I couldn’t leave off.


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Race 10

Time: 6:38 p.m. ET

No. 6 Spend Spend Spend (7-2), another horse featuring the Baltas-Prat combo, is my top pick. She has two wins, three seconds and one third from eight career starts. Her speed figures make her extremely competitive in this spot and Baltas is 31% after the claim.

While we haven’t seen her since August of last year, she’s been training exceptionally well leading up to this spot with her most recent work out being a bullet 4-furlong work in 47 3/5 seconds.

Just to her outside is No. 7 Wholehearted (5-2). While she is always competitive at Oaklawn having a win, three seconds and four thirds from eight career starts, she just doesn’t seem like a horse who loves to win. Last time out she won against non-graded stakes competition, but that was at Will Rogers Downs against much lesser quality.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro is 27% when winning last out and Diodoro and jockey David Cohen have teamed up 65 times in the last 60 days, winning 20% of time. She’s the other one that I’ll be using in here.


Bets for Oaklawn Park on May 1

Race 1

  • Win: 9
  • Exacta box: 7,9
  • Double: 7,9/1,11

Race 2

  • Win: 1
  • Exacta box: 1,11

Race 3

  • Exacta: 2,7,10

Race 5

  • Win: 12
  • Pick 3: 7,12/6,7,9,10,12/3,11

Race 6

  • Pick 5: 6,7,9,10,12/3,11/3,7,10/2,5,7,10/6,7

Race 7

  • Pick 3: 3,11/3,7,10/2,5,7,10

Race 8

  • Win: 10
  • Exacta box: 3,7,10
  • Double: 3,7,10/2,5,7,10

Race 9

  • Exacta box: 2,5,7,10

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]

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