Horse Racing Picks for Oaklawn Park: Value Bets and Exotics for Friday, April 17

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Oaklawn is running 10 races today, but I honed in on the two non-graded stakes races, along with building out a few multi-race wagers. Let’s dive in:

Race 4

Time: 3:35 p.m. ET

This race, a $6250 claiming event for four-year-olds and up, will be run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles. It features a 12-horse field.

First up we will look towards the inside to No. 2 Gold Backed (9-2). He’s coming in off a win and dropping in class today for trainer Norman McKnight, who wins at 59% when dropping in class after a win and 34% when running back in a claiming race.

This will be Gold Backed’s third start off the layoff after being claimed from the Woodbine circuit late last year. McKnight’s starters win at 30% third off the layoff and Gold Backed is 1-for-1 over a fast main track and has two wins, one second and a pair of thirds from six starts on an off track, which is important to note since there is a chance of rain.


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The biggest question mark for Gold Backed, who will have David Cohen aboard, is if he will get enough pace to run into. In his last start, Gold Backed rallied all the way from last to get up at the wire. With Gold Backed coming in off a win and dropping in class, he’s my top pick here.

I’ll also highlight No. 14 Dangerfield (5/2). He is listed as an also eligible so we will need two scratches for him to get into the race. Trained and owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, the gelded son of Into Mischief has two wins, three seconds and a third from 12 starts at Oaklawn.

Hollendorfer claimed Dangerfield in mid-February and he has run twice against allowance company, finishing second and third. His most recent start was over a sloppy track where he finished third and was no match for the top two finishers.

With the drop in class today, he’s one to watch out for.


Race 5

Time: 4:06 p.m. ET

Race 5 is the first of two non-graded stakes races on the card. The $100K Rainbow Miss Stakes is for three-year-old fillies who were bred in Arkansas. The field of eight will travel a distance of 6 furlongs.

I have a strong opinion on this race and will single No. 8 Sekani (3-1). She is trained by William Van Meter and will have Declan Cannon in the saddle. She has one win, in which she destroyed the field by 10 lengths, and one second-place finish from three career starts.

Her lone win after a six-month layoff and it appears that she has matured nicely. Since then, she ran a disappointing fourth as the heavy 4/5 favorite after being bothered early and running three-wide the whole race. Her outside post-position here should allow her to get a nice clean trip.

Look for her to go to the lead and never look back.


Race 6

Time: 4:36 p.m. ET

Next up is a competitive $40K maiden claiming race for three-year-olds, run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles. We have another full field of 12 in Race 6.

We will start all the way to the outside with No. 12 Dreamonmebaby (4-1). This son of Constitution was purchased for $105K at the Keeneland November sale in 2017. Trained by Chris Hartman, Dreamonmebaby is Triple Crown nominated.

After never finishing better than fourth in three starts against maiden special-weight company, he is taking a significant drop in class here today. He seems to train well in the mornings, but hasn’t been able to put it together in the afternoons yet. Jockey Corey Lanerie will be aboard and Lanerie and Hartman have two wins from three starts in the last 60 days. His breeding, drop in class and the Lanerie-Hartman combo are the reasons I’m making him my top pick in here.

Next, we will go right to his inside to No. 11 Shacks Way (6-1). Trained by Brad Cox, this of Shackleford was purchased for $130K at the OBS April 2019 sale.

In his only career start he finished seventh by 37 lengths after being between horses early and fading. He showed great early speed, but didn’t seem to like being in traffic. With only one horse to his outside he should be able to work out a better trip in here.

Shacks Way gets one of the meets leading jocks, as Joe Talamo will be in the irons. Cox and Talamo have teamed up 44 times in the last 60 days, winning 20% of the time. Similar to Dreamonmebaby, Shacks Way is also getting significant class relief in this spot. If he gets out clean, watch out for him at 6-1. He’s one that I’m including in my tickets.


Race 7

Time: 5:06 p.m. ET

Race 7 is an $8K claiming event run at 6 furlongs for three-year-olds and up with a field of 12. I was really close to having another single in here, but in a low-level claiming race, I have a hard time singling any horse.

My top pick is No. 3 Summer Revolution (3-1). Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Summer Revolution is dropping in class after running against much tougher competition for his entire career.

Asmussen is winning at 23% when dropping two classes and Summer Revolution’s speed numbers have been consistently good enough to win in this spot. Santana and Asmussen have teamed up 110 times in the last 60 days and are winning at 23% of the time.

The other horse I gave some consideration to was No. 5 Junior Gilliam (4-1). He is coming in after finishing third by 1 3/4 lengths against tougher last time out. This will be his second start for trainer Chris Hartman after being claimed.


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Hartman is 29% second start after the claim and 28% second start with trainer. Junior Gilliam will need to be a little more forwardly-placed than last time, when he was away last. If he’s able to do that, he has a chance to be a serious contender in here. I’ll be using him in my exotics.

Race 8

Time: 5:38 p.m. ET

Race 8 is a $50K optional claiming event for four-year-olds and up at a distance of 6 furlongs with a field of 12. This was the most difficult race to handicap of all of the races I looked at today because seven of the 12 starters are shipping in from other tracks and nine of them are coming in off a layoff.

First we will look at No. 3 Early Mischief (9/2). Since moving over to the dirt in November for trainer James Baker, Early Mischief has three wins and a second from five starts. He is coming in off a win at Fair Grounds against similar company. For him, it’s gate-to-wire or bust as all four of his career wins have come in front-runner style.

If he can get the lead in here, he will be the one to beat. I’m going to make him my top pick.

No. 6 Puttheglassdown (4-1) is another one that shipping in and coming off a layoff. He has three wins, four seconds and a third from 13 career starts. He is trained by Jeremiah Englehart and ridden by David Cohen. Englehart is winning at 25% when shipping in and 21% off the layoff.

Puttheglassdown comes in off a win in his last start at Laurel Park at the end of February. His speed figure numbers suggest that he should be very competitive in this spot. He’s one that I’ll include.

Lastly, we will look No. 8 Zipp On By (6-1). He’s a stakes-placed horse and is getting class relief in this spot. Zipp On By is coming in off a layoff after a win at Churchill Downs at the end of November. He’s trained by Rey Hernandez who sends out winners 21% of the time when shipping in. He’s another one that will be forwardly-placed.

Zipp On By has been training well leading up to this spot today with a bullet workout on April 4th. Because of his front running style, his class and the fact that he’s been training well are the reasons I’m going to use him in here.

Race 9

Time: 6:09 p.m. ET

The ninth race is the feature of the day. The $100K Rainbow Stakes is for three -year-olds who were bred in Arkansas run at a distance of 6 furlongs with a field of 10.

We will start on the outside with the favorite No. 10 Zaino Boyz (8/5). He moves over to the Chris Hartman barn after previously being trained by Robert Dibona. Zaino Boyz has three wins from seven career starts and is coming in off a win at Gulfstream Park. He’s held the lead at some point in all seven of his career starts.

If he’s going to win in this spot, it’s going to be gate-to-wire fashion. The biggest question mark for me is, will his speed transfer to Oaklawn. We all know that Gulfstream is a notorious speed favoring track, so while I’ll be using him in my tickets, he’s not my top pick in here.


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That honor belongs to No. 6 Tempt Fate (7/2). He’s coming in after breaking his maiden in impressive fashion; winning going away by 6 1/4 lengths. In that race he was caught three-wide between horses early and was still able to navigate a trip and win easily in the end.

He is trained by Carl Deville who is winning at 16% during the meet and 17% when the horse was a maiden winner last time out. Tempt Fate will have Corey Lanerie in the irons, who is winning 20% of his mounts in sprint races. With showing that he can overcome a troubled trip and an explosive late kick he’s the one I like most.

Race 10

Time: 6:38 p.m. ET

The last race of the day is a $16K optional claiming race for four-year-olds and up, run at 6 furlongs. Fittingly, there will be a full field of 12.

Let’s start with No. 4 Ruler of the Nile (4-1). He’s coming in off a fifth-place finish against tougher company and it was over a sloppy race track. When running against similar competition earlier this year he rattled off back-to-back wins, one of which featured Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons. Santana will have the mount again here today.

Ruler of the Nile’s speed figures make him extremely capable of winning in this spot. He will be my top pick.

Just to his inside is No. 3 Codetowin (9/2). He has seven wins, five seconds and a third from 15 career starts. This will be his third start off the layoff and third start for trainer James DiVito. Last time out he just missed, finishing a closing second by a neck. He has been a very consistent running style, one where he likes to sit just off the pace and close late.

With Codetowin always being close at the wire, he’s one that I’m going to include in here.

The last horse that I took a long look at is No. 8 Irritator (10-1). Trained by Tom Amoss and ridden by Joe Talamo, Irritator is coming in off a win at Fairgrounds over the turf course against similar company. Amoss wins 20% when the horse won its last start, 22% when shipping in and 27% when going from turf to dirt.

Earlier this year, Irritator won back-to-back starts against similar company at Fair Grounds. With Amoss’ stats, the horse proving that he’s competitive against similar company and with Talamo in the irons, he’s one that I’m going to use.

Bets for Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 17

Race 4

  • Win: 2
  • Pick 3: 2,14/8/11,12

Race 5

  • Win: 8

Race 6

  • Pick 5: 11,12/3,5/3,6,8/6,10/3,4,8

Race 7

  • Exacta box: 3,5

Race 8

  • Pick 3: 3,6,8/6,10/3,4,8

Race 9

  • Win: 6
  • Exacta box: 6,10

Race 10

  • Exacta box: 3,4,8

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

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