On February 24, 1905, Oaklawn Park rolled out their first race card. A whopping crowd of 3,000 people showed up in Hot Springs, Arkansas to watch Duelist win the very first race. Since 1905, Oaklawn has become a fixture in the world of racing. You can liken it to many of the boutique meets that magically appear, and like Brigadoon dissapear into the mist until next season. This Saturday things start heating up in a big way, and there is some real value to be had on the card.
With precipitation in the forecast, you’ll really need to watch the track conditions. It may be harrowed and open for a fast track, and could be sealed later in the day to protect the surface from being washed away. It could play to closers and stalkers early, and a sealed track is usually kind to speed. You need to keep a keen eye on Mother Nature. Use these selections as an appetizer, and refer to the Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for your final selections. On a day that has a possible track condition change heading their way, the E-Z Win Forms offer a plan for all weather. You can use the change of weather tab, and receive a brand new set of selections. – I have seen about everything under the sun as far as handicapping data, but nobody allows for up-to-the-minute changes that allow you to stay ahead of the curve in real time.
The weather forecast call for 66 degrees and an 80% chance of rain.
Race #6 – Alw $62,000 – 1 1/16 – 4:45 pm ET
#7 – Guilt Trip (3-1) - Joel Rosario is in town, and his mounts should be around the final finish in many races. But here, he rides for Wayne Catalano and they bring a son of Pulpit to post. He has been away since last May, and he has been working over the deep Fair Grounds surface getting “legged up” for his coming out party. He has faced some of the biggest names in the game, and the drop in class is a welcome sight to a runner who is coming off a long layoff. His works are impressive, and this is the first time with the barn as he ships over from Bob Baffert. Catalano wins with (16%) of his fresh runners, and (17%) when they run for his operation the first time out.
Race #8 – The (G-2) Azeri – 1 1/16 – 5:52 pm ET
#1 – Close Hatches (7-5) - Rosario in the driver’s seat for Bill Mott. They score at a (21%) clip together, and this daughter of First Defense has been on the sidelines since the Breeders’ Cup Distaff where she finished second. She has been working red-hot at Palm Meadows and shooting more bullets than Jesse James. – She is turning back from 1 1/8, and should be just off the flank of the leaders. Her record is 7/8 ITM lifetime and she doesn’t have to take her track with her.
Race #9 – The (G-3) Razorback – 1 1/16 – 6:27 pm ET
#5 – Called To Serve (5-2) – Ricardo Santana (20%) is in the irons for Steve Asmussen (24%). They are having a good year as a team winning (27%), and this young rider will be one we’ll be talking about in years to come. This son of Afleet Alex has been on the shelf since last March, and comes to the Asmussen barn for the first time. He fires well off layoffs, and his breeding suggest he would take to a fast or wet track. He is another who has faced some tough guys, and this looks like a good place for a return. Pay close attention to the Asmussen barn workouts, and the second to last is the one to watch. His shows 4f in 49.1 over a good track at the Fair Grounds to be 7th of 40 for that day.
Race #10 – The (G-2) Rebel – 1 1/16 – 7:04 pm ET
#4 – Strong Mandate (2-1) – Rosario gets the nod again for the “Coach” D Wayne Lukas. This son of Tiznow had the very worst of trips in the (G-3) Southwest, and still managed to finish second after being 5 wide at the half after a brutal beginning. I have been waiting for his return ,and with any better start he should be a handful to deal with. His works are great, and he is 1/1 on an off track if the rains blow into Hot Springs. Be sure to bet early and often if he is 2-1, and use him with #3 – Tapiture, and #5 – Hoppertunity.
Winning Ponies is always locked and loaded, but if the weather stands to be a factor in the day. The E-Z Win Forms are the only selections that allow you to receive a brand new set of selections with updated track conditions. To date, Winning Ponies has won over $1,614,923 in exotic payouts. – Easy to use, and effective for the everyday player and the new gambler. The color coded tiers and handicapping icons alert you to the top horse and where they stand in the race. The Last Race and Composite figures show how the runner is coming into the race, and where they stack up against the competition. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!