Friday’s card at Oaklawn Park features a Late Pick 4 that is headlined by the return of Mia Mischief. The sequence commences with Race 6 and concludes with a maiden special weight at two turns.

Here are my thoughts.

Oaklawn Race 6

#7 Hinton takes a big drop in class in his second start off the claim for trainer Ingrid Mason. The 6-year-old gelding had excuses against better last time when he broke slow and was caught a bit wide into the first turn. He regrouped with a strong middle move, but was no match for wire-to-wire winner Matrooh.

Assuming Hinton gets out of the gate in good order, the 5-2-morning line favorite’s tactical speed should have him in a great spot early in this conditional claimer. The son of Candy Ride has not won in two years, but appears to have found a group that should allow him to get back to the winners’ circle on Friday afternoon.

If you are looking for a potential upset candidate, leading trainer Robertino Diodoro has a pair that surround my top choice. #6 Candy My Boy makes his initial start off the claim and has a win and a pair of runner-up efforts over this racetrack. #8 Tizpure did not do much running in his first start off the claim, but perhaps needed the race off the 3 1/2-month break. 

Oaklawn Race 7

10-year-old gelding #2 Hawaakom takes a massive drop in class for trainer Wesley Hawley after a third-place effort against a stakes-caliber optional claiming group on Feb. 21. The son of Jazil has not crossed the wire first in a long time, but has taken on significantly better competition. I suspect the public will gravitate to him based on his class, but his running style and likely price make him worth taking a shot against in this starter allowance event.

#8 Malibu Pro should find the perfect stalking spot off longshot #3 Nicky Numbers. Trainer Mike Maker adds blinkers in the second start under his care after he finished fourth versus slightly tougher last month. He is my top choice. #1 Arrival, #5 Operation Stevie, and #6 Mineyourownmalone are also worth consideration.

Oaklawn Race 8

#2 Mia Mischief sold to Stonestreet Stables for $2.4 million last Nov. at the Fasig-Tipton sale and the new owners opted to give the daughter of Into Mischief some time off before bringing her back for her 5-year-old campaign. The 8-time winner returns to the races in this optional claiming event at 6 panels and is the clear one to beat. The Kentucky-bred has never finished worse than second over this racetrack and was extremely impressive when last seen in the Dream Supreme S. at Churchill Downs. I have no interest in trying to beat her.

Oaklawn Race 9

There does not appear to be much early zip in this maiden special weight event to end the day in Hot Springs, which makes the morning-line choices vulnerable. Especially #2 Copper King who is certain to take his share of money off a runner-up finish last month. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has had seven tries and has burnt a lot of money.

#7 Baringer Spring has never been on the lead before, but in this group the Ten Strike Racing gelding could find himself on the engine at a nice price. I will use him as well as #3 Warrior’s Map, #5 Unimaginable U, #8 White Wolf, and #9 On d’Oro in hopes of closing out the Late Pick 4 with a price.

Suggested Wager:

  • Ticket 1 (50-cent Pick 4)
    • R6: 7
    • R7: 1+5+6+8
    • R8: 2
    • R9: 3+5+7+8+9
  • Cost: $10
  • Ticket 2 (50-cent Pick 4)
    • R6: 6+7+8
    • R7: 8
    • R8: 2
    • R9: 3+5+7+8+9
  • Cost : $7.50
  • Ticket 3 ($5 Pick 4)
    • R6: 7
    • R7: 8
    • R8: 2
    • R9:3+7
  • Cost: $10

Total Budget: $27.50