A baker’s dozen of sophomores will travel 1 1/8 miles in Saturday’s $200,000 Oaklawn S. The winner, if Triple Crown nominated, will have a starting berth in the gate of the Preakness (G1), while the top-three finishers of the contest will gain an automatic entry into the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park on May 2.

Oaklawn Stakes Analysis

#1 Basin will be forwardly placed from the rail in his first run going 9 panels, and he could take the advantage early on with a clean break. #4 Thousand Words, #5 Sir Rick, #7 Flap Jack, #8 Taishan, and #13 Gold Street, will also be in the hunt from the start, and the early tempo will be lively.

Oaklawn Stakes Contenders

#1 BASIN (7-2) Hopeful (G1) star was an even third in the Rebel (G2) on the course in his 3-year-old debut. Liam’s Map colt shows three solid morning moves in the interim, and he will have the services of Geroux for the initial time. Win contender could be sent early on.

#2 COACH BAHE (20-1) Rebel fifth didn’t offer much in his graded bow and faces a tougher task in this spot. Gelding possesses a solid turn of foot, and he could rally into a minor award with a big move forward today, however.

#3 MR. BIG NEWS (30-1) — Upset pick is steadily improving for Calhoun and bred to run all day. Son of Giant’s Causeway was a solid fifth at Fair Grounds in the second division of the Risen Star (G2) most recently, and he will get a more robust pace to rally into while making his Oaklawn debut. Gabe Saez inherits the live mount.

#4 THOUSAND WORDS (5-2) — Dual graded winner suffered his first setback when a distant fourth in the San Felipe (G2) last time out. Baffert pupil has a lot of class, and he figures to improve in a big way stretching out to 9 furlongs for the initial time. $1 million colt fired a bullet six panels in preparation of this event.

#5 SIR RICK (15-1) — Wildcard in the cast exits a pair of strong tallies, including a daylight score in the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park. Kentucky-bred son of Paynter boasts the Brisnet Speed numbers to be a major player in the field, and he makes sense on the class rise beneath Cohen.

#6 SHOPLIFTED (10-1) — One of three in the field for Asmussen enters as the most battle-tested contender with six successive stakes races to his credit. Talented Into Mischief colt comes in fresh after crossing the line in fourth in the Southwest (G3). Top-three player will have Santana in the silks.

#7 FLAP JACK (20-1) — Sisterson trainee ran better than it appears on paper in the Gotham (G3) following an awful voyage. Calumet homebred will still have to answer class and stamina questions in the Oaklawn, though. Adam Beschizza has the assignment.

#8 TAISHAN (8-1) — Baltas charge roared home a facile allowance winner on the oval last time out. Capable Twirling Candy colt thrived over a wet surface most recently, and he will move forward if there is moisture in the ground on Saturday beneath Rosario.

#9 DIGITAL (8-1) — Second of two for Calhoun in the field was well placed to late stretch before faltering in the first division of the Risen Star (G2) in advance of his local debut. Kentucky-bred has excellent tactical presence, and he figures to be in range turning for home with a sensible trip. Regular pilot Brian Hernandez Jr. will be up.

#10 SOMETHING NATURAL (20-1) — Contender from the Brad Cox shedrow has finished in the money in each of his trio of 2020 outings to date. Son of Violence exits a third-place result in the Rushaway S., and he will need a another step forward to challenge these inside the final furlong.

#11 BACKGROUND (12-1) — Chestnut has displayed a strong turn of foot in each of his three lifetime races to date for Puhich. Khozan gelding broke his maiden in style on the surface two back, prior to finishing a clear third in a local allowance tilt while running against the bias. Florida-bred could receive a strong early pace to rally in to late under Rocco.

#12 FARMINGTON ROAD (6-1) — Win contender adds blinkers for the initial time for Pletcher. Quality Road youngster went eight-wide in the stretch when fourth in the first division of the Risen Star most recently, and the bay looms large with a better voyage on Saturday while sporting the hood.

#13 GOLD STREET (20-1) — Smarty Jones S. and Sugar Bowl S. victor draws widest of all for Asmussen. Speedster was never involved in the Southwest (G3), and he will have to be sent from the start to secure position early while making his 9-furlong debut. Talented colt will need a lifetime best with Tyler Baze in the controls.

Oaklawn Stakes Wagers

  • $10 Win and Place: #3 Mr. Big News ($20)
  • 10-cent Superfecta: 3 with 1,4,5,12 with 1,4,5,12 with all  ($12)
  • 10-cent Superfecta: 1,4,5,12 with 3 with 1,4,5,12 with all  ($12)