The penultimate racing week of the Oaklawn 2020 season commences with a nine-race card on Thursday afternoon. As always, the slate includes a Pick 5 sequence over the last five events. After a disappointing performance last week, I will try to turn things around from a handicapping perspective at the Hot Springs, Arkansas venue.

Race 5:

A $30,000 maiden claimer at two-turns kicks things off. #8 Mo and Go is the 7-2-morning line choice after a poor effort versus special weight foes in the slop on Apr 4. The son of Uncle Mo clearly did not like the off going in that most recent try, but his effort over a fast track on Feb. 29 should be good enough to beat this bunch. The deserving favorite.

Like Mo and Go, #1 Urbanite also tries the maiden claiming ranks for the initial time. The son of Bodemeister has lacked early speed in his first three starts for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, but the addition of blinkers and the decrease in competition should put him more into the race on Thursday. The fact Asmussen wheels him back quickly after his Apr. 11 start suggests he came out of the race well. He should move forward in his second start of the form cycle.

Race 6:

3-1-morning line choice #9 Bump Bailey battled with two longshots early in his last try and was eventually turned away by 27-1-longshot Deflater. The Rockingham Ranch gelding has hit the board in four of last five starts, but he has not won since posting a 99 Brisnet Speed rating on debut at Santa Anita last February. He is unlikely to have things his way on the front end given the presence of #6 Young Phillip to his inside, and rates as a vulnerable favorite in this conditional claimer.

I will use several in here in hopes of beating Bump Bailey.  Make note of #14 Cold Smoke. The son of Taptiure is a major player if he draws into the field from the also-eligible list.  

Race 7:

The pace should be honest in this 6-furlong dash for open $25,000 claimers, which is likely to set things up for a runner from off the pace.

#8 Coal Truth was an ugly fourth last time out over the slop, but should get a nice setup in his fourth start since being claimed by leading trainer Robertino Diodoro. He makes a lot of sense as does #11 Fascilitator, who gets a rider upgrade to Ricardo Santana, Jr. in his second effort off the claim for Steve Asmussen. #3 Spokane Eagle will need to avoid getting caught up in an early tussle, but if Joe Talamo can relax him just off the early pace, he could get the jump on the closers and get to the wire first. #9 King of the Court has been gelded since his last start. The 5-year-old gelding has two wins and three seconds in seven starts over this surface. The 20-1-morning line price is way too high.

Race 8:

#3 Out of Trouble makes her first start in more than three months for trainer Brad Cox. The New York-bred has done most of her best running over the sod, but has a win over the dirt in her career and appears to be training forwardly for her return to the main track. I am expecting a big effort off the freshening. #4 Kiss More is in the best form of her career. She comes in off a career best 84 Brisnet Speed rating on Apr. 3 in a race where Stewart Elliott moved a bit too early and was run down late by Subiaco. Elliott should be able to dictate pace in the early stages making her a must use.

Race 9:

Churchill Downs Racing Club’s #3 Raggedy Annie stretches out to a route of ground after a late running third at 6-panels on Apr. 2. The daughter of Union Rags has hit the board in 3-of-4 this year at Oaklawn and should find a comfortable mid-pack trip under jockey David Cohen. If the D. Wayne Lukas trainee can avoid falling too far out of it in the early stages, she should be able get the best of this bunch in the final furlong. My single.

Suggested Wager:

  • 1,8 with 3,4,10,11,12 with 3,8,9,11 with 3,4 with 3 = $40