The Arkansas Derby looms, but first the racing office at Oaklawn Park has written another strong Saturday afternoon card headlined by two stakes races at 6-furlongs. The Bachelor S. and the Carousel S. came up tough and comprise the middle legs of a challenging Pick 4 sequence that gets started in Race 8.

Race 8:

The pace should be contentious in this allowance event at 6-panels given the presence of #1 Flat Out Speed, #3 Bootytama, #8 Ready to Runaway, and #13 Ilchester Cheetah if she draws in off the also-eligible list. This is likely to set things up for a filly that does their best running late.

#4 Sneaking Out is listed as the lukewarm 7-2-morning line favorite. The California-bred gal ran some big races as a 3-year-old in the Golden State and will be tough to beat if Joel Rosario can relax her just off the early pace. However, I am concerned that she will be keen off the lengthy layoff and get caught up in the early tussle.

#2 Lady of Luxury did not fire over a wet/fast going in her first try off a 2-month freshening on Mar. 28. She has struggled to find success at Oaklawn Park, but should get a great trip along the inside at a big price. #5 Nomizar moves up a notch after pulling away late as the even-money choice last month. A similar effort puts the daughter of Tapizar in the mix. #6 On Deck has won 3-of-4 and was dominant when last seen in New Orleans versus lesser. At 10-1, she is hard to knock. #12 A.P. Princess is winless in five starts over this racetrack, but has hit the board three times. Martin Garcia is having a great meet and should get first run on the closers from his outside draw.

Race 9: Bachelor S.

This $100,000 event looks like a three-horse race.

#7 Eight Rings makes his first start since a sixth-place effort as the 3-2-second choice in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The $520,000 Keeneland September 2018 purchase was widely considered Hall of Famer Bob Baffert’s best 2-year-old last summer, but has not been seen since the disappointing performance at Santa Anita last fall. There are obvious questions off the layoff, but the son of Empire Maker has trained forwardly off the break. He will be overbet, but has the right to flourish around one-turn. Joel Rosario fits him well.

#9 Long Weekend has been extremely impressive in his two starts in 2020, including a gate-to-wire victory in the Gazebo S. last month. If he is left alone on the lead he will be tough to catch. #3 Echo Town has done little wrong in his first three races for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. If they go at it on the front end, he is the one likeliest to run them all down in the lane.

Race 10: Carousel S.

#8 Mia Mischief appeared to have tailed off a bit last summer after winning 3-of-4 to begin 2019, but ended the year with an impressive effort in the Dream Supreme S. at Churchill Downs before selling for $2.4 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale. Stonestreet Stables opted to keep the daughter of Into Mischief in training and she started her 5-year-old campaign with an easy win on Mar. 20. The Kentucky-bred now makes her second start off the layoff and appears set for a massive effort on Saturday. I love the outside draw and her affinity for this racetrack. I doubt we get anything close to the 9-2-morning line price, but she is my single in the sequence nonetheless.

Race 11:

Fading runners that exit the Feb. 27 and Mar. 20 maiden races has been a winning horizontal strategy thus far. I will ride that wave again in the Saturday finale.

#4 Unrighteous is likely to take a lot of support at the windows after being overmatched in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in early March. The Violence colt will win going away if he can post a triple-digit Brisnet Speed rating like he did on Feb. 8 at Gulfstream Park. However, I do not fully trust the 3-year old as he takes on older runners for the initial time. I will also include a few long shots.

#3 Violent Pass goes two sprints to a route for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. He ran an encouraging third on debut before a poor break cost him all chance in his most recent start. #5 Belfast Boy did not handle kickback well in his debut at 6-panels. The move off the rail and the stretch out to two turns should help the Bayern gelding. #10 Majestic Display makes his second start for Tom Amoss. He did not run well around one turn earlier this month, but with a race under his belt in Arkansas he has the right to improve.

Suggested Wager:

  • 2,4,5,6,12 with 3,7,9 with 8 with 3,4,5,10 = $30