The 2020 Oaklawn Park meet ends Saturday with a tremendous bang, a 14-race card that includes two divisions of the Arkansas Derby (G1) and a potentially stellar renewal of the Oaklawn H. (G2) for older horses. Before the stakes action heats up, a little mid-card Pick 4 action is in order.
The California shippers #4 FRIAR’S ROAD (7-2) and #14 DIVINE ARMOR (7-2) both are major threats on paper. The former exits a runner-up try against subsequent Oaklawn allowance winner Shooters Shoot, while latter looks to snap a case of seconditis if he draws in from the AE list.
Will also use #6 WHAT A COUNTRY (10-1), a clear second to “maiden” Blackberry Wine in his debut two back. Perhaps capable of much better as he likely gets a fast track for the first time here.
#8 GAMINE (7-2) will take some beating for trainer Bob Baffert if she runs back to or improves off her debut score at Santa Anita. #10 SPEECH (2-1) was second best to Donna Veloce in the Santa Ysabel (G3) last time, while the AE #13 AIN’T NO ELMERS (5-2) highly impressive in two open-length victories at Fair Grounds going short. The stretch-out today should be within her scope.
Although beaten as an odds-on choice in his last three, Laurel shipper #1 BENINTENDI (8-1) looks plenty fast to contend while trying two turns for the first time. Addition of Florent Geroux adds to his appeal.
Plenty of speed in the field could set things up for a stalker or closer. #6 PROVERB (8-1) has some back class being multiple stakes-placed last season, and should benefit from the longer stretch compared to latest when he was just up in a short-stretch mile. Super Derby (G3) winner #7 ROTATION (9-2) another relatively classy type hard to dismiss. Had a pretty solid comeback prep missing by only a half-length. #8 LORD GUINNESS (15-1) an absolute no-show in the Oaklawn Mile against much tougher. Rebound candidate fits on best over a fast track.
If one or both the also-eligibles used fail to draw in, the total price on this 50-cent ticket will come down. As it stands at this writing:
- 4,6,14 with 8,10,13 with 1 with 6,7,8 = $13.50