How to bet the 2024 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap

April 11th, 2024

Conditioner Steve Asmussen has the three of the leading contenders for Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park, but I’ll side with a course specialist to run down each of his trio of talented dashers. 

Count Fleet Wagers

  • $20 win #6 Tejano Twist ($20)
  • $10 exacta box 4-6 ($20)
  • $1 trifecta 4,6 with 4,6,7 with all ($12)
  • 50-cent superfecta 4,6 with 4,6,7 with 4,6,7 with all ($10)

The Chris Hartman-trained #6 Tejano Twist (3-1) has compiled a fine 7-3-3-1 mark on the course in his career and will shine in his third run off the shelf with a healthy early tempo to charge at inside the final furlong. A late-running third in the heat in 2023, the consistently very good son of Practical Joke was a huge second behind a moderate pace in the Whitmore (G3) in his latest offering and seems set for Saturday following a nice half-mile drill in the interim. Christian Torres inherits the ride.  

There are multiple quick horses from the gate in the contest, although the early lead will belong to recent Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3) second #4 Skelly (1-1) if he breaks cleanly. The five-year-old is among the swiftest gate horses in training and he is a most logical contender to defend his crown in the heat. Ricardo Santana, Jr. will guide the Asmussen pupil who dons a fine 8-6-0-1 lifetime line on the surface. 

If Skelly is rusty after returning from his trip to the desert, then I would tab his stable mate #7 Ryvit (9-2) to be the one leading the group at the top of the lane. I have long liked the four-year-old son of Competitive Edge, and he likes this locale evidenced by his four victories from seven career tries at Oaklawn. The colt draws outside of the other eager ones in the field and regular pilot Keith Asmussen will have him in range from the break. 

The lone wildcard in the field for me is #8 Happy Is A Choice (20-1) for conditioner John Ortiz. The Runhappy gelding has fine current form, he thrives at Oaklawn Park, and the four-year-old will also avoid traffic in the heat while breaking from the outside post slot. I’m going to omit the talented bay on this occasion, but I do it with a bit of trepidation, in all honesty. Ramon Vazquez has the call.